The Complete Greatest Hits
America’s expansive vocal harmonies, folksy melodies and generally mellow air invited comparisons with Crosby, Stills and Nash at the start of their career. But a closer listening reveals equally deep affinities with the sunny sounds of the Beach Boys and the quaintly romantic side of Paul McCartney. Members Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek enjoyed an impressive run of radio hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the best of which are gathered here. America’s tunes range from the bittersweet (“I Need You,””Lonely People”) to the buoyant (“Sister Golden Hair,” “Woman Tonight”) and the enigmatic (“A Horse With No Name,” “Amber Cascades”). Beckley leans towards British-style pop (as in “Only in Your Heart”), while Bunnell favors acoustic folk with jazz tinges (witness “Ventura Highway”) and Peek shows a pronounced country strain (see “Don’t Cross the River”). After Peek’s departure in 1977, the remaining Americans soldiered on as a duo, scoring chart success with synthesizer-driven tracks like “You Can Do Magic.” When the band’s chemistry is working, there’s no denying the sparkling charm and solid craft of their songs.