America founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell marked the band's 50th year on a CBS Sunday Morning segment.
They touched on topics ranging from meeting as American teenagers growing up in London to their hobbies -- Beckley is an avid photographer, while Bunnell loves fishing at his lakeside Wisconsin cabin. They also discussed the departure of their original third member Dan Peek.
Gerry Beckley talked about branding the band America:"It was a way to kind of define who were in the U.K.: 'Oh, that's those American kids, I guess. They're called America.' Bit it was a bit confusing, 'cause when we came over to the states to unveil the first album, a lot of the ads said, 'Direct from England, America'."
And they discussed "Ventura Highway" while driving down the actual highway in a convertible with its top down.
Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell consider "Ventura Highway" to be America's signature song:
Gerry: "Both of us have said of all of the hits, that might be our favorite because it's really such a signature America sound...
Dewey: "I think it sustained its youthful optimism, stuff... And again, that guitar lick, as soon as you hear it." [music trail].
America have been a duo for more years than they were a trio. Dan Peek quit in 1977.
Gerry Beckley talked about Dan Peek leaving America but the band continuing to thrive: "It was a difficult decision, but it turned out to be the right thing for all of us. Dan went on to redefine his life. He became a born-again Christian and started recording Christian music, which we supported and sang on sometimes. And within a few years, we had started having hits as a duo, 'You Can Do Magic.' And you know, chapter two."
Along with tour dates in Europe and the U.S., there are two new America box sets:
- Classic Album Collection - The Capitol Years is a six-CD box set and digital collection with the band's music first released between 1979 and '85 on Capitol.
- 50th Anniversary: The Collection comes out this Friday in multi-disc CD and vinyl editions, and in a single-CD or digital compilation with the seven albums that America recorded during the '70s for Warner Brothers -- plus their '80s comeback hit "You Can Do Magic."
To close the segment, Bunnell even introduced us to the real "Horse With No Name," which lives on his Wisconsin property. You have to take the space out between the last two words and pronounce it "No-nah-mee."