CCM Artist Dan Peek, Formerly of America, Dead at Age 60

Christian-music recording artist Dan Peek passed away on Sunday, July 24, at his home in Farmington, MO.

Peek’s CCM work topped the gospel charts and earned a Grammy Award nomination, but he was best known for his earlier tenure in the pop group America. He sang and played on such America hits as “A Horse with No Name” (1972), “I Need You” (1972), “Ventura Highway” (1972), “Tin Man” (1974), “Lonely People” (1975) and “Sister Golden Hair” (1975).

He wrote “Lonely People,” as well as such America tunes as “Rainy Day,” “Everyone I Meet Is From California,” “Don’t Cross the River,” “Saturn Nights,” “Simple Life” and “Woman Tonight.”

He left the group in 1977. He renewed his Christian faith and embarked on a second career while former partners Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell continued America as a duo. Peek’s CCM debut album, All Things Are Possible, was released in 1979. It was nominated for a Grammy. Its title tune was a No. 1 CCM hit, crossed over to the mainstream pop charts and became a top-10 A/C hit.

The CCM field was quite young at the time. Dan Peek was a pioneer of the genre alongside such other former pop stars as Barry McGuire, Richey Furay, Larry Norman and Noel Paul Stookey.

Peek’s second CCM collection, 1984’s Doer of the World, also had a title tune that became a top-10 hit on the gospel charts. Peek’s 1986 album, Electro Voice, included a remake of America’s “Lonely People” with rewritten, Christian-oriented lyrics. It and the album’s title tune both became top-10 gospel hits.

Other albums included Cross Over (1987), Bodden Town (1999) and Caribbean Christmas (2000). During the 1990s, Peek also recorded four CCM albums as a member of the group Peace.

Dan Peek published an autobiography titled An American Band: The America Story in 2004. No cause of death has been made public.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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