One book leads to another...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A is for America



Lines of Inspiration
 Melodious expressions, Enduring Truisms

A
America – the band

“Chewing on a piece of grass, walking down the road…”



Song Title: “Ventura Highway” 

Songwriter: Dewey Bunnell

The band:

1969 -What are the chances that three highly talented American music artists would meet in a London High School as sons of US Air Force personnel, and (in short order) become an internationally recognized band called America? With British-American Dewey Bunnell at the penning helm and the remarkable harmony produced by the founding three, the band soon enjoyed worldwide acclaim as preeminent pop-rock, folk jazz artists which continued well after returning to their American roots. 

By 2006, Dewey’s often illusory, seemingly random lyrics, accompanied by the band’s soft rock style, got them inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Six years later, they had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Yet, according to Dewey, there are no random lines; each one has a meaning. “Alligator lizards in the air”, for instance, is a description of cloud formations one might see while “chewing on a piece of grass, walking down the road.” Curiously, the line “Sorry boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain,” has not been explained by America the band, or the Artist Known As – Prince ;-)

However, when they were asked to play at (then) Gov. Jesse Ventura’s inaugural celebration, two songs were specifically requested: The first (of course) being “Ventura Highway”, and the second, “Horse with no Name”, for Ventura’s wife; who was a ‘horse lady’.

So, how about that line? Does it call to mind a memory? Instill a sense of wonder? Are you familiar with the song or band?


 There's a whole lotta blogging going on right here!

19 comments:

  1. Love Ventura Highway, but until now I knew nothing about the band. Thank you!

    Click HERE to read my 200-word tale

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    1. Hi Keith!

      I enjoyed meeting Arthur and Left a comment to that effect. Hope it went through!

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  2. Hi Diedre - ah well I thought I was going to learn about America ... not that one though! I've learnt too ... and that line would suit my A for Aurochs ... of me - wondering about the social media aspects of the A-Z - "chewing on a piece of grass, walking (in my case wandering) down the road" - a for a-thinking!

    Cheers Hilary
    A for Aurochs
    Today’s A - Z Challenge 2017 post

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    1. Hi Hilary!
      What a great comment! I guess I could (should?) have been more concise with the title for A ;-)
      I can't wait to get home and visit your site ( I'm on the road just now and internet connectivity is frustrating at best), A for Aurochs sounds fascinating ;-)

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  3. Hi, diedre!

    Congratulations on taking the plunge and entering into the A TO Z Challenge. As one of my very best friends in blogging, you will get a generous share of my time and attention this month.

    Heck yes, I remember America the band and their signature songs "A Horse With No Name" and "Ventura Highway" along with "Tin Man" and others. Dewey Bunnell has one of the most distinctive voices in rock and America's songs helped form the soundtrack of my life when I was in my twenties.

    It amuses me when rock songwriters are asked to explain the meaning of lyrics they wrote, especially nebulous words and phrases that are wide open to interpretation and suspected to be references to drug experiences. Invariably the scribe offers a benign explanation which comes as no surprise. Why would a band deliberately open themselves up to scrutiny and investigation by law enforcement? Seems the more vehement the denial that a song contains drug references, the more convinced fans are that it actually does describe a drug trip. :) Then there is the case of Charlie Manson who believed that the Beatles song "Helter Skelter" was written specifically with him in mind, that it was a call to action, emboldening him to precipitate a race war. We all know how that turned out.

    I am excited to know that music is your topic for the month, diedre, and I look forward to reading your articles and learning from them. Have a great weekend, dear friend!

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    1. Hi Shady!

      Ha! You've a good point in regards to song meanings - according to (later) artist accounts. "A Horse with No Name" was simply about missing the desert and having endured too much rain, though in those days you were either a "cool" druggie in denial or a big fat fibber. As the Beatles unfortunately discovered, the very fans the artists seek can sometimes ruin a good thing by virtue of personal delusions.
      My "soundtrack" perhaps began a little later than yours, but we sure do share the same tastes ;-)
      Have a fantastic week, my friend!

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    2. Thank you for your replies to my comments, dear friend diedre. I just read all three of them and I am very grateful to read your words. We do indeed share the same tastes.

      See you tomorrow (Wed), dear friend!

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  4. Goof morning, diedre! I always loved that line. Ventura Highway reminds me of the time I drove up from San Diego to Santa Maria (6 hours each way) to visit an internet friend for the first time. I was actually ON the Ventura Highway. Such beautiful scenery! ☺ Interesting back story about the band. I didn't know they all met in London. Happy first day of the A to Z.

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    1. Yikes! Missed the typo. Should read "Good". BTW, I started those boarding school adventures right off:
      Azzurro: Going AWOL in Switzerland

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    2. Hi Debbie!
      Ha! I missed the typo while on the road but it gave me smile this morning ;-)
      Glad you like that line - I love it! It lends a sense of wistful relaxation, perhaps because I never chew on a piece of grass when I'm worried ;-)
      Playing a bit of catch-up here, but I look forward to your ever-stimulating posts!

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  5. I thought it was going to be about America, the country. :-)

    I remember but never followed them.

    My theme is all about baby boomers and those years we grew up. Grab some cookies and milks and come on over. Atomic Bombs

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    1. Hi Debby!

      In retrospect, I could have been more descriptive with the title, but if it draws attention...;-)
      And speaking of titles, yours is explosive! I'm packing my snack bag for the adventures you're sure to offer ;-)

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  6. Howdy, dIEDRE ~
    I've always liked the hits of AMERICA and have their Greatest Hits album on CD. (In fact, I think I'll put it on right now... *standby* ...)

    OK, it's on. Have you ever noticed how 'A HORSE WITH NO NAME' sounds EXACTLY like Neil Young? Next time you hear it, pretend you're listening to Neil Young instead of America and you WILL believe it's Neil.

    I love 'TIN MAN', but my favorite song by America is 'SISTER GOLDEN HAIR'. That one always makes me think of a girl I knew in 1980+ You know what I mean.

    Funny you mentioned the America / Air Force connection, because I'm currently reading a book by David McGowan titled 'WEIRD SCENES INSIDE THE CANYON'. It's all about the late-'60s / early-'70s Laurel Canyon music scene in Los Angeles.

    Hokey-Smoke! This book has already blown my mind and I am ONLY ON PAGE 27! Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe it.

    America came out of the Laurel Canyon scene, and just as they had parental connections to the military and military intelligence departments, so did almost every other musician who came out of Laurel Canyon.

    Did you know that Jim Morrison's dad was the Admiral in charge of the US warships that faked the Gulf of Tonkin attack that was used as an excuse for us to fully enter the conflict in Vietnam? (That I actually knew even before starting this book. But it too is covered in just the first 27 pages.)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Check out my new blog @
    (Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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    1. Howdy Reno!
      I'm not sure if Neil was with the band when "Horse with No Name" came out. But I have heard folks say there's a likeness in voices. I don't really agree.
      "Sister Golden Hair" holds a special space for me as well - though it has to do with one of my brothers.
      Leapin lizards, Reno! Now I'll have to learn more about this Laurel Canyon - wow!
      Happy reading!

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    2. P.S.
      I'm also not sure the coffee had kicked in yet when I erroneously connected Neil Young to America. (duh) But you'll see how it could have occurred on Tuesday ;-)

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  7. I was a big fan of America back in their day. Every time I see the signs for Ventura Hwy not far from where I live, that song runs in my mind. The Homecoming album the song came from has so many memories for me. I can recall me and a friend moving in together when we were both separated from our wives and we'd stay up at night listening to that album, playing guitar and singing along to it. They were kind of sad times, but still we had a good time and made the best of them.

    So many memories attached to the music of America.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi Arlee!

      I can almost picture you guys, bittersweet and batchin' it. I wasn't sure there really was a 'Ventura Highway' but the lyrics made me think that in one's own mind it could be anywhere ;-)

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  8. This song brings back my youth.

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    1. Hi Ann!

      And that's never a bad thing, huh?

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Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!