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Dan Peek, co-founder of rock band America, dies at 60

By Mary Slosson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dan Peek, a co-founder and musician for the folk rock band America, famous for the No. 1 hit "A Horse with No Name," has died. He was 60.

Peek, who died on Sunday, founded the band in the late 1960s with bandmates Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell while they attended high school together in London, where their fathers were stationed with the United States Air Force.

America's self-titled debut album, which featured "A Horse with No Name," shot to the top of the charts in 1972. The group won a Grammy for best new artist that year, and enjoyed a string of other popular hits including "Ventura Highway" and "Lonely People."

"We created lasting music together and experienced a life that we could never have imagined," wrote America co-founder and bandmate Dewey Bunnell on the band's website. "This news brings me 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."

Neil Portnow, chief executive of The Recording Academy which gives out music's highest awards, the Grammys, called Peek "a dynamic individual and great talent."

He noted that Peek was a multi-talented musician who played guitar, bass, keyboards and harmonica.

Peek left America in 1977 and went on to perform contemporary Christian music, but never found the sort of fame he enjoyed with the popular band that recorded hit singles.

Beckley, who called Peek "a dear friend for many years," said the man "and his music will live on in the great songs he shared with us all."

(Reporting by Mary Slosson; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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