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Never forget the music of Dan Peek

August 6, 2011

I was saddened by the passing of Dan Peek, a member of America, which had such songs as Lonely People, Don’t Cross the River, and Woman Tonight, all written by Peek. From the booklet inside the CD “America’s Greatest Hits: History,” I read that Peek, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, sons of U.S. Air Force officers stationed in the United Kingdom, first met at a school for American kids outside of London and chose their name while listening to an Americana jukebox.  They recorded A Horse with No Name, which Bunnell had composed, and it was released in England in Jan. 1972. Encouraged by the climb on the charts, they went on tour and their first concert was at a college in Ontario.
Peek left the group to pursue his calling in Christian music. Beckley and Bunnell performed the background vocals on Peek’s Love Was Just Another Word. His follow-up was Doer of the Word, and I love those titles. I am going to read his autobiography “An American Band: The America Story.”

[1] Plants, birds, and rocks are mentioned in
A. A Horse with No Name.
B. Only in Your Heart.
C. You Can Do Magic.
D. Daisy Jane.

The title next to B is one whose music would sound ideal in a Sunday evening worship service.  It could be transformed from a nice secular sound to an edifying spiritual piece. A is the answer.

[2] cornucopia (KOR-nuh-KO-pee-uh)
A. an abundance
B. a scarcity
C. a surrounding
D. a hotbed

In an interview on Christian Broadcasting Network, Peek said, “Sex, drugs and rock and roll; it was the whole cornucopia of fleshly material.” The answer is A.  

 [3] permutation (pur-myoo-TAY-shun)
A.  often major or fundamental change (as in character or condition) based primarily on rearrangement of existent elements
B. the act of kissing
C. the act or state of oscillating
D. venue, surrounding, milieu

Margalit Fox’s article pointed out that Peek and the other two “began singing together in various permutations, under various names.” Fox said that they discontinued when Peek returned to the US to attend college, but one year later they got back together when he returned to London. Nostalgically, they called themselves America. No. 3 is A.

[4] A succession of three successes, victories, or related accomplishments is a
A. trilogy.
B. hat trick.
C. fait accompli (FAY-tuh-kahm-PLEA).
D.  ratatouille (ray-tuh-TWEE).

America’s third album, another success, was “Hat Trick.” This noun comes from the practice of rewarding someone with a gift of a hat for an accomplishment.

[5] Which album followed Hat Trick?
A. Holiday
B. Hearts
C. Homecoming
D. No Secrets

D was the title of a Carly Simon album. Holiday followed Hat Trick.
Last week’s mystery word is giddy.
This week’s mystery word to solve can be heard in America’s Tin Man. People share this gift.  

Dr. Don R. Vaughan is a professor of speech at East Mississippi Community College. Email him at

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