Gerry Beckley - lead vocals, guitar, piano; Dewey Bunnell - lead vocals, guitar; Michael Woods - guitar; Willie Leacox - drums; Brad Palmer - bass
Part of a multiple-night stand recorded in Los Angeles over the 1978 July 4th holiday weekend, these tracks come from the first US tour America undertook as a duo. After nearly seven years of chart-topping success, founding member Dan Peek departed to pursue life as a born again Christian. Rather than replace Peek, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley opted to work as a two-man group, and these recordings are the result of their initial shows.
This recording features a strong mix of material that was new at the time, as well as an assortment of the band's greatest hits. Among them are "Riverside," "I Need You," "Daisy Jane," "Sandman," and "Tin Man." There is more than enough to experience the magic of America during this period throughout this hour and a half-plus set. They end the show with their most well known song, "A Horse With No Name."
America's three founding members came together during the mid-1960s as teenagers attending Central High School in London, where their fathers, US 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, America 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.