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America celebrates 40 years with stop at Penn's Peak Friday

  • JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Gerry Beckley of America sings during the band's 2009 show at Penn's Peak. America brings its 40th anniversary tour to The Peak Friday night.
    JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS Gerry Beckley of America sings during the band's 2009 show at Penn's Peak. America brings its 40th anniversary tour to The Peak Friday night.
Published October 21. 2010 05:00PM

It's hard to believe it has been four decades since a certain nameless horse rode onto the music scene.

It was the single "A Horse With No Name" that launched America onto the pop charts and began a career that is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.

Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe is a frequent stop on America's annual musical tours, and this year is no exception. America will perform at The Peak on Friday, Oct. 22, with showtime at 8 p.m.

The America show is part of a busy weekend at The Peak. On Saturday, Oct. 23, Restless Heart returns, and on Sunday, Oct. 24, Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson will perform an evening of selected Tull songs, as well as his own solo work.

America was originally a trio, including Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek. The three met because their American military fathers had been stationed on a United States Air Force Base in London, England. The threesome met while playing in two different bands while attending high school in the mid-1960's.

America developed a folk rock sound that produced a smash hit in "A Horse With No Name," which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1972. The band's self-titled debut album, which also included "I Need You" (which reached number 9) and "Sandman", also hit the top of Billboard's album chart.

America's greatest chart success came during the 70's, when it registered its other chart-topping single, "Sister Goldenhair" (1975), as well as a string of other hit singles, including "Ventura Highway (#8 in 1972), "Tin Man" (#4 in 1974), "Lonely People" (#5 in 1975), "Daisy Jane" (#20 in 1975), "Today's the Day" (#23 in 1976), "Don't Cross the River" (#35 in 1973) and "Woman Tonight" (#44 in 1975). "Tin Man," "Lonely People" and "Today's the Day" all hit number one on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart.

In addition to its chart and radio success, America was also noted for working with The Beatles' producer George Martin on several albums, as well as starting the titles of many of their LPs with the letter H ("Homecoming," "Hat Trick," "Holiday," "Hearts," "History," "Harbor," "Hideaway," and even using "Silent Letter.")

In 1977 Dan Peek left the band to pursue a career in contemporary Christian music. Bunnell and Beckley have carried on as a duo since.

After years on Warner Brothers records, America moved to Capitol in 1979 and returned to the top 10 with "You Can Do Magic", which reached number 8 in 1982. "The Border" also hit the top 40, reaching number 33 in 1983.

America's latest release, "Here and Now" came out in 2007 and included new songs with contributions from admirers The Fountains of Wayne, as well as a live XM radio concert of their "History" album.

Every time America hit the stage, it's a run through a repertoire steeped in classic rock. America's history is well worth a listen.

Tickets for America on Friday, Oct. 22 at Penn's Peak are $38 for premium reserved seating and $33 for regular reserved seating. Tickets are available online at, at Ticketmaster outlets, including Boscov's and Gallery of Sound, at the Penn's Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant. For information, call 1-866-605-PEAK.

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