Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: America

For whatever reason, bands with geographic names have had a hard time with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:  Chicago [1] was slow to be inducted, and noted bands like Kansas [2], Boston, and America have yet to be inducted at all despite a high degree of success in the 1970’s (and beyond).  America is a striking example of a band that had a large degree of consistent success for about a decade, music that has been sampled and appreciated for generations, yet without the sort of obvious acceptance into the RRHOF that one would expect for such a group.  It is easy to recognize a few of their songs, yet it does not take a great deal of investigation to realize that this group had so much more to offer than is often remembered.  The group had seven songs that ended up in the Billboard YE charts between 1972 and 1982, and has continued to release studio and live and compilations to the present-day.  This is a group that could benefit from a retrospective video that put their career in a larger context and showed their massive influence on other groups, including, it should be noted, the music of Janet Jackson, who sampled their top ten hit “Ventura Highway” on her hit song “Someone To Call My Lover.”

The Influence Of America

As I just mentioned, America has had influence on others in a way that is impossible to deny, in that other artists have recorded their music and thus showed the influence of the group as a source of music for others to cover or sample.  Janet Jackson, a shrewd student of 70’s music, sampled “Ventura Highway” around the same time in her career that she sampled “You’re So Vain” for another one of her hits.  This is demonstrative of Janet’s sound ability to accept the influence of others while creating excellent music out of those samples.  Not all samples have been as welcome, though they do sow influence, as Captain & Tennille covered America’s version of “Muskrat Love” and turned it into an immensely popular song [4], demonstrating that America’s music has been capable since the 1970’s of influencing others.  And not only has the group itself been able to influence others, but it has been a shrewd recorder of covers, showings how others have influenced its own approach to music.  It would be nice, though, to see more examples of bands and artists who were able to openly admit to being inspired by America, as this is something that would probably give the band a higher profile with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Why America Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

America’s main claim to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is their music.  Five of their first six studio albums have been certified either gold or platinum in the United States and one of their compilations has gone multi-platinum, and they have also released live, holiday, and bootleg albums.  Likewise, during the eleven years from 1972 to 1983 the group had a run of successful pop singles.  Two of their songs hit #1, 1972’s A Horse With No Name and 1975’s Sister Golden Hair.  In addition to that they had five additional top 10 hits (1972’s “I Need You” and “Ventura Highway,” 194’s “Tin Man” and “Lonely People” and 1982’s “You Can Do Magic”).  All of these songs hit the Billboard YE Hot 100 during the years they were released.  In addition to that they had top 40 hits with 1973’s “Don’t Cross The River,” 1975’s “Daisy Jane”, 1976’s “Today’s The Day,” and 1983’s “The Border.”  A few other of their songs just missed the top 40, including 1975’s #44 hit “Woman Tonight” and 1982’s #45 hit “Right Before Your Eyes [5].”  This is demonstrative of a successful set of songs that any band would be proud to have, and that is not even including such numbers as “Amber Cascades,” “Muskrat Love,” or their soundtrack cover hit version of “California Dreamin'” that helped spark a career renaissance in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Why America Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

It is a bit puzzling why the group isn’t in the RRHOF.  They have a sustained period of excellent and popular albums, singles that have stood the test of time, and a good reputation with other acts who have sampled and covered their music.  Whether it was inspiring Purple Rain or putting lovemaking muskrats into the popular consciousness, America certainly had a good degree of excellence in their approach to music.  It is long past time for this to be recognized.

Verdict:  Put them in.  They’ve waited long enough already.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/02/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-chicago/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/06/01/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-kansas/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/01/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-boston/

[4] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskrat_Love

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura_Highway

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_discography

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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