No. 78: America, ‘A Horse With No Name’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs
In the same year that America’s self-titled debut effort was released in 1972, Neil Young had also released his landmark ‘Harvest’ album. This song would be America’s most popular single, helping their debut effort achieve platinum sales status in the United States.
Funny enough though, ‘A Horse With No Name’ was not originally included on the band’s debut record when it was initially released. Given a lukewarm response by audiences in England, the band’s label asked the group to head back into the studio and demo four additional songs. One of those additional songs was called ‘Desert Song,’ a track that was eventually re-christened as ‘A Horse With No Name.’
And while the vocals on this track from America’s Dewey Bunnell bear a striking resemblance to Neil Young, America’s sound owed more to the vocal harmonies often heard in Young’s occasional band mates in Crosby, Stills & Nash. That being said, Bunnell was never shy about admitting the influence that Young had upon his music.
With a generous helping of exquisite vocal harmonies, ‘A Horse With No Name’ would climb to the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, ironically overtaking Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ for that spot.
Although America would go on to score a respectable amount of hits after this hit, they will be forever associated as the band who observed “plants and birds and rocks and things” on their trip through the desert.
Watch America Perform ‘A Horse With No Name’