Writer: Dewey Bunnell
Producer: George Martin
Recorded: Spring 1974 at AIR Studios in London
Released: June 1974
|Players:||Dewey Bunnell — vocals, guitar, bass
Dan Peek — guitar, vocals
Gerry Beckley — guitar, vocals
Willie Leacox — drums, percussion
|Album:||Holiday (Warner Bros., 1974)|
The first single from America's Holiday album, “Tin Man” reached Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number One on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart.
As the title indicates, “Tin Man” was inspired partly by The Wizard Of Oz, which singer-guitarist Dewey Bunnell calls “my favorite movie of all time…It still amazes me how great that movie is. And here's my classic use of bad grammar: 'Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man…' Another god-awful use of the language. But it served the purpose.”
Bunnell says the song's lyrics reflected America's experience with success and stardom to that point: “We were being exposed to more and more sophisticated people, and there were times that I found myself with my foot in my mouth, saying things I wish I hadn't.”
The song is marked by some of its lyrical imagery. Bunnell explains that the reference to “the tropic of Sir Gallahad” “is a whole other image to me about being chivalrous or a gentleman.” The lines “Spinning round, round, round, smoke glass stain bright colors,” he says, is “all just purely kaleidoscopic imagery. The melody definitely dictated those words, because it was a swirling, rising thing.”
Despite the song's success, Bunnell says he's somewhat ambivalent about it. “The song is jumbled in my mind–there's not a lot of cohesiveness. I had really liked the chords, those major-sevenths. It was up and kind of bouncy, with a little Latin-y feel to it. That's how it is: I get the chords and the melody, and then I have to get some words.”
The song initially received a cool reception from radio programmers until America's manager John Hartmann took control of the situation. “The single had stalled,” recalls singer-guitarist Gerry Beckley, “and John Hartmann went in and did this full-on rant with Warners and kick-started it, and it went back up the charts again, which is very hard to do. John was not going to let this die.”
Holiday was the first of five America albums to be produced by George Martin, best known for his work with the Beatles. The album also brought the three members of the band (Bunnell, Beckley, and singer-guitarist Dan Peek) back to England, where their fathers were stationed as Air Force officers and where they had formed the group in 1970.
Holiday reached Number Three on the Billboard 200 and earned a gold record.