America – A Horse With No Name (1971)

chord005

“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. Due to the song’s resemblance to the work of Neil Young from the same time period, it is occasionally mistaken for being written and sung by Young. Despite the song being banned by some U.S. radio stations (including one in Kansas City, Missouri) because of supposed drug references to heroin use, the song ascended to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the album quickly reached platinum status. The song charted earlier in the Netherlands (reaching number 11) and the UK (reaching number 3) than it did in the United States. The interpretation of the song as a drug reference comes from the fact that the word “horse” is a common slang term for heroin. The song’s resemblance to some of Neil Young’s work aroused some controversy. “I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil”, Bunnell says. “I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him. I think it’s in the structure of the song as much as in the tone of his voice. It did hurt a little, because we got some pretty bad backlash. I’ve always attributed it more to people protecting their own heroes more than attacking me.” By coincidence, it was “A Horse with No Name” that replaced Young’s “Heart of Gold” at the #1 spot on the U.S. pop chart.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s