America’s Dan Peek Rides that ‘Highway in the Sky’ RIP 1950-2011
Although he left the popular folk-rock band America many years ago, Dan Peek’s gentle melodies, skillfull, distinctive guitar work, vocal talent and songwriting contributions can still be felt on a band most known for 70’s hit songs like “Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Sister Golden Hair.” But, it was his “Lonely People,” with it’s hopeful message that still resonates today. After the song found its way to the charts, Peek himself would leave the band in pursuit of that ‘silver cup,’ he mentions in the song. With only a pair of fine solo albums and autobiography, An American Band, to explain, there’s no great mystery to his leaving the spotlight. He simply found faith and fullfillment, then left the scene in answer to his own spiritual quest nurtured by his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal savior and redeemer-His Silver Cup.
Dan Peek was among a handful folk-rock celebrities in the mid 70’s including Richie Furay, Barry McGuire, Bob Dylan and Noel Paul Stookey, who openly spoke in their songs of spiritual longing and sought their answers through the Christian faith when it went against the stream of popularity. America, at the time, was topping the rock music charts.
While the band, America, along with their string of hit songs, cannot be regarded innovative, they could be considered carriers of the flame of the folk-rock sound begun in the 60’s by Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their songs are appealing, engaging and accessible and continue to retain their quality and popularity today. They have toured and recorded as a duo with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell since Peek left in 1977.
The following tributes can be found on America’s official webiste:
“I am so sorry to learn of Dan’s passing. Dan, along with Gerry & myself, formed the band “America” as teenagers after being great friends in high school during the late 60’s. It was a joyous time for the three of us, full of excitement and laughter. We created lasting music together and experienced a life that we could never have imagined. Dan was an equal and integral part of that early history, and I have never forgotten the good times we spent making that music and learning about life together. Although we eventually went our separate ways, his contributions to the music of “America” have always been present and will last forever. This news brings great sadness. My sincere condolences go out to his wife, Catherine, and the entire Peek family. May Dan rest in peace, and his memory be cherished forever.” -Dewey Bunnell
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Dans passing. He was a dear friend for many years. Dan & his music will live on in the great songs he shared with us all. My sincere condolences go out to Catherine and the entire Peek family. May he rest in peace….”
There is no news as to the cause of death. His website simply reads;