Dan Peek – co-founder of the folk rock band America – passed away on Sunday, according to his website. The singer-guitarist was 60. The son of a U.S. Air Force officer, he met Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley while attending high school in London, and the trio would form America in the late 1960s, hitting it big with the No. 1 single, “A Horse with No Name” in 1972. They released a handful of other Top 40 hits, including “Lonely People” and “Sister Golden Hair” in the early to mid-1970s.
Disillusioned with the rock lifestyle and his years of drug use, Peek left the band in 1977 to renew his faith and become a Christian pop artist. He released his first solo album, All Things Are Possible, in 1979. His departure from America was rather amicable; Bunnell and Beckley contributed backing vocals for “Love Was Just Another Word,” one of the tracks on Peek’s album.
On the band’s website, Bunnell wrote: “I am sorry to hear of Dan’s passing… 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.”
Peek chronicled his time with America and his spiritual journey in his 2004 autobiography, An American Band: The America Story. According to UPI, Peek’s father said that the musician died at his home in Farmington, Mo., though in recent years he’d been living in the Cayman Islands with his wife, Catherine.