LA24 plans a music compilation enticing supporters to #FollowTheSun, consider this my nomination of four California-centric hits from the band America for the collection.
Sure, this band launched 46 years ago, in 1970 -- one Olympiad before the birth of bid chief Casey Wasserman. But America's staying power and upbeat music/lyrics could provide many positive vibes on a Los Angeles Olympic bid play list.
One month ago, I was driving north from LA on U.S. 101 bound for Thousand Oaks, Calif., and tonight in Atlanta there was time to enjoy a live performance of one of my personal favorites by America, "Ventura Highway" (on the radio than March 4 evening).
In addition to hearing "Ventura Highway" live, tonight I learned three new-to-my-ears West Coast-themed hits also crooned by America: "California Revisited" from their "Homecoming" album, "Hollywood" (much more of a rockin' song than other America works), and the band's cover of "California Dreamin'" made famous by The Mamas & the Papas (my preferred version is by DJ Sammy).
The Uber ride home had my brain swimming with other big songs of the region from "Under The Bridge" and "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to "California Girls" and other Beach Boys tunes, Katy Perry "California Gurls" and 2Pac/Dr. Dre "California Love."
Of course, "Hotel California" also crossed my mind ... I figure the more prominent rockers (the Eagles) slept with way more groupies than America's easy-listening singer-songwriters, who maybe felt-up a lot of fans but did not take as many back to their green room or hotel.
But back to "Ventura Highway" -- until this evening, when the band was describing the song's history to the audience, I had not a clue the fourth verse includes what may be the world's first musical reference to "Purple Rain."
The two-person conversation in the lyrics carries listeners to the West Coast with the following:
Watchin' for the early train
Sorry, boy, but I've been hit by
By chance, a Minneapolis singer named Prince Rogers Nelson will perform his "Piano and a Microphone" tour in Atlanta next week, and it will be fun and exciting to experience another all-time favorite musician (now informed by his possible inspiration from America).
Now there's a singer I'd like to see performing at the Olympics!
Perhaps given their tethered "Purple Rain" ties, America could be Prince's opening act in the music portion of the L.A. 2024 Olympics opening ceremony? Talk about California dreaming.
Images via www.venturahighway.com, www.ventura-usa.com and www.FoxTheatre.org
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