Single Stories: America, “Tin Man”
1974 was a “Tin Man” summer for America. Not for the country – although they seemed to like it well enough, based on its chart placing – but for the band.
Written by Dewey Bunnell, “Tin Man” appeared on America’s fourth album, HOLIDAY, which was released in June 1974. Like the album as a whole, the song was produced by George Martin, who also tinkled the ivories on the track, and it was about the Tin Woodman in The Wizard of Oz…except when it wasn’t. As Bunnell told Wesley Hyatt in an interview for The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits, “It’s sort of poetic license.”
In An American Band: The America Story, Bunnell’s bandmate Dan Peek called the song “quintessential Dewey – easy stream of consciousness with a major seventh acoustic bed,” and revealed that Bunnell actually begged the band not to record it. “Knowing Dewey, it was probably reverse psychology,” said Peek. “If it was, Gerry [Beckley] and I fell for it, insisting it was perfect for the album.”
It was a wise decision, as the band quickly discovered from watching the song’s chart success: not only was it was their fourth top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, but – as you may have deduced from the title of Hyatt’s book – it climbed all the way to the top spot on the Adult Contemporary / Easy Listening singles chart.
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