Song Lyric Sunday — No Name

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us Cowboy, Gun, Hat, Horse, and Western. For me (and probably a few others, as well), the first song that popped into my head was “A Horse With No Name” by America.

Recorded in 1971 and released in the U.S. in early 1972, the song was written by Dewey Bunnell, lead singer for the folk rock band America. It was the band’s first and most successful single.

The song was commonly misinterpreted to being about drugs, given that “horse” was often used as slang for heroin. It was even banned from being played by some radio stations in the U.S. because of its alleged drug references. But according to Bunnell, the song’s original title was “Desert Song,” and it was written about the desert scenery and images he encountered when he was visiting his father when he was stationed at an Air Force base near Santa Barbara, California.

According to Bunnell, the “horse” represents a means of entering a place of tranquility, and this tranquil place was best represented by the desert. As to why the horse had no name and why it went free after nine days, Bunnell doesn’t have any answer.

Personally, I’ve always thought that the lyrics to this song, as is the case with the lyrics to many of America’s songs — the group, not the country — were written under the influence of pot or acid, but the band members strongly deny that.

Here are the lyrics to “A Horse With No Name.”

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la

After nine days I let the horse run free
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la

19 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — No Name

  1. Marleen September 1, 2019 / 5:40 am

    I remember hearing this near the back of a school bus while heading to Powell Hall for a field outing on an occasion with children invited from all across the city. I’d been, previously, to the symphony hall for a full performance, and this was a good trip. Late fourth grade. It was an overcast day. I think it was the only song that got played, on something portable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Carol Anne September 1, 2019 / 6:19 am

    I wasn’t born when this song was released but I like it and I know it from the radio playing it even nowadays. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lisa Coleman September 1, 2019 / 6:45 am

    Great song choice for today’s challenge! I love this challenge. I’ve already got my next 2 posts done for 2 weeks from now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 1, 2019 / 9:47 am

      Wow. I usually don’t even think about what song to use until the Saturday night before the prompt. You are quite organized.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Coleman September 1, 2019 / 9:51 am

        Trying to be. I’ve been stressing over getting my writing done every night after I get home from work & it’s kicking my butt. Put together a calendar & everything. 🤪

        Liked by 1 person

  4. newepicauthor September 1, 2019 / 7:30 am

    Every time when I forget who I am, I always go into the desert to remember my name. Good one Fandango, it was nice to hear this today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. msjadeli September 1, 2019 / 9:05 am

    This song is a timeless classic. Wonderful choice, Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

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