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America

Biography

With hits like "Ventura Highway" and "A Horse With No Name," America took the California sound to new plateaus in the 1970s and '80s. Even with the innovative and pristine production of Elliott Shiner (who also produced Randy Newman) and Phil Galdston (Jill Sobule, Vanessa Williams), the folk-rock band still made the kind of free and easy music that rocked dads' leather-craft night classes and your moms' latch-hook rug-making parties. Their albums' popularity trickled off as the '80s progressed, possibly owing to the band's shift from a rootsier, Neil Young-influenced sound to more polished soft rock (complete with synthesizers), but the tours, live albums and greatest-hits collections continued to flow. In 2007, with younger, hipper listeners finding a new appreciation for lite-FM sounds of the '70s and '80s, the band reasserted its relevance with Here & Now, a double album produced by Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha and Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, featuring appearances by Bryan Adams and Ben Kweller, along with covers of songs by Nada Surf and My Morning Jacket.

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