America’s Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums

America's Best Songs

Feature Photo: AVRO, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

America was one of the most loved bands of the 1970s. There was just something really special about the group. Their songs defined the soft rock era between 1970 and 1975. The band’s first six albums were loaded with hits. Songs that bring you right back to those days. The band consisted of the trio of Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley. The trio composed iconic, heartwarming songs fueled by stunning lead vocals and spectacular harmonies. Picking our favorite song from each of the first five or six albums will be difficult. There were so many great ones on each record. However, one of the reasons we composed this list is that we wanted to turn people on to some of their later music that fans may not be aware of. This one should be fun.

America – “I Need You”

America’s debut album was released in 1971. The band became a worldwide household name because of their massive hit “A Horse With No Name.” While that would obviously be the pick here, we just love the song “I Need You” a little more. Additionally, to be fair, “A Horse With No Name” was originally released as a single and was not included on the initial debut album release until it was added later on.

Homecoming (1972) “Ventura Highway”

While the band’s second album, Homecoming, did not have a lot of hits, with the exception of “Ventura Highway,” it is highly regarded as one of America’s finest albums. Still “Ventura Highway” stands as the highlight of the album.

Hat Trick -“Rainbow Song”

The band’s third album was fueled by the hit “Muskrat Love,” which would become an even bigger hit a few years later for The Captain & Tennille. Nonetheless, the album’s standout track was the second single released, entitled “Rainbow Song.”

Holiday  – “Tin Man”

This was a fantastic album released in 1974 that spawned two amazing singles, “Lonely People” and “Tin Man.” In the end, we had to go with Dewey Bunnell’s sensational lead vocals and the stunning song “Tin Man.”

Hearts – “Sister Golden Hair”

I still get chills every time I hear this song. From the opening chords to the beautiful vocals and stirring melody. This song brings me back to my youth almost more than any other song.

Hideaway  – “Amber Cascades”

The big hit from this 1976 album was “Today’s the Day,” which was a marvelous song. Nonetheless, there was something about the album’s second single, “Amber Cascades,” that I always liked a little more. Dewey Bunnell delivered very cool vocals on the track.

Harbor (1977)

This was the first America album since their debut that failed to produce a hit single. That’s okay, it was still a pretty good record. George Martins’s influence is very much apparent here, especially on the pick called “God Of The Son.”

Silent Letter – Only Game In Town

It was pretty apparent from the album cover that America was no longer a trio. On the band’s eighth studio album, Dan Peaks was no longer a part of the group. Silent Letter would also be the band’s final album of the decade, as it was released in 1979. Our favorite track on the record was the opening song “Only Game in Town.”

Alibi – I Do Believe In You

There were no hits on this album, but just take a look at the lineup of musicians who played on the record…Steve Lukather on guitar, Fred Mollin on guitar, percussion, and background vocals, Dean Parks on guitar, Waddy Wachtel on guitar, Matthew McCauley on synthesizer and background vocals, James Newton Howard on keyboards and synthesizer, Jai Winding on keyboards and synthesizer, Norton Buffalo on harmonica, Leland Sklar on bass guitar, Michael Baird on drums, Willie Leacox on percussion, J. D. Souther on background vocals, Tom Kelly on background vocals, Richard Page on background vocals, and Timothy B. Schmit on background vocals. You can hear the power of this group in the fantastic song “I Do Believe In You.”

View from the Ground – “You Can Do Magic”

Just when you thought America would never have another hit again, the band came roaring back in 1982 with a top 10 hit in the song “You Can Do Magic.”   Once again, the band was backed up by an all-star list of musicians. Russ Ballard on all instruments and backing vocals, Chris Coté on keyboards and backing vocals, Jai Winding on keyboards, Mark Isham on synthesizers, Hadley Hockensmith on guitars, Steve Lukather on guitars, Bill Mumy (the legendary Lost In Space actor) on guitars, Dean Parks on guitars, Michael Woods on guitars, Mike Mirage on guitars and backing vocals, Rick Neigher on guitars and backing vocals, Brad Palmer on bass, Mike Porcaro on bass, Jeff Porcaro on drums, Willie Leacox on drums, Alvin Taylor on drums, Matthew McCauley on string arrangements and conductor.

If you thought that was incredible, check out the legends on backing vocals: Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Tom Kelly, Chuck Kirkpatrick, Timothy B. Schmit, Sara Taylor, and Carl Wilson.

Your Move – Love’s Worn Out Again

While the band failed to launch another big hit single from the album after their massive success with their 1982 album, America released a really enjoyable album in Your Move. One of the highlights was the hidden gem “Love’s Worn Out Again.” The song was composed by actor and musician Bill Mumy and Gerry Beckley.

Perspective (1984)

One of the reasons we composed this article is to showcase songs like this one. “Can’t Fall Asleep to a Lullabye,” composed by Dewey Bunnell, Steve Perry, Bill Mumy, and Robert Haimer, is just stunning. Of course, having one of the greatest singers in rock history, Steve Perry, as a backing vocalist is extraordinary.

Hourglass (1994)

It had been 10 years since America had released a studio album, so it was nice to have them back in 1994, although the emergence of grunge music surrounded them. The album’s wonderous song “Young Moon” is the pick here.

Human Nature – Hidden Talent

The pick here on their 1998 album is the track “Hidden Talent,” which also featured the Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson and Chicago’s Robert Lamm on backing vocals.

Holiday Harmony – Christmas In California

America’s first holiday album contained mostly covers of Christmas classics. However, the band did compose three originals for the record. This one, complete with Beach Boys-style harmonies and America’s signature rhythms, is just perfect.

Here & Now – “Chasing the Rainbow”

Almost another ten years had gone by between America’s albums of new studio material. In 2007, the band’s vocal sound of Beckley and Bunnell sounded like they hadn’t aged a day since 1972. Just take a listen to “Chasing the Rainbow.”

Back Pages – “Woodstock”

This is an album that is fully devoted to cover songs. It is a fascinating listen. A legendary band covering legendary songs. Their version of “Woodstock” just gave me the chills the first time I heard it.

Lost & Found (2015)

The title says it all on the most recent America album. This is a collection of unreleased songs from the 2000s. The choice here is the album’s opening track, “Driving.” I love the 60’s opening drumbeat.

America’s Best Songs From Each Of Their Studio Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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