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You Can Do Magic by America

Album: View from the GroundReleased: 1982Charted:
  • This song is about a skeptic who doesn't believe in love until he meets a girl who shows him it's real.

    The song was written by Russ Ballard, whose other compositions include "I Know There's Something Going On" by Frida and "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley.
  • America had three members - Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek - until 1977 when Peek left to pursue a career in Christian music. Beckley and Bunnell continued as a duo, but struggled to find a hit - their only Hot 100 entry from 1977-1981 was a cover of "California Dreamin'" that made #56.

    Until Peek's departure, the band always wrote their own songs, composing separately with the writer also taking lead vocals. When they found themselves hitless, Beckley and Bunnell started accepting songs from outside writers, including Russ Ballard, who wrote a track on their 1980 album Alibi called "I Don't Believe in Miracles." For their next album, View from the Ground, Ballard gave them "You Can Do Magic," and with a lead vocal by Gerry Beckley, it returned America to the charts.

    "It fit right into our body of work," Beckley told us. "It was a huge hit and a turning point for us, because it was a hit for Dewey and I, after Danny departed. It was our first hit as a duo."
  • A key component in this song is the "do do do do do do" vocal break, which Russ Ballard put into the song specifically to suit America, whose two vocalists could create a nice harmony. This part was a nod to the Crosby, Stills & Nash song "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which contains a similar section.
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