Sister Golden Hair

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"Sister Golden Hair"
Single by America
from the album Hearts
B-side "Midnight"
Released March 19, 1975
Format 7"
Recorded 1975
Genre Folk rock, soft rock[1]
Length 3:16
Label Warner Bros. Records 8086
Writer(s) Gerry Beckley
Producer(s) George Martin
America singles chronology
"Lonely People"
"Sister Golden Hair"
"Daisy Jane"

"Sister Golden Hair" is a song written by Gerry Beckley and recorded by the band America for their fifth album Hearts (1975). It was their second single to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, remaining in the top position for just one week.[2]


The lyrics were largely inspired by the works of Jackson Browne. Beckley commented, "[Jackson Browne] has a knack, an ability to put words to music, that is much more like the L.A. approach to just genuine observation as opposed to simplifying it down to its bare essentials... I find Jackson can depress me a little bit, but only through his honesty; and it was that style of his which led to a song of mine, "Sister Golden Hair," which is probably the more L.A. of my lyrics... [It] was one of the first times I used 'ain't' in a song, but I wasn't making an effort to. I was just putting myself in that frame of mind and I got those kind of lyrics out of it."[3] Although the song is a message from a man to his lover, explaining that he still loves her despite being not ready for marriage, the title was initially inspired by the mothers of all three members of the group, all of whom were blondes.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

"Sister Golden Hair" has been covered by New Jersey-based band Midtown as well as Portland, Oregon-based band The Dandy Warhols, released as a bonus track on their ...Earth to the Dandy Warhols... album. Andrew McMahon also covered "Sister Golden Hair" as a bonus track to his first solo EP, The Pop Underground. Declan Galbraith remade "Sister Golden Hair" for his 2007 album You and Me. Ilse DeLange features a performance of the song on her 2009 concert album Live in Ahoy. Arto Sotavalta (fi) had a 1978 single of the Finnish rendering "Sisar Hento Valkoinen" for which Sotavalta was the lyricist: an alternate Finnish rendering entitled "Voi Mua Poika Rukkaa" was recorded by Gulliver (fi) for their 1978 album Ou jee. An act from Spain, "Spanic",[4] recorded an electronic version in 1993. It spent 7 weeks in the Dutch Top 40 reaching #7. Matthew Kahler covered the song on his album "Out of the Blue" (2002). Perhaps best known for his live albums with Shawn Mullins ("Jeff's Last Dance Volume 1 - 1995 and Volume 2 - 1995), Kahler's version of "Sister Golden Hair" is a pretty straight-forward and faithful interpretation of America's original.

The song featured in the 2001 episode of The Sopranos, "Another Toothpick".[5]

Chart positions[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 28
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[7] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 1
US Easy Listening (Billboard)[9] 28
Preceded by
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Denver
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 14, 1975
Succeeded by
"Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille


  1. ^ "Explore: Soft Rock | Top Songs | AllMusic". 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  2. ^ "The Hot 100 : Jun 14, 1975 | Billboard Chart Archive". Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ Corbett, John (May 29, 2004). America Revisited - Part 3,
  4. ^
  5. ^ Fretts, Bruce (April 3, 2001). "Room to Rome". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ " – America – Sister Golden Hair". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  7. ^ " – America – Sister Golden Hair". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "America Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for America. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "America Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]