Gerald Linford "Gerry" Beckley (born September 12, 1952, in Fort Worth, Texas) is a founding member of the band America.
Beckley was born to an American father and an English mother. He began playing the piano at the age of three and the guitar a few years later. By 1962, Beckley was playing guitar in The Vanguards, an instrumental surf music band in Virginia. He spent every summer in England and soon discovered 'British invasion' music.
Start of America:
In 1967, Beckley's father became the commander at the United States Air Force base at West Ruislip, near London. Gerry attended London Central High School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where he played in various school bands and met his soon-to-be bandmates, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek. Originally, the group played on Friday nights at the local American teen club, mostly doing acoustic covers of Crosby Stills and Nash tunes. The original drummer was a classmate, Dave Atwood.
America got a recording contract with the British division of Warner Bros. Records. Beginning with their fourth album, Holiday, they began recording under the auspices of former Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Beckley and Bunnell said the name was inspired from an "Americana" jukebox on the base where they lived when they were forming the band - from PRI, Bob Edwards Weekend interview of Beckley and Bunnell, March 17, 2007.
America's songs include "A Horse with No Name", their debut single which went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; "Sister Golden Hair" (also number one on Billboard, in 1975); "Tin Man"; "I Need You"; "Ventura Highway", "You Can Do Magic" and "Daisy Jane", amongst others.
Beckley continues to write and record music both as a solo artist and with other musicians along with Bunnell. With Bunnell, Beckley continues touring worldwide as "America". In 2007, America returned to the Billboard album charts with the much heralded album Here & Now. It contains 12 new songs and 12 live songs.
Beckley, Andrew Gold, and Timothy B. Schmidt sang as "Baldwin and the Whiffles", performing "Mr. Sandman", "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane", and "Sh-Boom", in the 1990 John Waters film Cry-Baby.
Beckley has worked with a wide variety of musicians on many projects. One of the most notable is the 2001 recording Like a Brother, performed with Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, and Robert Lamm of Chicago.
In May 2006, Beckley released another solo album Horizontal Fall.
In March 2007, Beckley appeared as a guest on the Australian musical quiz TV show Spicks and Specks.
On April 14, 2007, Beckley appeared as a special guest at a Ben Kweller show at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. Beckley, Kweller, and the band performed Sister Golden Hair together.
Beckley is also a member of Les Deux Love Orchestra.
Beckley is married to wife Kathy with two sons, Matthew and Joe. Matthew is also a musician; he has toured with Katy Perry and has worked with other artists, such as Ke$ha, Britney Spears, and others. Joe is an aspiring photographer in the Los Angeles area.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license