Song of the Day ~ A Horse With No Name ~ America

A Horse With No Name was from the very first self entitled Album by America

Released in Nov. 1971

Written by Dewey Bunnell

Gerry Beckley: Lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, harmonica
Dewey Bunnell: Lead and backing vocals, guitars, percussion
Dan Peek: Lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, harmonica

~

The three guiding members of America, despite their name, met in strangely similar, decidedly multinational circumstances. All three were Air Force “brats,” having grown up in the States but transferred to the US base in London — all children of American military personnel with British wives! — and attending Central High, an American-style high school set up specifically for such children.

Bunnell suggests that ” A Horse With No name ”  meaning has evolved over time: “I was messing around with some open tunings–I tuned the A string way down to an E, and I found this little chord, and I just moved my two fingers back and forth, and the entire song came from basically three chords. I wanted to capture the imagery of the desert, because I was sitting in this room in England, and it was rainy. The rain was starting to get to us, and I wanted to capture the desert and the heat and the dryness.”

The imagery came from Dewey’s childhood: “I had spent a good deal of time poking around in the high desert with my brother when we lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base [in California]. And we’d drive through Arizona and New Mexico. I loved the cactus and the heat. I was trying to capture the sights and sounds of the desert, and there was an environmental message at the end. But it’s grown to mean more for me. I see now that this anonymous horse was a vehicle to get me away from all the confusion and chaos of life to a peaceful, quiet place.”

The song was originally named ” Desert Song “

The album produced another favorite of mine, “Sandman “.

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

After nine days I let the horse run free
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

~

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Filed under 1960s Psychedelia, Entertainment, Folk Music, MUSIC, Music History, Rock-n-Roll, Song of the Day

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