Dan Peek, former member of the 1970’s rock band America, passed away yesterday at the age of 60. His cause of death is unknown. Peek’s official website simply states, “Dan went to Heaven on July 24, 2011.” Underneath that caption is a YouTube video of him performing “Lonely People.”
Peek along with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell were Air Force brats who met in England while attending London Central High School. After a brief sojourn back stateside, Peek returned to the U.K. in 1970 and renewed acquaintances with Beckley and Bunnell and formed the group America. In 1972, America released its self-titled debut album which included classics like “A Horse With No Name”, “I Need You” and “Sandman.” Peek also contributed several lesser known songs to that album such as “Rainy Day” and “Never Found The Time” (I could only find a cover version.)
In 1977, Peek abruptly left the group unhappy with fame and fortune and the excesses that came with it and subsequently became a born-again Christian. Aside from a spontaneous on-stage reunion in 1980, America would remain a duo. Nevertheless, Peek remained friends with Beckley and Bunnell as one can attest from their tribute posted on their official website. Peek would record several Christian pop albums in the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s. Here’s an interview Peek did a few years ago recounting his time with America and his decision to leave that life behind.
In 2005, I had the opportunity to meet Beckley and Bunnell following a concert in Lowell, Massachusetts and told them how much I enjoyed their music. I wish I could have done the same with Dan Peek.