Newsletter Archive

Archives: Winter 1997


Winter Edition 97


*America Trivia

*Hope Receives Grammy Nomination

*New CD????

*Name the New CD

*Tour Schedule '97

*Concert Review: Robinsville, Mississippi (Grand Opening of '97 Tour)

*Peace at Robinsville Concert

*Home Page Messages

*America News from Optek Music and Smartlight Guitars

*Newsflash: Capitol Materials to be Released on CD!!!

*All Music Guide Biography: America

*AOL Live America Chat

*Issue: America Music Better Before or After George Martin?

*Rave Reviews for In the Beginning

*Letters to the Editor



email addresses

America Home Page Addresses

America AOL Message Boards Info

*Trivia Answer


AMERICA TRIVIA's one for you trivia buffs! (Send some good ones for future issues!)

Q: Which Dan Peek Christian song did Gerry and Dewey sing background vocals on? A: at end of newsletter


Hope, written by Gerry Beckley and performed by America on the Hourglass CD, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Hope was performed at the American Music Awards last year as the grand finale by approx. 30 country artists, and it is this version that is actually up for the nomination. Congratulations to Gerry......and Dewey too for this special honor.

NEW CD???????

No specific details have been released yet, but Gerry and Dewey are currently working on projects and getting, as Dewey described, ideas down on tape. So.....stay tuned for more info. We all can appreciate how difficult it is to put a recording deal together and have to be patient......and wish the guys our very best. But..........I'm thinking there's going to be some good news in the near future!!


There was a name the new CD "contest" on AOL.........and some great "H" names were submitted. Heritage, Horizon, Hey Days, Harmonize, Harmony, Halcyon, Hemisphere, Honesty, Habitat, and Handwriting were a few. If you can think of any others.......send this way just for the fun of it!


This is the latest ......but there should be a new one soon as Gerry reports that several new dates are being added! Watch the home page for schedule updates. All venue info that we have is listed:

NOTE: This is a tentative schedule...and doublecheck start times!!!

1/31/97 Robinsville, MS Sam's Town Hotel 9pm

2/22/97 Indio, CA Riverside Co. Fair 3 & 8:30 pm

2/23/97 Bakersfield, CA Rockin' Rodeo 9:30

2/27 to 3/5/97 Sparks, NV The Nugget Celebrity Showroom, 8pm shows each night;two shows on 3/1/97

5/10/97 St. George, UT Dixie Center 7:30 pm

5/16/97 Porterville, CA. Porterville Fair 8pm Tentative

6/3/97 Victorville, CA. San Bernadino Co. Fair 7 & 9

6/14/97 Las Vegas, NV Texas Boulder Station 8 & 11 pm TENTATIVE

6/15/97 Stockton, CA San Joaquin Co. Fair 7 &9 pm

6/21/97 Ocean City, NJ Families First Festival 8pm

6/26/97 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest Noon & 6 pm

6/29/97 Muskegon, MI Summer Celebration 8:30 pm

7/2/97 Pleasonton, CA or Hayes, KS. (tentative)

7/5/97 Naperville, IL Rib Fest 8 pm

7/6/97 Clinton, IA Riverview Park fair 8 pm

7/18/97 Oahu, HI Bayfest '97

7/19/97 Oahu, HI Bayfest '97

8/10/97 San Mateo, CA San Mateo Co. Fair 5 & 7 pm

8/19/97 Westbury, NY Westbury Music Fair 8 pm with Air Supply

8/22/97 Kettering, OH Delco Park 8:30 pm

8/31/97 Virginia Beach, Virginia Oceanfront 9pm

10/3/97 San Diego, CA Humphrey's TBA


Dave wrote a great review of the first concert of the '97 Tour...............

Date: 1/31/97


America officially kicked off year 27 and the '97 concert schedule with a great performance at Sam's Town Hotel in Robinsville, Mississippi this past Friday night. The 1600 seat River Place concert room at this casino just south of Memphis, TN was nearly full for this show, which lasted about 75 minutes. No other acts were on the bill, so we were treated with the longer show.

And what a show it was. The band started the year sharply with very precise and completely on target vocals. Gerry and Dewey both wore black suit coats, and for first time I can remember, almost matched in appearance. It was a nice touch. Make no mistake, though. The white sneakers and the 'skin boots remained. Gerry was also sporting a new black guitar that Bill from the road crew had worked on for him. It looked and sounded great. Good job, Bill! The play list, which I got a temporary view of, is similar to '96. I noticed that the only Hourglass song formally listed is Mirror to Mirror. This would be my pick if I got only one song from Hourglass, but I found it somewhat surprising. I was hoping Gerry would plug HOPE's Grammy connection this year, just to imply the 'currentness' of the music and the fact that other celebrated artists recognize the quality of America's songwriting abilities. Perhaps there will be opportunities for this later.

But I digress. The guys kicked into 'Riverside' gracefully, much to the appreciation of an excited crowd. Working through the list, as Gerry often says "to make sure they don't get messed up", Gerry came to 'Daisy Jane'. As you might imagine, the audience, most of who had driven down from Memphis, responded very warmly to the 'flyin me back to Memphis ...' lyric. From that point on, the guys might as well have been a local band, for place kind of 'adopted' them. Then another interesting thing happened. Dewey began to explain the group's English origins and the fact that they met at high school, when low and behold, a gal in third row right jumps up with a London Central High letter jacket! Very surprised, Dewey simply said, "Yeah, that's the one!". After the show, we learned that it was from the class of '88, and she told Jerry and Dewey how they are still legends at the school for being the most re-knowned alumni. America continued on with their great cover of 'California Dreamin', which got a lot in the crowd dancing. Dewey nailed the vocal, which again, I thought was the defining characteristic of the entire performance. He shared that once the Mama and the Papas, the Beach Boys and themselves were on the same bill for some show, and that all three had this song in their repertoire. Who do you think got to perform it? (C'mon, use your common sense ...).

It soon came time to introduce the band. When it came Willie's turn, we were all delighted to learn that Mr. and Mrs. Leacox, Willie's parents, were in the audience. I got to speak with them after the show. Not a nicer couple will you ever meet. It seams Mr. Leacox had a musical background of his own, in his earlier years, from some of the interesting stories he was telling. It was very apparent where some of Willie's great talent comes from!

After progressing through 'Lonely People', 'I Need You' and 'Sandman' all of which got partial standing ovations, and playing all the songs on the play list except 'Last Unicorn', 'Green Monkey' and 'Sgt. Darkness' the crowd, which had been calling out for 'Sister Golden Hair' all night, was treated to it. That produced the total standing ovation which led to a two song encore of 'California Revisited' and of course, 'A Horse With No Name'. As usual, the show was total quality all the way through, demonstrating the unique harmony and commitment to perfection that have made America famous and special to us all for so many years. Also at the end of each show, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the song writing talents of these two (and of course Dan, who Dewey was very kind to prominently mention and acknowledge during the show). One hundred and sixty-eight (168!) songs they have penned in their careers (that we know of)! And for the twenty-five or so that are in the play list, you know their are 100 more good enough to be there.

And there's nothing like hearing them live. Gerry and Dewey, here's to many more songs in the future. And here's to next time, which I hope won't be to far in the future, as we eagerly wait for the concert schedule to fill out.

One last thought, then I promise to close. Even though Sam's Town is a huge complex, I had the good fortune to accidentally bump into Gerry, Dewey and the guys at dinner before the show (we happened to go through a buffet line at the same time). And rather than the usual 'Oh thanks for coming, have a good life' pleasantry most artists would drivel in, Gerry and Dewey went out of their way talk with me a while about several subjects and made sure I met everyone in the band. After the show, was just fantastic. Dewey shared information about his family history, how the group met in England, American Gramophone and even an Elvis story (Elvis always being a topic of conversation in Memphis!). The point is: these guys are really nice people. They are very accommodating to their fans, and they are very supportive of our efforts on the internet. I just wanted to thank them for making me feel so welcome, and to express their gratitude to everyone on-line. Sam's Town Hotel, Robinsville MS, January 31, 1997.

And thinking big for America in '97, recall these words from Gerry:

Now is the moment and now is forever,

Now is the time it will all come together ...

(from Sunrise, Sunset) Van Go Gan



Brian Gentry of the group PEACE and his wife Jeanna, were special guests at the Robinsville concert. PEACE is the group that Dan Peek currently works with, and the guys were excited about meeting each other.....especially since America was a main source of inspiration for PEACE. Brian said the concert was "impeccable," and also gave Gerry and Dewey copies of PEACE's great CD, Stronger Than You Know. (which can be ordered from the Dan Peek Today section of the America Home Page) Watch for some exciting new PEACE updates!!


It's always fun to read and answer the mail to the America Home page. Gerry and Dewey always take time to read these messages too......and often have a response to forward.

Here's a few selected messages.........


Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1997

Subject: long time fan

i recently joined the net and was delighted to find america info. i'll try to make this short although i could send several pages. i'm now 40 yrs old but when i was a kid, one saturday while my sisters were watching tv from another room, i heard the best music ever. i hurried into the room, and there were some guys standing there playing acoustic guitars and i just stood there because it was the best. since then i've scarffed up everything that was available. my wife and i saw america in charleston, wv and just loved the show. we'd travel a several hrs to do it again if they play near us. several yrs ago it seemed america had a dry spell and i was disappointed. a friend and i had gone on a camping trip high in the mountains of wv. our tent was in the middle of a field early in the morning, fog laying low and the surrounding mountains were beautiful. we were listening to his boombox when i heard it. "you can do magic". i knew it was america within 10 seconds of the beginning. i'm listening to it right now from one of my tapes. i play bass and have played in a few groups from time to time. our group played for my sister's wedding and we worked out "all my life". the only person that could do it justice was our female singer. she had done some studio work in ohio. that moment was the highlight of the wedding. some tears at that moment. it may sound corny, but america's music has been a part of my life since i was a kid. it's been there when times were great and it was there when things were pretty rotten for me. gerry and dewey couldn't possibly know just how much their music has done for me. thanks, and good luck.

looking forward to the next piece.

wes sadler

From: Tom Hullinger

Subject: Harbor on CD

Hi Rick,

My wife and I are huge America fans. I thought I'd let you know that "Harbor" is available on cd. I found it in CD Universe. It's a German import and cost me $20.00. I'm still looking for "Holiday" and the Capitol collection. I thought you might want to post this on your page. By the way, your page is super and I visit it everyday. Talk to you later. Tom

"Robert Dutton"

Subject: America's Alaska Concerts

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997

America performed here in Anchorage on February 16, 1996 and on July 29, 1994. I wish I had internet access at the time so I could have told you how great their concerts were. Nobody puts on a warm, friendly concert like Gerry and Dewey.

Rob Dutton, Anchorage AK


Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997

Subject: Grange Fair

The Mrs. and I had the pleasure of opening for Gerry & Dewey at the Grange Encampment Fair last August. Needless to say, it was an honor. This is the first chance I had to browse the web and find anything related to them.

My homepage at: has a picture of us with them backstage before the second show. Was wondering if you would mind if I link to your page.

Enjoyed browsing!



From: The James Family


I'm only 15 but America is 1 of my favorite bands

And.........from another young fan!!!

January 29, 1997

Dear America,

My school is having an auction on March 4th to raise money to fix our sound system, lights, and stage so our parents can see and hear us better at our performances.

We are writing famous actors, musicians, politicians, atheletes and authors to ask for a signed 8 X 10 photograph or any other piece of memorabilia they may want to send.

Would you please donate to us a signed photograph, or any other memorabilia that you think might help our school. I would really appreciate it.




From: Rusty Shaffer

Subject: America and Optek Music Systems

Dear Rick,

Hi. I haven't talked to you in awhile but I wanted to update you on some important news.America Greatest hits will be the FIRST album/songs to appear on the SmartLIGHT Interactivbe Systemú. Check out our home page for details.

America's Greatest Hits will come standard with every SmartLIGHT Guitar shipped along with a songbook.

Hopefully within two months Gerry and Dewey will be back in the studio on Optek's behalf recording some "intro" tracks for the History CD. optek plans to re-release this CD which will be speacially developed for the SmartLIGHT Interactive System. The intro tracks will allow the player at home to listen to Gerry and Dewey talk about what they did (guitar wise) on each song. Pretty cool huh? Eventually (six months) will do a video/CD Rom title and you'll be able to play along with them at home.

Call me if you need additional info

Rusty Shaffer

919-878-7997 x22

(note: Optek home page link is found on "Van Go Gan" on America Home Page )


Finally.....the NEWSFLASH that everyone has been waiting for........that was greeted by online cheers and hoorays!

Reportedly, Silent Letter, Alibi, Perspective, and Your Move will be released this summer (June or July) by One Way Records. Do yourself a huge favor, and add all to your collection. Also, here's a message regarding this BIG news story!

I've heard from a music dealer in Arkansas that One Way Records is tentatively planning to release Silent Letter, Alibi, Your Move,and Perspective on CD in either June or July of '97. Perhaps you could pass the word on via your web page. Thanks, John Corbett


While checking out America CD availability on CD Now ( I ran across this All Music Guide Biography.................

America was a light folk-rock act of the early '70s who had several Top Ten hits, including the number ones "A Horse with No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair." Vocalists/guitarists {Dewey Bunnell,} {Dan Peek,} and {Gerry Beckley} met while they were still in high school in the late '60s; all three members were sons of U.S. Air Force officers who were stationed in the U.K. After they completed school in 1970, they formed an acoustic folk-rock quartet called {Daze inLondon,} which was soon pared down to the trio of {Bunnell, Peek, And Beckley}. Adopting the name {America,} the group landed a contract with {Jeff Dexter,} a promoter for the Roundhouse concert venue. {Dexter} had {America} open for several major artists and the group soon signed with Warner Bros. Records. By the fall of 1970, the group was recording their debut album in London, with producers {Ian Samwell} and {Jeff Dexter.}

"A Horse with No Name," {America}'s debut single, was released at the end of 1971. In January of 1972, the song --which strongly recalled the acoustic numbers of {Neil Young} -- became a number three hit in the U.K. The group's self-titled debut album followed the same stylistic pattern and became a hit as well, peaking at number 14.

Following their British success, {America} returned to North America, beginning a supporting tour for {The Everly Brothers.} "A Horse with No Name" was released in the U.S. that spring, where it soon became a number one single, pushing {Neil Young's} "Heart of Gold" off the top of the charts; "America" followed the single to the top of the charts. "I Need You" became another Top Ten hit that summer, and the group began work on its second album with {The Beatles'} producer {George Martin.} "Ventura Highway," the first single released from this collaboration, became their third straight Top Ten hit in December of 1972. In the beginning of 1973, {America} won the Grammy award for Best New Artist of 1972.

"Homecoming" was released in {January} of 1973, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and peaking at number 21 in the U.K. Under {Martin's} direction, {America's} essential sound didn't change, it just became more polished. However, the hits stopped coming fairly soon -- they had only one minor Top 40 hit in 1973. "Hat Trick," the group's third album, was released toward the end of 1973; it failed to make it past number 28 on the American charts. Released in the late fall of 1974, "Holiday" was the third record the group made with {George Martin.} "Holiday" returned {America} to the top of the charts, peaking at number three and launching the hit singles "Tin Man" and "Lonely People." "Sister Golden Hair," pulled from 1975's "Hearts," became their second number one single. That same year, the group released "History / America's Greatest Hits," which would eventually sell over four million copies.

Although America's 1976 effort "Hideaway" went gold and peaked at number 11, the group's audience was beginning to decline. At the end of 1976, {Dan Peek} left the group, deciding to become a Contemporary Christian recording artist. The group continued as a duo, releasing "Harbor" to a lukewarm reception. {America's} last Martin-produced record, "Silent Letter," was released in 1979 to little attention. {America} returned to the Top Ten in 1982 with "You Can Do Magic," an adult contemporary pop number that featured synthesizers along with their trademark harmonies. "The Border" became their last Top 40 hit in 1983, peaking at number 33. {America} released their last album, "America in Concert," in the summer of 1985, yet the group has continued to tour successfully into the '90s. --

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide


The first live America chat was held Wednesday February 5th starting at 6pm Pacific.....9pm Eastern for all that were willing to brave AOL busy signals and try to get online! A private room was created entitled VGG (for Gerry's Van Go Gan of course), and about 10 or so onliners altogether joined in. The chat session lasted three hours......and it was fun, hilarious at times, and......even had some good discussion about America!! Best of all, it was a chance for America fans to meet each other live instead of just communicating via the AOL America message board.

The next live America chat is scheduled for Thursday, Feb 13 at 6pm Pacific.....9pm Eastern.........although we're urging anyone to form a VGG private room at any time, and see who drops on by.


This question was brought up in the America Online folder, and will always be debated. Send me your thoughts on this subject. Here's a few opinions already........


I have been thinking about this for a long time, but have been afraid to start this discussion out of fear of how it may be perceived. But I'll be brave and just let it go. Was George Martin really good for America? I don't think so. Before you start screaming at your screen and banish me from the board for blasphemy, please read the rest of my post.

First let me say the Sir George is a musical genius and richly deserves whatever honors have been bestowed upon him. He was THE revolutionary producer and changed the way record companies did buisness with producers and greatly contributed to the Beatles success.

But when he started producing America, he slightly changed the direction I think they were headed in. I think my point can be illustrated by listening to the Horse With No Name CD (which wasn't produced by Martin) and the 1977 Live CD which he did produce. The Horse CD I think shows where they were heading on their own. It is a simpler folk rock/ classic rock sound. The Live CD is classic Martin. A lot of orchstrale accompaniment, more of a soft rock/ pop sound. Don't get me wrong, I like them both, but I think Horse is better. Now I know it's not a perfect comparison because the Horse CD was made before Dan left, but in general I think it's still a valid comparison. Also listen to the song Horse With No Name on each CD. If Martin had been their producer from the begining, I think he would done Horse With No Name like he did it on the Live CD, which is good, but I think Dewey's simpler approach was better.

Also, listen to their first three, pre-Martin, albums. On the whole, I think they are slightly better than their Martin stuff. Especially Hat Trick, which had a "classic rock" type of style to it. On them Dewey was the musical leader of the group. Once Martin took over, Dewey seemed to slip slightly into the background. Now part of that is due to Gerry and Dan growing musically under Martin's direction. But I think that it may also be because Martin didn't know how to approach Dewey's unique style of music. Because Dewey seems to return to the forefront with Alibi, which Martin didn't produce.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying that their Martin produced stuff was bad. It was excellent!! I just think that their pre-Martin stuff was better. It's hard to compare some of their post-Martin stuff since Dan had left by then, and they different producers and brought in other song writers, but I think Alibi and View From the Ground were just as good as any of their Martin stuff and I think Hourglass was better!

Does anybody else have an opinion?



I think that maybe they felt they needed a hand in the studio. Hattrick kinda stretched them to the brink, and it got to be a bit much to produce and mix and write and tour and write and tour (you get the picture...?).

They all must have agreed to Sir George.

When you get someone of THAT magnitude-it's bound to change your output in one way or another....AND they still went back for more and more, with Sir Martin.... So I assume here that THEY were pleased with the outcome (not to mention millions of fans of "Tin Man", "Lonely People", "Sister Golden Hair", "Today's The Day"

I guess what I'm getting at (in my usual wordy way) is that THEY liked it. All groups end up evolving (hopefully). How many times can you clone "Horse" anyway?

I do love their early stuff as much as the next fan, but I love the "newer" stuff as well. Maybe it's like Oranges and Nectarines....

Just a thought...


Subj: Re:Discussion: George Martin


The original America acoustic sounds will always be special to every America fan, because it was that sound that made America rise to international stardom in the 70s.

As artists......Gerry, Dewey, and Dan felt the need to grow.....and coupled with ever increasing responsibilities......the chance to have Sir George on board was a once in a lifetime opportunity. After all, who could pass up the 6th Beatle and all that he offered. He was the master.......only a chosen few would become his students.

From my standpoint, the original America music......and the America music produced by George Martin are equally good, because George brought out other dimensions of America we may never have heard.

An America concert today is a celebration of it all.....from the original the George Martin era.........and to which Gerry and Dewey are back to doing it all once again with utmost professionalism and confidence.

Subj: Re:Discussion: George Martin

Date: 2/6/97


I think what Martin did to the band was for the most part, an incredible collaboration. While the first two albums had hit singles, HAT TRICK (which I really like) did not. So, aliong comes Martin and the next two albums, HOLIDAY & HEARTS produce "Tin Man" (#4), & Sister Golden Hair (#1), not to mention others. OF course we all know that his work on HISTORY has helped make it one of the best selling greatest hits albums of all time.

I remember Willie telling a few HOLIDAY stories. It's been a while so I hope I remember them correctly. When he first went into the studio he sat behind his drums and waited. Martin asked him what he was waiting for and Willie replied, "For you to tell me what to do". Martin replied, "Whatever you feel". That freedom eventually led to the bossa-nova feel we get on Tin Man. Also on "Hollywood", his drum track is really him keeping time on a padded piano stool. And those car horns at the beginning of the song is a story in itself. From what I gathered, Martin parked his car at one end of the street, blocking it...and Dan Peek parked his car at the opposite end of the street, blocking it. Geoff Emerick (the engineer) hung a mic out the window and recorded the pissed off motoroists honking at them. Very inventive. I love his orchestrations...Listen to "Watership Down" Also I don't agree with your views about 77 LIVE album. I think it rocks. Listen to the orginal version of OLD MAN TOOK and the live one..Big Difference! I think Martin was a big asset to the band. And I also think his departure was well timed. The band was moving ina different direction and they parted ways. So there you have my opinion... NEXT



Jim posted his In the Beginning series about America on the America message boards on AOL. Steve Lowry said he was planning to include this series on his America Fans check it out. (site address at end of newsletter) It received rave reviews from all on AOL. Also, Barbara Bickmore deserves a lot of credit for retyping the entire series as well......and Jim made a few revisions/updates from the original.........................

Here's a segment of In the Beginning.......just to whet your appetite........

Well, when the guys graduated hs in 1969, they briefly went their separate ways; GERRY worked in a warehouse, DAN went off to college & DEWEY tried acting school. GERRY did consider taking his musical talents to a higher academia but dropped that notion & also considered art or architecture as a profession. The guys soon reunited working in a snack bar in a small town outside of London. As military sons, they learned how to pack up & move quite frequently. This was probably very good training for the later rigors of touring & is it any wonder that to this day they still tour. As you know, LP #1 was a smash. LP #2, HOMECOMING, followed. More to follow. Won't know till the sun comes up again.........

WANTED!!!!!!!!!!!!! Send in any of the following items for the America Express Newsletter...... (see mailing addresses at end of newsletter)

1. Letters to the Editor

2. Suggestions (but..............please be gentle................don't expect miracles) :)

3. America *pictures* that you've taken for the AMERICA HOME PAGE........If you want returned, send self addressed stamped envelope

4. Concert Reviews (past and present)

5. Trivia

6. America stories.......meeting the stories

7. Video Info

8. Good suggestions about where to purchase America CDs

9. America related newspaper or magazine articles......send copies


Only one letter in the mailbox this time.......from a disgruntled fan no less.............

Dear Rick,

If I let you go to the Sparks (Reno) concerts, then you have to promise to take me to the America concerts in Hawaii for our 25th anniversary present or else there may not be a 26th!!!!



Email: (Rick Wahlgren) or

Rick Wahlgren

1717 Matz Road

Ferndale, Washington 98248

phone: 360-380-6271

Home Page Sites.................

America Home Page (by Rick Wahlgren)

America: Classic Rock Band in Pictures (by Ike Gauley)

America Fans Across America ... and the World (by Steve Lowry)


AOL America Message Board (this is a *permanent* folder we're happy to report) Also......Gerry and Dewey are AOL members, and read the America message board often.............

1. keyword mmc (for Musicspace Message Board) 2. Rock/Pop 3. Artists A-F (n/s)

4. America: Beckley and Bunnell (and you're there!!!!!)


Why of course........its Love Is Just Another Word from Dans All Things Are Possible album!!!


Professor Sue Robbins asked me to take back over the America Express Newsletter because of her committments to her new job as the Dean of Education. She has a prominent position in education that is very demanding.

She has done a *professional,exceptional and admirable job* with the America Express Newsletter, and is a very close friend........and a hard act to follow!!!

Sue will continue to contribute to the newsletter, and remains one of the neatest and devoted America fans you'll ever have the pleasure to meet.

Keep your fingers crossed........hopefully Sue will find the time in the future to jump right back in........and she knows she's always welcome!!!!!

[October/November] [Spring]
Last Revised: 24 July 1998