AMERICA was just three teenage school friends when they wrote the songs that would define a generation.
The band, responsible for classics A Horse With No Name, I Need You and Sister Golden Hair, was brought together by the US military.
A quirk of fate put the American trio – Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek – together at the same London school in the mid-1960s and led to their bold choice of band name.
“We were all American kids; our dads were in the air force and we just thought it was a way to tell a bit of a story about the group,” Beckley said.
“I met Dan and Dewey when we all ended up in England, just outside of London.
“We did play together in high school, but it was a cover band and that pretty quickly morphed into what became America.”
Soaking in the musical melting pot that was 1960s London, the trio absorbed all sorts of influences.
America thrust Beckley, Bunnell and Peek – who died in 2011 – into super-stardom at a tender age.
“We were in school, ’67, ’68, ’69 in London,” Beckley said.
“We used to go the Marquee Club and watch King Crimson play every night and within a year we had our own band.
“We opened for Pink Floyd, The Who – just incredible, when you consider we were 17 years old doing that.”
America still performs about 100 shows a year and is heading to Perth in July.
Beckley said he was proud of his legacy with the band.
“I was 16 when I wrote I Need You and Dewey was 17 when he wrote Horse,” he said.
“It’s just a coming together of all kinds of things.
“I have as much pleasure now looking back as I do forward.”THE ESSENTIALS
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: Monday July 24 at 8pm