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America Still Needs You

America Still Needs You

Who: America, The Beach Boys, Richard Clapton
Where: Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Author: Anthony Scully
When: Friday December 18, 1998

MIDDLE-of-the-road United States duo AMERICA may not have changed their musical formula much in the past 30 years but DEWEY BUNNELL and GERRY BECKLEY can't be accused of not moving with the times.

America, playing next Friday, December 18, at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre with THE BEACH BOYS and RICHARD CLAPTON, can now be found on the Internet at www.horsewithnoname.com

The pair's fall into fame as high school graduates in 1971 was due as much to talent as it was to chance. Their longevity has had much do with talent and unswerving loyalty to their fans.

The CROSBY, STILLS & NASH soundalikes have remained faithful to the mild, soft rock formula over the years, which has resulted in a solid base of fans who return to live shows.

Guitarist Bunnell describes the way the group was thrust into the spotlight when, as teenagers, the duo found themselves with a US number one and UK number three hit with HORSE WITH NO NAME. 'It was definitely a strange experience to become involved with the whole star-making machinery of pop music at such an early age,' Bunnell says.

'All of a sudden we had business management, publicists, booking agents, groups of people with whom we didn't know how to deal.'

Bunnell, Beckley and guitarist DAN PEEK met each other at a US air force base in the UK where they were stationed with their parents. Peek remained with America until 1977.

The follow-up singles, I NEED YOU, TIN MAN and VENTURA HIGHWAY, went US Top 10.

America has produced 11 top 40 hits in its career, working with 'fifth BEATLE' GEORGE MARTIN in 1975 on SISTER GOLDEN HAIR and six subsequent albums.

Bunnell still describes the experience as 'one of the highlights of our career as well as a special time for George, having a second success'.

In the 1980s America brought in songwriters, including ex-ARGENT writer RUSS BALLARD, who penned YOU CAN DO MAGIC which was a US number 8 hit for the group in 1982.

Over the past 25 years America has performed an average of 130 gigs a year, producing a total of 17 albums including a GREATEST HITS title which sells 100,000 copies annually.

America has just released an album HUMAN NATURE on US label OXYGEN which, although not available in shops here, can be ordered on the Web.

Musicians who played on the album include TIMOTHY B SCHMIT (THE EAGLES), ROBERT LAMM and JASON SCHEFF (CHICAGO) and PHIL JONES (TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS). Bunnell says the band continues to appeal to new audiences as well as diehard fans.

'We are pleased to see a lot more young people interested in the music,' he said.

'The kids are often more excited after the show than they were before it and going out and playing these songs revitalises us.'

'It was wonderful to feel we were part of the generation that was changing the world. It inspired me. In fact, it really still does.' TE

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