Get ready for another ride down Ventura Highway. On July 17, Rhino will release the new 8-CD box set America: The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1977 collecting all of the studio and live albums released by the band for the Warner Bros. label: America (1971), Homecoming (1972), Hat Trick (1973), Holiday (1974), Hearts (1975), Hideaway (1976), Harbor (1977), and America Live (1977). Happily, we can report that every one of these albums will be presented in newly-remastered sound prepared in 2014!
The trio consisting of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek, three sons of U.S. Air Force officers stationed in the U.K., scored a big impression with 1972’s self-titled debut which spent five weeks atop the U.S. album chart. (The album was actually a reissue itself; the 1971 edition was withdrawn when “A Horse with No Name” became a hit. When it was added to the LP, both album and band took off!) America was most clearly influenced by the rich harmonies and acoustic guitar sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, with some listeners even mistaking “Horse with No Name” for a Young song (to Neil’s chagrin?). Besides Bunnell’s cryptic equine paean, he offered the haunting “Sandman” while Beckley showed off his timeless melodic sensibility with “I Need You.” The band’s finest and most cohesive album, sophomore effort Homecoming, further established the group as a force with which to be reckoned. Bunnell’s evocative “Ventura Highway” was another smash single while Peek’s “Don’t Cross the River” and Beckley’s “To Each His Own” were equally mesmerizing.
After the modestly successful third album Hat Trick, a multi-album collaboration with the legendary producer George Martin ensued, and he expanded the band’s sound with his trademark orchestration. The Martin/America teaming yielded further folk-pop smashes like “Sister Golden Hair,” “Lonely People,” “Tin Man” and “Daisy Jane.” Peek made a surprise exit from America after 1977’s Harbor, and the band moved from Warner Bros. to Capitol. The next major hit didn’t come until 1982 when Russ Ballard of Argent supplied them with “You Can Do Magic.” Bunnell and Beckley soldier on as America to this day; in 2007, they teamed with Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne for Here & Now, arguably their best album in decades. Fans of America got a treat earlier this year when the duo released Lost and Found on the band’s own America Records label. This compilation features 10 previously unissued tracks recorded by Beckley and Bunnell between 2000 and 2011; it’s available at America’s concerts as well as at Amazon.com and Amazon U.K.!
The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1977 is housed in a clamshell case similar to Rhino’s other complete box set releases, with each disc in an individual sleeve replicating the original album artwork. No additional booklet is included with the set. This set of new remasters from America is due on July 17, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
America, The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1977 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
- America (1971)
- Homecoming (1972)
- Hat Trick (1973)
- Holiday (1974)
- Hearts (1975)
- Hideaway (1976)
- Harbor (1977)
- America Live (1977)
All track listings reflect original album sequences.