Alibi (America album)
|Studio album by America|
|Released||August 15, 1980|
|Producer||Matthew McCauley, Fred Mollin|
Prior to their second album on Capitol, Bunnell and Beckley amicably parted ways with George Martin in an effort to try a new musical direction. For the new album, the group utilized two producers -- Matthew McCauley and Fred Mollin. While Silent Letter was recorded by Bunnell, Beckley and their backing band (Willie Leacox, Michael Woods, David Dickey and Jim Calire), Alibi was a virtual roll-call of the burgeoning West Coast music scene. The recording included musicians such as Timothy B. Schmit, Waddy Wachtel, Mike Baird, Lee Sklar, Richard Page, Norton Buffalo and Steve Lukather.
Alibi, released in August 1980, was the second America album not to feature a picture of the band members on the cover. (The first was a Kauai sunset photo on "Harbor," where that album was recorded.) Instead, the cover sported a picture of a doll's head in the foreground of a desert landscape. Dewey Bunnell said he chose the picture while looking through the archives of acclaimed photographer Henry Diltz. The album was also unusual in the era of vinyl primacy in that it did not have numbered sides. Because the group and Capitol disagreed on which side would be side one, they agreed on a compromise: the sides would be labelled "Our Side" and "Their Side."
The album only peaked at number 142 on the Billboard album chart in the US. No singles charted in the US, but in Italy "Survival" was a top 5 hit and the whole album peaked at 2: this happened only on the first weeks of 1982, after the band took part, as special guest, at the Sanremo Music Festival.
This album, had its release fallen during the Warner Bros years, could have been a huge success. It has several solid fast and slow songs and displayed the broad talents of America. Along with Survival, Might Be Your Love, Hangover, Valentine and I Do Believe In you were catchy and rockier songs that certainly deserved airplay. Hangover did on many FM stations. America may have chosen the wrong single to be released on this album. The unusual album cover design, along with a new band logo, may have been a factor in the disappointing sales. Their follow up release would return to more traditional art direction, including the use of their classic logo.
Although Alibi was yet another commercial disappointment for America, the band's fortunes would dramatically improve with their next album, View From The Ground (1982), which included the Top Ten smash, "You Can Do Magic."
McCauley would later produce several tracks on America's Perspective album in 1984, while Mollin returned in 2011 to produce America's cover album, Back Pages.
In his Allmusic retrospective review, music critic Steven Thomas Erlewine summarized that "Essentially, the album picks up where Silent Letter left off, meaning that it's a set of pleasant soft pop, but it's slicker and slighter than its predecessor." He criticized the album's uneven content and thin production, holding up its successor, View from the Ground, as a superior work in the same vein.
Our Side (Side One)
|2.||"Might Be Your Love"||Dewey Bunnell||3:46|
|3.||"Catch that Train"||Beckley, Bunnell||3:03|
|4.||"You Could've Been the One"||John Batdorf, Sue Sheridan||3:08|
|5.||"I Don't Believe in Miracles"||Russ Ballard||3:23|
Their Side (Side Two)
|1.||"I Do Believe in You"||Steve George, John Lang, Jerry Manfredi, Richard Page||3:45|
|3.||"Right Back to Me"||Beckley||3:30|
|6.||"One in a Million"||Beckley||2:52|
- Gerry Beckley – guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Dewey Bunnell – guitar, drums, vocals
- Steve Lukather – guitar
- Fred Mollin – guitar, percussion, background vocals
- Dean Parks – guitar
- Waddy Wachtel – guitar
- Matthew McCauley – synthesizer, background vocals
- James Newton Howard – keyboards, synthesizer
- Jai Winding – keyboards, synthesizer
- Norton Buffalo – harmonica
- Leland Sklar – bass guitar
- Michael Baird – drums
- Willie Leacox – percussion
- J. D. Souther – background vocals
- Tom Kelly – background vocals
- Richard Page – background vocals
- Timothy B. Schmit – background vocals