Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Animal Kingdom: A Horse With No Name

Aemrica: A Horse With No Name


Back in the early 70s,  America was three kids whose fathers were US military stationed overseas: Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek.  They came together in the London area towards the end of their high school years.  Their 70s hits also included Ventura Highway and Sister Golden Hair. Today Bunnell and Beckley still tour (Dan Peek passed away last year).

Story has it that Dewey wrote A Horse With No Name with thoughts of the desert around Vandenberg AFB, one of the temporary places his family lived and one he would surely have missed in drizzly gray London. The song was first named Desert Song and was apparently additionally inspired by images of horses from Salvador Dali and MC Escher works.

The three-part harmony vocals and the acoustic guitars call to mind CSNY, and in fact Dewey admits the influence; you could be forgiven for thinking it was Neil Young singing. Personally, I have always thought that the song manages to convey a horsey rhythm of sorts and that the lyrics paint images of the desolation of the eastern California desert.

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