GRAMMY winners Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America were the featured guests for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, the pair discussed the band's formation and winning a Best New Artist GRAMMY in 1972, among other topics. Following the discussion, America performed a brief set, including the Top 10 hits "Ventura Highway" and "Tin Man."
"We were very enamored with vocal harmonies from the get-go," said Bunnell. "There's something magical about voices when they blend and we were fortunate that we had three voices that really did have their own little thing."
America was originally formed as an acoustic folk/rock quartet called Daze. The group would ultimately be trimmed to a trio — vocalists/guitarists Beckley, Bunnell and Dan Peek, all of whom met in high school while their fathers were stationed in London with the United States Air Force. The band adopted the name America and signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records, releasing their self-titled debut in 1972. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and that year earned the trio a GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist and a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for the No. 1 hit "A Horse With No Name." Several albums followed, including 1975's Hearts, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the No. 1 hit "Sister Golden Hair" and production work by GRAMMY winner George Martin. Peek left the group in 1977 to pursue a career as a contemporary Christian artist. He died on July 24, 2011.
America released the comeback album Here & Now in 2007, which features a cover of My Morning Jacket's "Golden" and Nada Surf's "Only Love." In 2011 they issued the covers album Back Pages.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Icons Of The Music Industry: Seymour Stein With Specal Guest Delta Rae (June 18) and Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust: The Talk With Producer Ken Scott (July 19).
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