Top 10 America Albums

America Albums

Photo: User:Reverend Mick man34, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our America albums ranked list looks at the studio albums of one of the most loved bands in classic rock history. America arrived on the scene in 1971 with there debut album entitled America. The band’s first big hit entitled “A Horse With No Name,” put them on the map instantly and made them a household name around the world. The trio consisting of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peak would celebrate a great six year run together releasing a steady stream of hit albums and singles. In 1977, Dan Peek left the band after the release of the Harbor album to pursue a career in Christian music. Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell continued on as America touring together and releasing eleven more studio albums with their latest being released in 2015 entitled Lost & Found. Here are ten of our favorite America albums.

# 10 – Here And Now

We open up our Top 10 America albums with one of the group’s most recent albums. America had not released a new studio albums since the late 1990s entitled Human Nature which did not make this list. Here and Now is a much stronger album. In fact, its the best album the band has released since the early 1980s. This is a stunning record that delivers beautiful songs in those rich America harmonies. Standout tracks include “Chasing The Rainbow, Always Love and Ride On.”

# 9 – Silent Letter

Continuing with our Top 10 America albums we turn to the album Silent Letter. The album was released in 1979. America fans were not sure what to expect from this album because it was the first America album released after Dan Peek had left the band. America were now a duo as opposed to their long running trio status. Silent Letter was also the last album produced by famed Beatles producer George Martin. Still, with all those finalities, this was a really good album that showed promise that America would continue on.

# 8 – Harbor

Well, speaking of the departure of Dan Peeks. The album Harbor is the last record to feature original America member Dan Peeks. That was sad news because there was something special about the Harbor album despite it’s lack of any big time singles. This was a record filled with songs of hope that just made you feel good. The Harbor album was released in he winter of 1977

# 8 – View From The Ground

America’s View From The Ground was the third album to be released after the departure of Dan Peek. It had been five years since Dan Peek had left the band.  In the early 1980s a new wave of very modern sounding bands were the big rave, bands like A Flock Of Seagulls, Men At Work, and Duran Duran had caused a shift of music in the new MTV era. America was such a old school 70s sounding band. Yet View From The Ground sounded fresh. Sales were fueled by a major comeback single that was a big hit entitled “You Can Do Magic.”

# 6 – Hat Trick

In 1973, America released their third album entitled Hat Trick. While not as successful as their first two albums, the record still produced the big hit single “Muskrat Love.” The album featured Gerry  Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peak. The album also featured Joe Walsh on guitar on the song Green Monkey  and the Beach Boys Carl Wilson singing back up on the title track. There may have been only one hit single from the album, but overall this was a really good America album.

# 5 – Hideaway

Hideaway is easily one of our favorite America albums. There was just something special about this one. Beatles producer George Martin worked his magic on this album. Hideaway delivered the fantastic singles “Today’s The Day,” and “Amber Cascades.”  The song “Today’s The Day,”  became a number one hit on Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. Yet, just about every song on this album was filled with stunningly beautiful melodies and rich wonderous harmonies. This is probably the most underrated America album of their career. The album was released in 1976.

# 4 – Homecoming

In 1972 America released their second album entitled Homecoming. This was an amazing record that despite only one hit single remains an album that should be in every classic rock fan’s collection. That one hit single entitled “Ventura Highway,” was a stunning song for the ages. It became a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. It’s one of those songs that you just want to pop in the care 8 track player…oops I mean USB stick and roll down the window. In fact, that goes for the rest of this fabulous album. Other standout songs included “To Each His Own, Don’t Cross The Rivers, Only In Your Heart and California Revisited.”

# 3 – Hearts

The Hearts album featured our favorite America song of all time in the single “Sister Golden Hair.” So maybe we are a little biased towards this album. However, we think a lot of other people felt the same as the proof is on the charts. “Sister Golden Hair,'” went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. The follow up single “Daisey Jane,” also became a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a dear fan favorite. Hearts was America’s fifth album released and one of their top 3 albums of all time at least in our opinion. The album itself also did extremely well on the Billboard Album charts where it peaked at number four in a year where there was so much competition from all the great classic rock stars of the 1970s.

# 2 – Holiday

1974 was a magical year in music. So many classic records and hit singles were released. America did their patr in contributing to that classic year with their very special Holiday album. The album contained two of the band’s biggest songs in the hit singles “Tin Man and Lonely People.” Both songs were top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. “Tin Man,” is one of Dewey Burnell’s greatest songs with the memorable lyric ” No Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man, that he didn’t, didn’t already have” A lyric one never forgets.

# 1 – America

At number one on our Top 10 America Albums list is the grand album simply entitled America. This was the band’s debut album that was released in 1971. The album contained multiple hit singles including “I Need You,” and the band’s signature song “A Horse With No Name,” which was originally released as a single that was not on the original pressing but was quickly added to the album. The America album became the band’s first and only album to hit number one on the Billboard Album Charts. The record is largely responsible for inspiring the soft rock movement of the early 1970s along with artists such as James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Jim Croce.

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However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. 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I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. 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