By Jim Fusco:
I’m pretty excited today, as I give you a new band to the Laptop Sessions: America!
I got into this band because of today’s cover song, Sister Golden Hair. I used to hear it on the radio many times growing up and decided that it would be perfect for a cover song. I’ve now seen the band America in concert at least ten times, meeting them and getting their autographs on many occasions. They’re great guys and that only helped make them one of my favorite bands.
I love their album “Homecoming” and will be doing most of the songs off it in the future. But, for now, I give you the tune that started it all for me. Once I found out that this song was from the same guys that did “Horse With No Name”, I had to get the “Best Of” CD. After that, I scoured CT (this was before eBay was huge) for any America CDs I could find. I even bought some of the LPs. The band was surprised to see such a young guy asking to get those signed. My gravitation towards America was probably due to the fact that I could tell they were influenced by the Beach Boys- their harmonies and melodic songs drew me in. And, they put a classic rock spin on things- kind of like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but even more mellow.
“Sister Golden Hair” is really one of my favorite songs. The chorus is so catchy, but Gerry Beckley (the singer and songwriter for this song) didn’t stop there- he began the song with a great acoustic guitar part and some really cool slide guitar. One of the reasons why the original recording of “Sister Golden Hair” sounds so good is because Beatles producer George Martin actually produced it! Yes, that’s right- he even produced a few other albums for America in the mid 70s. The first song he produced for them was the big hit “Tin Man”.
America had two #1 Billboard hits- “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair”. It’s a shame they didn’t have a third, because then each member would’ve had their shot at having a Number One Hit. “A Horse With No Name” was written by Dewey Bunnell, but original member Dan Peek (left in the late 70s, but is now deceased) never got a song up to Number One. He did have a popular song, though, in “Lonely People”, which is instantly recognizable. So, I guess all of the band members had their chances to shine.
Like many of my acoustic cover song videos, I’m using my nylon string guitar here. Sure, it doesn’t sound exactly like the original, but I thought it allowed me to sing over the guitar without shouting. On the verses, I found that I needed a softer sounding guitar because the tone is so “conversational” and not soaring above the music (like a Beach Boys song would be, for instance).
I hope you all enjoy this America acoustic cover song- truly one of my favorites. Stay tuned for more cover song music videos from the musicians here at the Laptop Sessions video blog!