Gerry Beckley - lead vocals, guitar,; Dewey Bunnell - lead vocals, guitar;; In 1998 America returned to the recording studio to cut its first new LP of original material in four years. The result was an album called Human Nature, a one-off release on the now defunct Oxygen Records.
To help promote this release Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell packed their suitcases and their guitar cases, and took off across select markets for a series of intimate in-store and promotional radio appearances.
This show is taken from a special afternoon in-store appearance by Bunnell and Beckley without their usual five piece band. The result is a wonderful unplugged America mini-set, that features a couple of tunes from the Human Nature record and a handful of the group's biggest hits.
Based on the level of applause, it is clear that they were performing in a very intimate setting—there couldn't have been more than 100 people there. Among the highlights: "Ventura Highway," "I Need You," "Sister Golden Hair," and their original smash hit, "Horse With No Name."
This is raw America as they have rarely been heard, and the sound is exceptional. These were the guys that spearheaded the "unplugged" movement back in the 70s as a trio.
America's three founding members (Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek) first came together during the mid-1960s as teenagers attending Central High School in London, where their fathers, U.S. Air Force personnel, were stationed. They worked together in cover bands before forming the original trio in 1969. When a tape of theirs made it to Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles in 1971, the group was immediately signed.
Indeed, America caught the music industry completely off-guard; both their first single and their debut album skyrocketed to the coveted number-one position on the charts. To this day, America remains the first band ever to begin their career with both a number-one single and album.
The early 1970s brought an astonishing run of platinum singles, albums, and sold-out tours as popular demand for the group skyrocketed. In 1974 the group teamed up with famed British producer George Martin. The collaboration lasted for six albums, and marked the only time Martin worked on a long-term basis with a specific act since his tenure with The Beatles.
By 1977, the band was beginning to run out of steam. Their popularity had begun to wane, and tension was forming within the group. Dan Peek had gone from living a lifestyle of excess to that of a born-again Christian, and it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain equal footing within the group. Peek departed, and Beckley and Bunnell were forced to carry on as a duo.
Beckley and Bunnell switched management, reorganized the band, and, in 1979, moved from Warner Bros. to Capitol Records. At Capitol they continued to churn out radio hits like "You Can Do Magic," and "The Border."
In 1985 their Capitol deal expired, and Beckley and Bunnell turned their attention exclusively to touring. They finally recorded new material for Rhino Records in the early 1990s to coincide with an anthology release entitled Encore. America continues to tour and record today. Their most recent LP, Here and Now, was released in 2007.