Every member of the band graduated from the same high school in 1969: London Central High School in England. Their fathers were US servicemen who were stationed there.
Dewey Bunnell is the only British member. Gerry Beckley
was born in Fort Worth, Texas and Dan Peek was born in Panama City, Florida.
America got their name from a Wurlitzer "Americana" juke box. In an interview with Dewey, he said that one of the reasons for picking the name "America" was that a new successful band called Chicago did well, and he said, "I thought we'd go for the country." (thanks, Dave - Phoenix, AZ)
The group is unusual in that the roles of the three members were highly interchangeable, as they could all play an array of instruments. Most of their songs were written by either Bunnell or Beckley, and whoever wrote the song would typically sing it.
Gerry was in a band called Daze (or Daze of London), which once competed in a battle of the bands with Genesis, a band with Dan. Using a PA system, Genesis won, but shortly thereafter Dan left to join Daze, which later evolved into America. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above)
Peek left the group in 1977 after becoming a born-again Christian. He went on to make religious records, while Beckley and Bunnell continued as a duo.
America did the soundtrack to Rankin Bass's classic animated film The Last Unicorn. (thanks, Ashleigh - Jacksonville, FL)
One of their first performances was in England at the Rainbow Theatre (the old Finsbury Park Astoria) in London, a long time before they released "A Horse With No Name." They were supporting the band Family. They sat simply on three stools in front of the curtain, with no accompaniment and when they finished the audience didn't want them to stop. (thanks, patti - Tewkesbury, England)
America is known for their soft rock sound. This genre gained popularity after the breakup of The Beatles. The music is usually highly orchestrated and heavy on ballads. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Peter Clifton, who directed the Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same, also directed Live In Central Park, which was the first and only America concert film, taken from the last show on their world tour. The film has been released on DVD with the sound enhanced. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
They got their first big break from Jeff Dexter, a concert promoter who owned the Roundhouse, a popular nightclub. He was so impressed by them that they became the opening act for some of the most successful artists ever (including Elton John and the Who).
Their second album was called Homecoming, and their next five albums all started with the letter H. The next one was a wink to breaking this tradition - it was called Silent Letter.
The acclaimed songwriter Jimmy Webb
is the godfather to Beckley's first son.