Daniel Milton "Dan" Peek (November 1, 1950 - July 24, 2011) was a musician best known as a member of the soft rock band America from 1970 to 1977, together with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell. He was also a "pioneer in contemporary Christian music."
He was born in Panama City, Florida on November 1, 1950 while his father was in the U.S. Air Force. He moved to England in 1963 with his family when his father was assigned to a base in London, meeting Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley at London Central Elementary High School.
Peek contributed lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, and harmonica to their recordings during his tenure in the band. As a member of America, Peek wrote or co-wrote four Top 100 singles: "Don't Cross The River" (#35), "Lonely People" (#5), "Woman Tonight" (#44), and "Today's the Day" (#23), all of which he also sang lead on. "Lonely People" and "Today's the Day" also hit number 1 on the Billboard AC charts.
Peek abused alcohol and other drugs during this period. In 2004 he released an autobiography about that era entitled An American Band: The America Story which was very difficult for him to write because of the bad memories it brought up.
Contemporary Christian music:
Peek left the band shortly after the February 1977 release of the Harbor album. Years of life on the road had taken a toll on him. He renewed his Christian faith and had begun to seek a different artistic direction than Beckley or Bunnell. He went on to sign with Pat Boone's Lamb & Lion Records and found modest success as a pioneering artist in the emerging Christian pop music genre.
Peek's debut solo album, All Things Are Possible was released in 1979. Chris Christian co-wrote, produced, and contributed acoustic guitar and backing vocals on the album. The title track reached the Billboard charts, making the Top 10 in the A/C Billboard chart and number 1 in the Christian charts, becoming one of the earliest contemporary Christian music crossover hits. Another song on the album, "Love Was Just Another Word", was recorded in LA and written by Chris Christian and Steve Kipner. Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell contributed the background vocals. This was the last time the three original members of America recorded together. (According to Peek and Bunnell, Peek joined the group to perform a few songs during a concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, in 1983. However, this has not been substantiated by published sources, and those audience members who have posted online about the show say they don't remember seeing Peek there.) At the 22nd Grammy Awards, the album was nominated, losing in the Contemporary Gospel category to The Imperials album Heed the Call. Peek followed "All Things Are Possible" with "Doer of the Word", which hit number 2 in the Christian charts. Gerry Beckley contributed background vocals, which were recorded at Chris Christian's studio in Los Angeles while Peek was there.
Peek waited five years before releasing a second solo album, 1984's Doer of the Word. 1986 saw the release of his Electrovoice album, again to the CCM market, which included a remake of "Lonely People", featuring a very similar lead vocal treatment and overall arrangement to the original America version. He changed some of the song's lyrics to reflect his Christian faith, for example the lines "And ride that highway in the sky" and "You never know until you try" became "And give your heart to Jesus Christ."
Peek spent much of the 1990s in semi-retirement, occasionally recording music at his home in Bodden Town, Grand Cayman Island. He released several solo projects and collaborated with Ken Marvin and Brian Gentry as "Peace" on three albums. In the years before his death, Peek released music via his website. His last musical collaboration was performing lead vocal on a track on the 2011 album Steps On The Water by Etcetera.
Peek died in his sleep of fibrinous pericarditis on July 24, 2011 at age 60 at his home in Farmington, Missouri. His interment was in Farmington's Zolman Cemetery.
Peek was born in Panama City, Florida. Beginning in 1963, Peek was educated at London Central Elementary High School at Bushey Hall in North London. In 1973 he married Catherine Maberry, with whom he would write a number of songs, including "Lonely People". He published an autobiography entitled An American Band, based on America's most successful period, and his own spiritual journey.