Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

Tag: America

Whoa-oh-oh, listen to the music: The best concerts of 2019

Generally, there’s no such thing as a bad concert, and 2019 was no exception. While my criteria for what’s constitutes a good concert experience changes a bit from show to show — the location of my seat, the ticket price, whether I got to go to the meet-and-greet, the quality of the photos I get — I can usually find a lot of things I like about a show. 

I couldn’t limit the list to the Top 10 shows of 2019, so I made it Top 11 this year. Really, all the concerts were very good, it’s just that these were just a little bit better.

11. Steely Dan — The Met/Philly (Nov. 9) — There was a lot right and a few things wrong for me at this show. First and foremost, the music was brilliant, Donald Fagen can still deliver the goods, and his band is nothing short … Read more

When you get caught between America and Christopher Cross, the best that you can do is fall in love with the music

There’s a lot to like about Christopher Cross, not the least of which is that I once used one of his songs to impress my then 10-year-old daughter.

My daughters grew up on my music – the Beach Boys, Hall & Oates, America, the Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night. But like all of us, they eventually developed their own musical tastes and starting following the bands of their era.

In 1997, the boy band NSYNC invaded our family’s musical sensibilities. The 10-year-old girl in our house had a Beatles-like fanaticism for the boys – Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass. And like our parents did for us and our music, we bought her the debut self-titled NSYNC album on cassette tape.

You remember cassettes, right? They were the preferred technology of listening to music for a time between 8-track tapes and CDs. And our car … Read more

The story behind ‘A Horse With No Name,” straight from the horse’s mouth

There’s a sign that makes the rounds on Facebook that frequently gets posted to my timeline. It reads: “All I’m saying is, at any point during that ride through the desert, he could have given that horse a name.”

The reference is, of course, to the song “A Horse With No Name” by the band America. My friends know I am a longtime fan of the band, so that’s why this sign is frequently posted on my Facebook page.

It turns out, though, that I have a little insight on this, thanks to the guy who wrote it.

The song was written by Dewey Bunnell, who along with Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek, founded the band America in 1970. Its self-titled debut album, released in 1971, didn’t initially contain the song. But after “A Horse With No Name,” which featured Bunnell on lead vocals as well, became a hit and … Read more

The Beach Boys and America: As close to a perfect evening as possible

While waiting for the Beach Boys/America concert to start in the ballroom of the Borgata in Atlantic City Saturday evening, April 18, a little old lady came in and sat down beside me.

I don’t think she was from Pasadena. Atlantic City is, after all, a long way from California. (Beach Boys fans will get that joke.)

She was quiet throughout the hourlong set by America – Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley – who sound as good today as they did 40 years ago when they were making their fifth studio album, “Hearts,” which will be featured in “The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II: Dropping the Needle.”

America has always been one of my favorite bands, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to see them live. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how good these guys are and how much I love their songs. So it’s no … Read more

Search for elusive vinyl ends with a deflating ‘Conrad’ moment

One of the enjoyable aspects of starting a vinyl collection well into adulthood is the thrill of the hunt. That is, as long as some jamoke named Conrad doesn’t mess up the experience.

I like to go to the various used records stores in my part of the world – suburban Philadelphia – and spend some time rummaging through the endless discount bins for certain albums. Usually, I’m looking for an album that I’m writing about, either one that appeared in The Vinyl Dialogues or one that’s going to be featured in The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II.

It’s a relaxing way to kill and hour or two on the weekend, if one has the patience – as well as a good back and legs – to stand there and sift through album after album looking for that buried treasure.

On my most recent excursion, I was searching for the 1973 … Read more

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