A Horse With No Name Might Have A Name

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A Horse with No Name” is a song written by Dewey Bunnell, and originally recorded by the band America. It was the band’s first and most successful single, released in late 1971 in Europe and early 1972 in the US, and topping the charts in several countries. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Here are some facts about this famous song:

  • America was formed in England by sons of US servicemen who were stationed there.
  • Lead singer Dewey Bunnell wrote this when he was 19. Although the song is commonly misinterpreted about being on drugs, it is not: Bunnell based the images in the lyrics on things he saw while visiting the US.
  • This was originally titled “Desert Song,” since Bunnell wrote it based on the desert scenery he encountered when his dad was stationed at an Air Force base in Santa Barbara County, California.
  • According to Dewey Bunnell, the “horse” represents a means of entering a place of tranquility, and this tranquil place was best represented by the desert, which sounded pretty good to him while he was stuck in rainy England.
  • As for why the horse had no name and why it went free after nine days, Bunnell doesn’t have any answers – it seems the various listener interpretations are far more colorful than any meaning he assigned to it.

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“A Horse With No Name”

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

Sister Golden Hair” is a song written by Gerry Beckley and recorded by the band America for their fifth album Hearts (1975). It was their second single to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, remaining in the top position for just one week.

The lyrics were largely inspired by the works of Jackson Browne. Beckley commented, “[Jackson Browne] has a knack, an ability to put words to music, that is much more like the L.A. approach to just genuine observation as opposed to simplifying it down to its bare essentials… I find Jackson can depress me a little bit, but only through his honesty; and it was that style of his which led to a song of mine, ‘Sister Golden Hair’, which is probably the more L.A. of my lyrics… [It] was one of the first times I used ‘ain’t’ in a song, but I wasn’t making an effort to. I was just putting myself in that frame of mind and I got those kind of lyrics out of it.”

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Although the song is a message from a man to his lover, explaining that he still loves her despite being not ready for marriage, the title was initially inspired by the mothers of all three members of the group, all of whom were blondes.

 

“Sister Golden Hair”

Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed
I ain’t ready for the altar but I do agree there’s times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mineWell, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you; can’t you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mindWill you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make itWell, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you; can’t you see it in my eyes?
Now I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mindWill you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don’t mind sayin’, I just can’t make it
READ MORE FACTS ABOUT: “VENTURA HIGHWAY

“Ventura Highway”

Chewing on a piece of grass
Walking down the road
Tell me, how long you gonna stay here, Joe?
Some people say this town don’t look good in snow
You don’t care, I knowVentura Highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
You’re gonna go I know’Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air, in the airDid di di di dit …Wishin’ on a falling star
Waitin’ for the early train
Sorry boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain
Aw, come on, Joe, you can always
Change your name
Thanks a lot, son, just the sameVentura Highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
You’re gonna go I know’Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air, in the airDid di di di dit …

“Tin Man” The song’s title and some of its lyrics refer to the Tin Woodman from The Wizard of Oz. Songwriter Bunnell was quoted describing the parallel: “My favorite movie, I guess. I always loved it as a kid. Very obscure lyrics. Great grammar – ‘Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man.’ It’s sort of a poetic license.”

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“Tin Man”

Sometimes late when things are real
And people share the gift of gab between themselves
Some are quick to take the bait
And catch the perfect prize that waits among the shelvesBut Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad.So please believe in me
When I say I’m spinning round, round, round, round
Smoke glass stain bright color
Image going down, down, down, down
Soapsuds green like bubblesOh, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir GalahadSo please believe in me
When I say I’m spinning round, round, round, round
Smoke glass stain bright color
Image going down, down, down, down
Soapsuds green like bubblesNo, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have
And Cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir GalahadSo please believe in me

Lonely People” was the second single release from America’s 1974 album Holiday. “Lonely People” reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, Dan Peek’s only credited song to reach that chart’s top 10, and was America’s second number one on the Easy Listening chart, where it stayed for one week in February 1975.

MORE FACTS ABOUT: “LONELY PEOPLE


“Lonely People”

This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And ride that highway in the skyThis is for all the single people
Thinking that love has left them dry
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
You never know until you tryWell, I’m on my way
Yes, I’m back to stay
Well, I’m on my way back home (Hit it)This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And never take you down or never give you up
You never know until you try

(Sources: SongFacts & Wikipedia)

What was your favorite “America” song? They had some greats! Share your stories in the comment section below!

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