Dewey Bunnell wrote this song - originally titled "Desert Song" - in 1971. When America went into a London studio to record the song, their producer suggested the title be changed to "Horse With No Name." Upon its U.S. release, it topped the charts for three weeks straight in the spring of 1972.
"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain..."
Controversy developed when some radio stations started banning the song for its supposed reference to drugs. (Back then, "horse" was the street name for heroin.)
In a 1998 interview, Bunnell insisted that the song had no meaning at all and simply expressed his feelings about the sounds and sights of the desert, though he added that his message might have been environmental in nature, long before it was fashionable to do so.
In the liner notes from America's "Highway: 30 Years of America" album released in 2000, Bunnell expanded on that: "But it's grown to mean more for me. I see now that this anonymous horse was a vehicle to get me away from all the confusion and chaos of life to a peaceful, quiet place."
So which is it - an environmental message, reference to heroin use, or a metaphorical look at life? You be the judge.
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