In Search of Amelia Earhart

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In Search of Amelia Earhart
Plainsong 1972.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1972
GenreCountry rock/Folk rock
ProducerSandy Roberton
Ian Matthews chronology
Tigers Will Survive
In Search of Amelia Earhart
Valley Hi
Plainsong chronology
In Search of Amelia Earhart
On Air
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars [1]

In Search of Amelia Earhart is the 1972 album by Plainsong, a band formed by country rock/folk rock musician Ian Matthews and Andy Roberts.

Ian Matthews played in four different incarnations within three years. He had left Fairport Convention for his own band, Matthews' Southern Comfort, put out two solo LPs for Vertigo Records, and then started the band Plainsong.

It is probably fair to say that In Search of Amelia Earhart is the pinnacle of Matthews' work in the 1970s. Working with producer Sandy Roberton (Hard Meat, Steeleye Span, Shirley Collins), Ian and bandmates, notably Andy Roberts who shared vocals on the album, created an atypical British folk album conceived around the idea of the legends surrounding Amelia Earhart and her supposed demise.

Matthews had read a book by Fred Goerner hypothesizing that Earhart and her flying companion Frederick Noonan had crashed around the Japanese held Marshall Island area and been taken prisoner by the Japanese on Saipan, in the Marianas, in 1937. Their plane had supposedly been outfitted with aerial cameras and had a bigger fuel tank than anyone outside of the US government knew. After being grilled by Japanese interrogators Earhart would perish of dysentery, and Noonan was beheaded by the Japanese.

Not all of the songs on the album are directly about Amelia Earhart. But the album carries that somber, mellow tone in which so much great folk music of the early ’70s was in touch. Many of the songs are about seeing and reaching for light, whether they be the light of day or the light of death. So in a way the album is more about the way people felt about, cared about and thought about Amelia Earhart and her death. That she is still considered a heroine of aviation and a distinctly American hero keeps the mystery of what happened to her in the greater cultural imagination.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "For the Second Time" (Ian Matthews) - 3:51
  2. "Yo Yo Man" (Rick Cunha, Marty Cooper) - 2:13
  3. "Louise" (Paul Siebel) - 3:18
  4. "Call the Tune" (Ian Matthews) - 5:22
  5. "Diesel on My Tail" (Jim Fagan) - 2:03
  6. "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight" (Dave McEnery) - 4:05
  7. "I'll Fly Away" (Albert E. Brumley) - 2:03
  8. "True Story of Amelia Earhart" (Ian Matthews) - 4:32
  9. "Even the Guiding Light" (Ian Matthews) - 4:12
  10. "Side Roads" (Ian Matthews) - 3:29
  11. "Raider" (Jerry Yester, Judy Henske) - 4:32


  • Ian Matthews - guitar, vocals
  • Andy Roberts - guitar, Kriwaczek string organ, dulcimer, vocals
  • Dave Richards - guitar, vocals
  • Bob Ronga - bass, vocals
  • Martin Jenkins - mandolin, cello, mandola
  • Dave Mattacks - drums (4)
  • Timi Donald - drums


  • Producer: Sandy Roberton
  • Recording Engineer: Jerry Boys
  • Art Direction: n/a
  • Photography: Jeremy Ensor
  • Liner Notes: Fred Goerner


  1. ^ Hartenbach, Brett. In Search of Amelia Earhart at AllMusic