1975 America – Daisy Jane
Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek were all sons of US Air Force personnel. They met when their fathers were each stationed near London. The three began performing together as America while still in high school in 1970.
The band had three top ten singles in the US in 1972, but struggled on the charts after that. In 1974, the group hired George Martin to produce their fourth album, and they instantly scored two more top ten hits that also reached the top of the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.
George also produced their fifth album in 1975. The first single from the album, Sister Golden Hair, topped the Hot 100 in early 1975 and reached #5 on the AC chart.
Gerry also wrote their next single, Daisy Jane. The record peaked at only #20 on the Hot 100, but did even better than the prior single on the AC chart (where it peaked at #4).
George Martin not only produced the single, but it is likely that he played piano on the recording.
In early 1987, Janet Jackson released the single Lets Wait Awhile from her 1986 album Control. America’s road manager heard Janet’s song on his car radio. He immediately recognized the similarities between the two songs and called Gerry from a payphone to alert him. An out-of-court settlement kept everybody out of litigation. The similarity between the two recordings is striking.
In 2001, Janet recorded a song that sampled America’s Ventura Highway. That time, Dewey always had co-writing credit (and, one supposes, appropriate royalty sharing).
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