Great name for a group but it was the British influence that was huge as the band members all came from the UK or had UK connections. Gerry Beckley had a British mum and was born in Texas in 1942 and played with the group The Vanguards in 1962. He spent a lot of time in the UK, as his father was often stationed there.
Fellow member Dan Peek who was very influenced by Christian music. He was born in the U.S. but educated in the UK where he met the other band members. Dan left the group in 1977 and died in 2011 aged 60. He and Dewey Bunnel formed America and produced their debut album in 1971 called America. The album did not do that well at first but then it did NOT have a track called A Horse With No Name. It was later added and then with that inclusion the album did very well indeed.
A Horse With No Name went Gold in 1972 and was written by Dewey. The song was written whilst the band were in Dorset in the UK, and was inspired by a Salvador Dali painting and Dewey travelling with his ad through the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. The song was banned by a few stations in the U.S. because of an assumption t was mentioning drugs. But the single and the album still sold very well, with the album going platinum. The single went to No. 11 in the UK.
The U.S. follow up was I Need You that went to No.9 in the Billboard charts. At this point the group all went to live in California and produced their second album in 1972 called Homecoming which became a million seller. The group won a Grammy in 1972.
Ventura Highway was the first single from the album getting to No. 8 in the U.S. charts which is about clouds in the skies and the shapes they make when you are on a journey.
Sister Golden Hair went to No. 1 in the U.S. in 1975 and was inspired by Jackson Browne. Other hits followed including Tin Man that was produced by George Martin of the Beatles fame. The song refers to the character in Wizard Of Oz. Also from the album Holiday came another U.S. hit called Lonely People.
In the UK the group only really had one hit single with Ventura Highway not managing to break the top 40.