Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who (Or What) Are We Blaming It On Today? (Part 2 of our New Series)

Here's a rarely heard Jacksons hit (#54 in 1978 ... right before Michael-mania kicked into high gear!) ...

And here's your PERFECT excuse for giving your number to that guy on the dance floor last night.  
(Although the wine may have had a little something to do with it, too!)


Dan Peek, original founding member of America, passed away this weekend.  Details were still sketchy at press time but the original reports we received early yesterday have now been confirmed.  Ironically, America's brand new CD, "Back Pages", comes out today.  (We reviewed it a couple of weeks ago in Forgotten Hits:  Click here: Forgotten Hits: AMERICA: Back Pages

Just in case the FH Grip Reaper hasn't informed you, it sounds like Dan Peek died on Sunday, July 24th.  As of right now, details are sketchy ... but there should be more to follow.
David Lewis

I heard "unconfirmed" reports from a few folks on the list ... and then saw this on Ron Smith's oldiesmusic.com website:

Details are sketchy, but his web site says that Dan Peek, guitarist and singer with the group America from its inception through 1977, died Sunday (July 24) at the age of 60. Dan (who was born in Panama City, Florida), along with Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, were sons of U.S. airmen stationed in Britain. Forming a trio, they came to the attention of Warner Brothers Records. Their first album was released in 1971 to little success until the single “A Horse With No Name” went to #1 (#3 in the UK) the following year and was promptly added to the LP. That led to a string of top 40 hits including “Ventura Highway” (#8 - 1972), “I Need You” (#9 - 1972), “Don’t Cross The River” (#35 - 1973), “Tin Man” (#4 - 1974) “Lonely People” (#5 - 1974) and “Sister Golden Hair,” which returned them to #1 in 1975. Those last four singles came from albums produced by the legendary George Martin. Dan left the group in 1977 to pursue a Christian singing career. His first album, “All Things Are Possible” (with the others contributing backup vocals) was a pioneering hit in that genre, reaching #1 there but also crossing over to the pop charts. Dewey and Gerry, meanwhile moved on to Capitol Records as a duo and had two more top 40 hits. Dan later recorded with Ken Marvin and Brian Gentry as the group Peace. America was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006. Dan wrote an autobiography entitled, “An American Band” in 2004.
-- Ron Smith

Dan's website simply says:  Dan went to Heaven on July 24, 2011 ... and that's it!  (kk)

Meanwhile, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell posted the following on the official America website (venturahighway.com)
Dan Peek  (November 1, 1950 - July 24, 2011)
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dan Peek yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Peek family.
"I am so sorry to learn of Dan’s passing. Dan, along with Gerry and myself, formed the band “America” as teenagers after being great friends in high school during the late 60’s. It was a joyous time for the three of us, full of excitement and laughter. We created lasting music together and experienced a life that we could never have imagined. Dan was an equal and integral part of that early history, and I have never forgotten the good times we spent making that music and learning about life together. Although we eventually went our separate ways, his contributions to the music of “America” have always been present and will last forever. This news brings great sadness. My sincere condolences go out to his wife, Catherine, and the entire Peek family. May Dan rest in peace, and his memory be cherished forever." - Dewey Bunnell

"I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Dan's passing. He was a dear friend for many years. Dan and his music will live on in the great songs he shared with us all. My sincere condolences go out to Catherine and the entire Peek family. May he rest in peace ... "
- Gerry Beckley

Within the span of just six days, Chicago will be visited by Micky Dolenz, Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney this week.  (It all kicks off tonight with Micky Dolenz in Elk Grove Village, hot on the heels of The Monkees' big 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour.  Brian Wilson will give an intimate performance of The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Saturday ... and then Sunday and Monday, Paul McCartney will be rockin' Wrigley Field!)  When it comes to '60's artists, they didn't come much bigger than The Monkees, The Beach Boys and The Beatles ... so to have all THREE of these groups represented in our city this week is QUITE an honor and a treat! 
And there's some real musical symmetry going on here, too!  Of course The Beatles and The Beach Boys constantly pushed one another to greater musical heights in the '60's.   McCartney has said on numerous occasions that "Pet Sounds" was the inspiration for "Sgt. Pepper" ... and that "God Only Knows" is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.  Likewise, earlier Beatles releases like "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" convinced Brian Wilson that the record album could be elevated to a true art form.  The Monkees outsold The Beatles in 1967 ... and then were their invited guests when they visited London that year. 

The Pre-Fab Four even sat in on a couple of "Sgt. Pepper" recording sessions during that visit!  And Jeffrey Foskett, Brian Wilson's long-time musical director, recently produced Micky Dolenz's new "King For A Day" CD, Micky's tribute to Carole King!  Seems like we should have held an official "reunion" of our own!!! (kk)