Music journalist Warne has written the first full-length book about the multiplatinum band America, which despite selling millions of records was much neglected by critics. This authorized and laudatory biography explores the childhoods of band members Dan Peek, Gerry Beckley, and Dewey Bunnell, who, growing up in Air Force families, traveled constantly. In 1970, as students in London’s Central High School, they formed America and in 1972 enjoyed a meteoric rise with the release of their self-titled album and the single “A Horse with No Name,” which featured acoustic guitars and three-part harmonies and reflected the teenagers’ fascination with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Neil Young. The group moved to California, and their subsequent megahits embodied a laid-back post-1960s vibe. Finally, Warne outlines the band’s work with noted Beatles producer George Martin, Peek’s exit from the group in 1977, and their increasingly pop-oriented, string-drenched albums of the past four decades. Drawing from interviews with Beckley and Bunnell, Warne has started the process of refurbishing the reputation of America. Fans will be delighted, and those who sold them short will be impressed
With a biography on the band America, an irony-free defence of the oft-maligned hit makers is offered.
With a surprisingly crisp forward by long-time fan Billy Bob Thornton, the book launches into a real love letter from a fan . . . the read is light, breezy, and fun – a perfect beach companion to any and all of [America’s] greatest hits.”
[Warne] outlines how the trio eventually overcame resistance to their mellow soft rock to become as a close to a music institution (in their homeland, mostly) as it’s possible to get . . . For an awareness of how a heritage band can continue testing themselves creatively as well as focusing on the commercial benefits of their maturing demographic, [America is] an educational read.
In an easily digestible, in-depth look at the thoughtful artistry and idealistic innocence of one of the most enduring acts of the 1970s, author Jude Warne does more than reassess the band’s underappreciated cultural impact in her richly detailed and absorbing read America, The Band: An Authorized Biography. Skillfully and passionately weaving together refreshingly honest, insightful interviews with exhaustive research, Warne demystifies this “logo band,” picking the locks of each complex personality to reveal much about their humanity and integrity, as well as their musical motivations and influences....Warne covers a lot of personal ground in the book, digging deeply into the overseas upbringing of all three principal members, products of military families who moved around a lot.... [It] is a tale of friendship and good-hearted intentions, of record label intrigue and a naïve belief in themselves. The rock ‘n roll excess they indulged in wasn’t entirely destructive, nor did the music business completely poison their dreams to the point where they died a cruel death. That, in and of itself, is inspiring.
3/15/21: Jude sat down on that Art-I-Fact podcast to discuss writing her book and the world of America the band.
8/10/2020: Houston Press' Bob Ruggiero profiled author Jude Warne for America's 50 anniversary; “America: 50 Years of Golden Music and Nameless Horses.”