America is the eponymous debut album released by America in 1971. The album was initially released without “A Horse With No Name,” which had not yet been recorded. When “Horse” became a worldwide hit in early 1972, the album was re-released with that track.
The album went to number 1 on the Billboard album chart in the US and stayed there for 5 weeks. It produced two hit singles, “A Horse With No Name” spent three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard singles chart in 1972 (it peaked at number 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart), and “I Need You” hit number 9 on the Billboard singles chart and number 7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Several other songs received radio airplay on FM stations playing album tracks, including “Sandman” (long rumored in the US Navy to be about the VQ-2 air squadron formerly based in Rota, Spain) and “Three Roses”. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA for sales in excess of 1 million units in the US.
FROM ALLMUSIC: Lengthy instrumental introductions (“Donkey Jaw”), middle improvisatory interludes (“Here”), and closings (“Clarice”) are frequently encountered. Most of these selections boast highly unusual and inventive chord progressions that work well without drawing undue attention to themselves. Lyrics are sometimes trite (“I need you/Like the flower needs the rain”) or obscure (“He flies the sky/Like an eagle in the eye/Of a hurricane that’s abandoned”), but the music more than makes up for any verse problems; only the odd “Pigeon Song” seems an unsalvageable misstep.
Sound quality here has a covered, intimate feel that lends a ghostly aura to this release. Chart hits from this album include the spectrally loping “A Horse with No Name,” the squarishly tuneful “I Need You,” and the nervously dour “Sandman.” Other highlights include the buoyantly charming “Three Roses,” the yearningly lovely “Rainy Day,” and the quietly ringing “Clarice.” In spite of its flaws, this platter is very highly recommended.