A founding member of 70s folk-rock sensations America, Dan Peek, has died at the age of 60. Peek passed away on Sunday (July 24) with the cause of death at this point unknown.
Billboard reports that Peek was ‘semi-retired’ and living a rather reclusive existence in the Cayman Islands with his wife. Peek’s official website merely posted the words, ‘Dan went to Heaven on July 24.’
Peek composed the band’s huge 1974 hit Lonely People, but left the group three years afterward to forge a fairly successful career in Christian rock.
His former bandmates Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley posted a tribute on a website the pair share, saying, “I am so sorry to learn of Dan’s passings. Dan, along with Gerry (Beckley) & myself, formed the band America as teenagers after being great friends in high school during the late 60s. It was a joyous time for the three of us, full of excitement and laughter. 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.”
He added, “Although we eventually went our separate ways, his contributions to the music of America have always been present and will last forever. This news brings great sadness. My sincere condolences go out to his wife, Catherine, and the entire Peek family. May Dan rest in peace, and his memory be cherished forever.”
American exploded onto the music scene in 1972, scoring a series of massive hits, with their most famous song being A Horse With No Name, a tune that famously saw Neil Young‘s dad ringing up his son and congratulating him on his latest smash – such was A Horse With No Name‘s mimicry of the great singer.
America carried on after Peek left in 1977 and an incarnation of the band is still going to this day, featuring Bunnell and Beckley. Peek became a born-again Christian in the mid-70s after getting sick of rock’s excesses as America toured the world.