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America back at the Peak again

  • JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS America (Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, from left) will perform at Penn's Peak on Thursday, Oct. 29.
    JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS America (Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, from left) will perform at Penn's Peak on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Published October 22. 2009 05:00PM

Since riding onto the pop charts in 1972 with ''A Horse with No Name'', America remains as popular as ever with its many fans.

Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell are favorites of the Penn's Peak crowd as well, and they will be returning to the Jim Thorpe area venue next week, on Thursday, Oct. 29, for an 8 p.m. show.

America was originally a trio, formed by the sons of American servicemen stationed in England. The band got the idea for its name from an Americana jukebox on the base where they were living, but it also reflected their roots as well.

Beckley, Bunnell and Dan Peek continued to ride high on the pop charts after ''Horse'', with their soft rock and folk melodies, harmonies and ballads hitting it big during the early and mid1970's, when there was an emphasis on singers and songwriters.

The band's string of hits are mainstays of pop, classic rock and adult contemporary radio station playlists to this day. ''I Need You'', ''Ventura Highway'' (which was sampled by Janet Jackson), ''Tin Man'', ''Lonely People'', ''Sister Golden Hair, ''Daisy Jane'', ''Don't Cross the River'', ''Today's The Day'' and ''Woman Tonight'' were all hits during America's 70's commercial zenith.

Dan Peek left the group in 1977 and went on to success in recording Contemporary Christian music. Beckley and Bunnell forged ahead as a duo and managed two more significant hits, ''You Can Do Magic'' and ''The Border''.

In addition to its many hit songs, America has at least two more claims to fame. The first is that the band was produced by Sir George Martin, who performed similar duties with The Beatles.

The other had been more like a running gag by the band, which had a habit of making up album titles beginning with the letter H. Some examples: Homecoming, Hat Trick, Holiday, Harbor, Hearts. Their first greatest hits album was called History. America even took this as far as calling one album Silent Letter.

America continues as a popular touring act, playing upwards of 150 shows per year.

The band also created a buzz with its latest album, which was called Here and Now and was released last year. In addition to a disc of new material, including songs which America performs in concert, it also included a disc of live renditions of the songs on the multi-platinum History greatest hits album, which was recorded for XM Radio.

America's shows are chock full of their hits, faithful to the arrangements as their fans remember them. The band reworks its sets in order to keep them fresh.

Tickets for America at Penn's Peak on Thursday, Oct. 29 are $38 for premium reserved seating and $33 for regular reserved seating. Tickets are availabe on-line through Ticketmaster and its retail outlets, as well as at the Penn's Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant. For more information, call 1-866-605-PEAK.

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