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On Columbus Day, let's rediscover America

Overlooked by most critics, America has been pleasing a large number of fans for years
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America proves it still can do magic

By Phill Marder

AMERICA - It's Columbus Day, a national holiday to celebrate the discovery of America. Now if the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame nominating committee would discover America, maybe we could squeeze out Rock & Roll Day as a new national holiday.

We should have that regardless. And America should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, national holiday or not.

America is a recall from my first article 10 years ago, so I kinda feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, if you'll excuse the pun. But one day, probably 30 or 40 years from now, people are going to take a look at America's entire catalog and conclude, "This is one impressive body of work." At the moment, though, America seems destined to be one of Rock & Roll's overlooked treasures.

This in spite of constant quality releases and steady touring from their breakthrough "A Horse With No Name" in 1972 until their "Here & Now" in 2006. This in spite of a constant stream of rock royalty from Carl Wilson and Hal Blaine to Rusty Young and Russ Kunkel and a number of today's young superstars contributing mightily to their efforts. This in spite of having George Martin as producer on five of their albums. The fact that Martin, who also produced another pretty talented group, considered the then-trio to be worth spending that much time with should be enough of a recommendation for enshrinement in Rock's Hall. This in spite of contributing such unforgettable lyrical moments such as "alligator lizards in the air." Hey, even Donovan didn't come up with that one.

Through all the many works released by America, I would be hard-pressed to find one cut I could classify as a clunker. And while much of their work veers toward the softer side of Rock, one of their main attributes is their versatility, which gives us "Daisy Jane" in one groove, "Sister Golden Hair" in another.

If you read the first blog in this series, so clevery titled "Great Blogs Of Fire: An Introduction," (it's down at the bottom of this blog pile if you missed it) you may remember I promised to back up my opinions with some hard facts supporting each artist's recommendation. Here are some hard facts:

Seven top 10 singles and five top 10 albums.

Again, sales and popularity should not be the sole criteria for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. But at present they count for nothing.

Dan Peek, who left in 1977 to become a successful Christian music solo artist, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley have given us a musical legacy that will pop up in movies, cover versions, elevators and supermarkets for years to come. And when it does, you'll find yourself singing or humming along. Which is what great music is really all about.

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