Newsletter Archive

Archives: August/September 1996



August/September 1996

Vol. 2, No. 8/9


Contents:

Upcoming Concert Schedule

New CD In the Works!

More on "Should Have Been Singles"

This and That: Readers' Letters

Dan Peek CD Information

America Fans Page

Concert Review: Grizzly Rose, Denver, CO

American History: A Peek at the Past

Note from the Newsletter Editor

Upcoming Concert Schedule

Following is the most current concert schedule available. If you hear or see an advertisement providing additional information on any of these shows, please send it to me so that we can include it in the newsletter. This list is subject to change!

September 30 Reno, NV

October 3 House of Blues, LA, CA

4 Humphrey's, San Diego, CA

5 Ventura, CA

14 Dallas, TX ??

27 Melbourne, FL

28 Clearwater, FL

29 West Palm, FL

November 1 Wichita, KS

22 Torrance, CA

23 San Juan Capistrano, CA The Coach House

*****

New CD In the Works!

AMERICA will be returning to the recording studio this winter to record their next cd!!! Unfortunately, this means that the concert schedule will be very light until spring. We'll provide you with more information on the new cd as soon as it becomes available!!! Make some room on your cd shelf!!

*****

More on "Should Have Been Singles" submitted by mcole@logicon.com I have been reading with great interest your ideas on songs that should have been released as singles. Some of the songs mentioned were released but failed to chart. I have compiled a list of singles and their flip sides. This list is probably incomplete and may contain errors, so if you know of omissions/errors please e-mail me and let me know. Listed below is the album and singles rleased from the album. Some singles were released more than once with different flip sides. To the right of each album and single is the peak Billboard chart position, if known.

America 1

A Horse With No Name/Everyone I Meet is from California 1

I Need You/Riverside 9

Homecoming 9

Ventura Highway/Saturn Nights 8

Don't Cross the River/To Each His Own 35

Don't Cross The River/Till the Sun Comes Up Again

Only In Your Heart/Moon Song 62

Hat Trick 28

Muskrat Love/Cornwall Blank 67

Rainbow Song/Willow Tree Lullaby

Green Monkey/She's Gonna Let You Down

Green Monkey/Rainbow Song

Holiday 3

Tin Man/In the Country 4, #1 Adult

Lonely People/Mad Dog 5, #1 Adult

Hearts 4

Sister Golden Hair/Midnight 1

Daisy Jane/Tomorrow 20

Daisy Jane/Woman Tonight

Woman Tonight/Bell Tree 44

History 3

Hideaway 11

Today's the Day/Hideaway Part 2 23, #1 Adult

Today's the Day/Amber Cascades

Amber Cascades/Who Loves You 75

She's A Liar/She's Beside You

Harbor 21

Down to the Water/God of the Sun

Slowdown/Sara

Don't You Cry/Monster

Live 127

California Dreamin' Soundtrack 56

Silent Letter 110

Only Game in Town/High in the City

All My Life/One Morning

Alibi 142

Survival

Catch that Train/You Could've Been the One

One in a Million/Hangover

The Last Unicorn Soundtrack

View From the Ground 41

You Can Do Magic/Even the Score 8

Right Before Your Eyes/Inspector Mills 45

Jody/Inspector Mills

Your Move

The Border/Sometimes Lovers 33

Cast the Spirit/My Dear

Perspective 185

Special Girl/Unconditional Love

I Can't Fall Asleep to a Lullaby/Fallin' off the World

Encore

Ventura Hwy. and Other Favorites

Hourglass

Young Moon

Hope

King Biscuit Flower Hour: In Concert

I agree with many of you that some of AMERICA's best stuff was never released. I think that poor single selection contributed to their sales decline in the late 70's. I know hind-sight is 20/20, and please don't hate me if I dis your favorite song, because they were all good, but here's one fan's opinion beginning with their first album.

Three Roses would have been a sure top 40 hit had it been released, and is my favorite song on the album. Going on down the list, To Each His Own or California Revisited may have done better than Only In Your Heart.

From their most underrated album, Hat Trick, I think Windwave or She's Gonna Let You Down would have worked. On a side note, can anybody tell me why America's version of Muskrat Love couldn't crack the top 40 but Captin and Tenille's corny version made the top ten?!! My only problem with Holiday is that a third single was never released. Baby it's Up to You or Another Try would have been strong candidates. I still don't understand why Woman Tonight was released as the third single from Hearts instead of Old Virginia or Bell Tree. Both songs received a lot of air play on FM stations. I liked Jet Boy Blue and Lovely Night better than Amber Cascades or She's A Liar. I was really stumped by the selections from Harbor. God of the Sun, These Brown Eyes, and Hurricane were the best songs on the album, but none were released on an A-side. From Silent Letter, And Forever and Foolin' probably had potential had they been released. When I first bought Alibi, I figured Valentine and I Do Believe in You were sure hits, but they were never released. My only problem with View From the Ground is that Jody was the third release instead of the second. Poor selection for the second single on Your Move may have killed the momentum AMERICA had gained from You Can Do Magic and The Border. Tonight Is For Dreamers, She's a Runaway, My Kinda Woman, and Your Move, were all better than Cast the Spirit, which was released. I think Perspective suffered from the same problem. We Got All Night, 5th Avenue, Stereo, and Cinderella all had better potential than Can't Fall Asleep to a Lullabye, which is a good song but probably not single material. I don't know if a single was released from Encore, but Hell's On Fire and On Target should have been if they weren't.

And finally, I come to Hourglass, which is one of AMERICA's best albums and is filled with great songs that should have gotten air play. My favorites are Sleeper Train, Whole Wide World, and Call of the Wild. There, I'm finally done. After 20 years of holding it in, I've finally gotten it off my chest!! Maybe it's not too late for these great songs. They could still be released because AMERICA's music is timeless!! Also, Dewey, and Gerry, if you ever need help selecting singles for future albums, and I hope there will be many, just let me know!!

*****

This and That: Readers' Letters

From kermit@epix.net: "Please help!! I am desperately seeking a cd format of "Silent Letter"...it's my all time favorite America album...I've looked everywhere, without luck. Can you help?"

Editor's response: For all of you in the same situation....this album and the other early 80's albums are not yet available on cd format. It's not a matter of finding them somewhere, they simply don't exist. Please write to the record company who made any album you cant find on cd and demand that they re-release the album on cd. If we flood them with letters, perhaps we'll get some results!!

From jpaulh@hotmail.com "I've been browsing rhrough the home page for about two weeks now and I've always enjoyed reading the concert reviews sent by various fans and I want to share my account of the band's concert in Manila back in December of 1992. I've just been growing into a fan that year, though I've been hearing America from my uncles and my sister who's the original fan. So imagine my elation and excitement when I learned that the object of my interest and fascination was coming to the Philippines. It was quite unbelievable.

It was a two-day performance, but I got to watch only the first night. I think the local production outfit that brought the group here didn't advertise the concert very well or very much. There were hardly any posters and the radio announcements were very rare. I myself got to hear about it only accidentally. It helped that the opening act of the concert was done by a well-known local group who helped to spread the word that America was coming to town.

Then, too, there was technical problems about the lighting and the spotlight never shone on Gerry the whole evening. The light couldn't reach the left side of the stage where he was and Dewey kept on telling the technical people to give him the centerstage, jokingly introducing Gerry as the lead vocalist for that number. But Gerry didn't seem to mind, he looked totally absorbed with playing the piano and singing "I Need You."

The group sang all the expected favorites, especially the songs from the album "History." Everybody started singing and clapping when "Ventura Highway" and "Sister Golden Hair" were played. I was really amazed that America sounded as good live as they do on records.

I also tried to get a glimpse of the band members' faces, curious about how the two now familiar faces in my sister's LP would look like ten years or so since the said lp's were bought. But then, I was too far away in my gallery seat, the cheapest one in that venue.

Then, all too soon, the evening was over and the band closed with "Horse With No Name," bringing the house down with a roaring cheer and praise for the group that still bring the fun out in the old songs. I was sad however, that it was over too soon. I wanted to see the second night's performance, but then, my first job out of college didn't pay enough to let me. From then on, I started buying America's albums on cassette tape. Now, four years later since the concert, I have eight America albums and Van Go Gan. I want to get a hold of the whole America collection, especially "The Last Unicorn" but unfortunately, they're not locally available anymore. I hope you could tell me some information on where I might get them.

*****

Dan Peek CD Information submitted by Rob Guinan

Dan Peek's first solo effort is available on cd through a subsidiary of the Benson Label known as Diadem. This album, "All Things Are Possible," I'm told has been reissued at the budget price of about $8.95. Gerry and Dewey do appear on several cuts, and the album was Grammy nominated in 1980. Your readers will probably to best get a hold of it through a Christian Book and Tape Distributor.

*****

America Fans Page

Just a reminder that Steve Lowry's "America Fans Page" is up and running and expanding all the time! Check it out at this address: http://www.vii.com/~slowry/avideocd.htm

It now includes audio clips.....

***** Concert Review: Grizzly Rose, Denver, CO submitted by johnc@hemi.com

For years I had the "Harbor" poster featuring America in concert a t a packed Anaheim Stadium on 3 July 1976 hanging on the wall in my room. Little did I know that twenty years later to the day I would be seeing them in prson in a much smaller but cozier settting, at the Grizzly Rose, just a couple miles north of downtown Denver. The Grizzly Rose is carved out of the Texas bar mold, which, while charming and endearing, is also ripe for a barroom brawl and a few flying chairs. It seems more related to a cafeteria than a concert hall, with a long bar on one side of the room, and a slightly elevated stage for performances on the other. In the center are tables for drinking and chatting and an open area for dancing.

The opening act was a duo from Bolder called "Acoustic Food Chain." While the bar was already packed by the time they got on stage, no one seemed to give much thought to them or their somewhat bluesy sound that much. What everyone wanted was America.

Just before America was scheduled to come on, the center space was opened, and those who wanted a close look at the group, yours truly included, spilled inside. America's bus was slightly delayed in getting to the Grizzly Rose, further raising the excitement. Finally, the guys trotted on stage, with Gerry in his typical t-shirt and Dewey decked out in his black vest. Brad Palmer had his hair slicked back tonight, and Michael looked like, well, Michael. Backing them all was Willie Leacox, who at parts of the show used a tube for special effects with the drums.

The guys started the show with a splendid rendition of their early classic, "Riverside." Over the next hour and a half, they electrified the audience with 21 further greats, which included, "Sandman," "Three Roses," "Horse", "I Need YOu," "Ventura Highway," "Don't Cross the River," "Only In Your Heart," "Green Monkey," "Tin Man," "Lonely People," "Old Man Took," "Sister Golden Hair," "Daisy Jane," "Woman Tonight," "Sergeant Darkness," "California Dreamin'" and the Hourglass songs, among other.

"Tin Man" was played exceptionally well, at a somewhat slower tempo than I've heard before in concert. Brad Palmer more than made up for Dan Peek's absence with his versions of "Don't Cross the River" and "Lonely People" and Gerry gave "I Need You" a new twist by utilizing a guitar instead of the keyboard.

The guy sitting in front of me looked like a spitting image of Gerry Beckley during the 1970's, complete with the hair and the glasses, except for the moustache. As Gerry was playing guitar on stage, he caught sight of his "double" and gave him a somewhat studied, quizzical look and then smiled.

Interestingly, there were no offerings from Gerry's new solo album, and no mention of any upcoming America albums, as the "Hourglass" songs were mentioned as being from the "new album." Also, only one Capitol track, "You Can Do Magic," was played. All in all, though, it was an absolutely thrilling concert, and anyone who walked away from the Grizzly Rose that night, both young and old, fanatical and skeptical, had a new respect for the group.

*****

American History: A Peek at the Past

"America: band of hope and glory"

Melody Maker, v. 50, p. 35

September 27, 1975

"We played this hall four years ago with, er...Family" said Dewey Bunnell from the stage of the Manchester Free Trade last Thursday. "It's good to be back. It really is."

Things were very different for America four years ago when they played the Free Trade Hall with er...FAmily. Scutffling to find gigs and down-on-the-bill shows at the Roundhouse on Sunday afternoons were the order of the day back then. Manager Jeff Dexter was hustling all and sundry to give them a fair listen, and sympathetic Warner Brothers came u with the encouragment and contract for a first album.

Whoever signed America did Warners a big favour, for, in the succeeding three years, they have gone on to become a big, big act in the US record market. Their first two albums went platinum, the third was a disappointing miss, but the last two have shown a remarkable return to form.

While all this was happening, the three guys in the band upped and settled in California. Originally the threesome--Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley--were sons of US servicemen stationed in this country and had lived here for most of their lives. The then hugely successful management partnership of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen which, among others, looked after CSN&Y and Joni Mitchell, took America under their wing. It was virtually a guarantee of success.

Since then the trio, who are now enlarged to a quintet with the addition of regular bass and drums, have not been seen much on this side of the Atlantic. There was one concert at the Royal Festival Hall two years ago, but no tour, a state of affairs that must surely be reflected in the group's disappointing U.K. album sales of late. Of the three, who left England three years ago, only Beckley retains his ties closely. The other two have settled in California. Beckley ahs a house in Sussex, a cottage that he lives in for slightly more than a month each year, partly for tax reasons, and partly because he simply hasn't the time any more. He does look on England as home, though, and sincerely wishes there could be more UK tours.

"I grew up here more than in the Staes, and I'd rather call my place in Sussex home than LA, but where we live isn't that important." The initial move to the staets was sudden but logical: "We were watching the success that was going down in the staes and thought it was better to be there and have an American manager rather than to watch it from here and hope it was being done right."

They've toured with Poco before and both acts are firm friends, virtually sharing the bill on this outing. The empathy between the two bands is shown at the conlcusion of their set on the current tour, when both return to play, "Don't Cross the River."

"We figured we'd show the people that this wasn't just another hired act for the tour, and that's why we put in "Don't Cross the River," which isn't exactly the most rehearesed number, but that doesn't matter. It's to show that we're a bunch of peple together and not two separate shows."

America's "miss" album coincided with the break-up of the Geffen-Roberts management stable, Geffen quitting to take over the Elektra-Asylum record label and leaving the management side to Roberts.

Eventually America, too, left Roberts and sought out their previous team, a decision that roughly coincided with their choice of George Martin as their next producer. The new management and Martin's studio work, soon put the band back on their feet!

For that fourth album America returned to London and put in two week's work at Martin's AIR studios. The combination worked, and so Martin also produced their fifth album, "Holiday," travelling to California for the sessions.

The next album, though will be a greatest hits, titled, "History" and it's due out in October in the states and later here. Predictably, it's a collection of singles, all of which were top twenty numbers in the states. Martin will, in fact, re-mix the early tracks that he wasn't involved with at the time."

...by Chris Charlesworth

*****

Note from the Newsletter Editor

Many thanks for all of your patience in waiting for this combined issue of the newsletter. I was off-line for longer than expected. I cannot currently send the newsletter with the system I am now on, so Rick Wahlgren will be distributing it. Thanks Rick!! Please continue to send me your questions, comments, concert reviews, America want-ads, etc.....You can still send to my old address srobbins@eagle.lhup.edu They haven't kicked me off yet, so I'm telnetting in from West Virginia. It was great meeting some of you at the shows this summer....

Sue


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Last Revised: 9 January 1998