Willie Leacox

William Robert Leacox was born in Shenandoah, Iowa on March 31st, 1947. In the Leacox family various members were playing drums. So it was not unusual that Willie Leacox started playing the drums too.

While at school he started playing with bands. One of these bands in the sixties was called the ECHOES. They were rather successful at talent shows in Omaha, Nebraska.

ECHOES 63
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
?

gtr/vcl
?

gtr/vcl
?

bs

The next band Willie Leacox was playing with were the GREEN GIANTS. He stayed with them until 1965.

GREEN GIANTS 63 - 65
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
Jim
Hulster

gtr/vcl
Bob
Biers

vcl
John
Gibson

bs

Willie Leacox played in some more bands during his high school time and he also got professional training. At Washburn University Willie Leacox majored in piano. He also played drums in various groups at college.

One of the bands he was in during his college years was called the JERMS. This group even released a single in 1968

JERMS 68
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
?

gtr/vcl
?

gtr/vcl
Don
Dachenhausen

bs

JERMS single
1968: JERMS - ? b/w ? (Single; ?)


In 1973 a friend of Willie Leacox told him that he should audition for the job as drummer for the group AMERICA. Willie Leacox bought the two albums that AMERICA had released by then and learned the drum parts. During the audition he knocked AMERICA and their management off and of course he got the job.

George Martin accepted to produce the next album in England. During this time AMERICA met Willie Leacox, a drummer who really fit into the group. Now AMERICA was able to play all instruments they needed.

AMERICA 3 73 - 75
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Dan
Peek

gtr/kybds/
vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

With George Martin the group was able to become superstars. He gave all the freedom the group needed to them but when it came to the final arrangements he helped with all his experience. The first result of their cooperation was the album "Holiday". The album was the biggest success of AMERICA up to that point. Their next joint album "Hearts" repeats the success and the single "Sister Golden Hair" climbs the charts all over the world. When the record company decided to release a "Best Of..." album in 1975 ("History Of America") George Martin remixed some of their older recordings to make them sound fresher. For the next years AMERICA were either playing concerts or recording new material. The group seemed to be everywhere.

AMERICA singles
1974: AMERICA - Tin Man (Dewey Bunnell) b/w In The Country (Dan Peek) (Warner Brothers 7839)
1974: AMERICA - Lonely People (Dan & Catherine Peek) b/w Mad Dog (Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers WBS 8048)
1975: AMERICA - Sister Golden Hair (Gerry Beckley) b/w Midnight ((Dewey Bunnell / Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers WBS 8086)
1975: AMERICA - Con Tu Pelo Tan Dorado (Gerry Beckley / J. M. Pater) b/w Company (Dewey Bunnell) (E: Hispa Vox 45-1287 (SN))
1975: AMERICA - Daisy Jane (Gerry Beckley) b/w Tomorrow (Dan Peek) (Warner Brothers WBS 8118)
1975: AMERICA - Daisy Jane (Gerry Beckley) b/w Woman Tonight (Dan Peek) (Warner Brothers)
1975: AMERICA - Woman Tonight (Dan Peek) b/w Bell Tree (Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers WBS 8157)
1976: AMERICA - Simple Life (Dan Peek) b/w A Horse With No Name (Dewey Bunnell) (JPN: Warner Brothers P-101W)

AMERICA album
1974: AMERICA - Holiday (Warner Brothers K 56 045)
1975: AMERICA - Hearts (Warner Brothers BS 2852)

In 1975 David Dickey did not want to go to Europe with AMERICA so he was temporarily replaced by Calvin Samuels, who had played with CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG in the early seventies. During their tour of Europe AMERICA also plays in the GERMAN TV show "Musikladen". This concert is released on a special video CD and on an audio CD in 1995. The concerts is also released on DVD 2001.

AMERICA 4 75
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Dan
Peek

gtr/kybds/
vcl
Calvin
Samuels

bs
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

AMERICA album
1975: AMERICA - Horse With No Name (Mastertone MM501) (Video CD + Audio CD of German Musikladen concert)

AMERICA DVD
1975: AMERICA - Musikladen Live (Radio Bremen 4 031778 120078) (released 2001)

After their return to America David Dickey returned to the group just in time to record the album "Hideaway".

AMERICA 5 75 - 76
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Dan
Peek

gtr/kybds/
vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

AMERICA singles
1976: AMERICA - Today's The Day (Dan Peek) b/w Hideaway Part 2 (Dewey Bunnell) (Warner Brothers WBS 8212)
1976: AMERICA - Today's The Day (Dan Peek) b/w Amber Cascades (Dewey Bunnell) (Warner Brothers)
1976: AMERICA - Amber Cascades (Dewey Bunnell) b/w Who Loves You (Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers WBS 8238)
1976: AMERICA - She's A Liar (Gerry Beckley) b/w She's Beside You (Dan Peek) (Warner Brothers)

AMERICA album
1976: AMERICA - Hideaway (Warner Brothers WPCP 4791)

In 1976 Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek added Jim Calire (keyboards and saxophone) and Tom Walsh (percussion) to the line up. This new augmented group followed George Martin to Hawaii, to spent holidays and to record their next album at the same time.

AMERICA 6 76 - 77
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Dan
Peek

gtr/kybds/
vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
Jimmy
Calire

kybds/sax
Tom
Walsh

pcs

AMERICA singles
1977: AMERICA - God Of The Sun (Gerry Beckley) b/w Down To The Water (Dewey Bunnell) (Warner Brothers 8373)
1977: AMERICA - Don't Cry Baby (Dan Peek) b/w Monster (Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers)
1977: AMERICA - Slow Down (Dan Peek) b/w Sarah (Gerry Beckley) (Warner Brothers)

AMERICA album
1977: AMERICA - Harbor (Warner Brothers WPCP 4792)

After another tour Dan Peek left AMERICA in 1977 to start a solo career. AMERICA continued as a six piece unit.

AMERICA 7 77 - 78
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
Jimmy
Calire

kybds/sax
Tom
Walsh

pcs

During another tour in 1977, their first without Dan Peek, they recorded an album, which was released later on as "America Live".

AMERICA album
1977: AMERICA - Live (Warner Brothers 56434)

Willie Leacox did some session work in the seventies.

Willie Leacox sessions
1977: Ian Matthews - Some Days You Eat the Bear and Some Days the Bear Eats You (Elektra 75078)
1977: SILVERADO - Taking It All In Stride (RCA 12421)
1979: L. J. Johnson - The Best of L.J. Johnson: My Destination Is Love (Hot Productions 67)
1980: Angelo - Midnight Prowl (Fantasy 9554)

At the beginning of 1978 Mike Woods joined AMERICA as an additional guitar player.

AMERICA 8 78 - 80
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs
Jimmy
Calire

kybds/sax
Tom
Walsh

pcs

During their lenghty tours the group was able to develope their own style. Jimmy Calire, who did not only play the keyboards but also added some fine saxophone playing, refreshed the music of AMERICA. The first release featuring the guitar of Mike Woods was a recording of the old MAMAS AND PAPAS song"California Dreaming", which they recorded for the doundtrack to the film of the same name. The live album was the last album AMERICA had to give to Warner Brothers. In 1978 Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley started to look for a new recording contract. Finally they signed a contract with Capitol Records. After signing the contract they went into a recording studio to record their first album for the new label. The album was released in 1979.

AMERICA recording
1978: AMERICA - California Dreaming (John & Michelle Phillips) (released on the soundtrack album "v.a. - California Dreaming"; American International AILP 3001)

AMERICA singles
1979: AMERICA - California Dreaming (John & Michelle Phillips) b/w ? (American International AI 700)
1979: AMERICA - Only Game In Town (Casey Kelly / Julie Didier / Lewis Anderson) b/w High In The City (Gerry Beckley / Dewey Bunnell) (Capitol 4752)
1979: AMERICA - All My Life (Gerry Beckley) b/w One Morning (Dewey Bunnell) (Capitol 4777)
1979: AMERICA - All Around (Gerry Beckley / Dewey Bunnell) b/w 1960 (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol 4817)

AMERICA album
1979: AMERICA - Silent Letter (Capitol 064-85 917)
1979: AMERICA - Live In Central Park (Pioneer) (Laser Disc)

AMERICA DVD
1979: AMERICA - Live In Central Park (EMI 724354 464294)

In 1980 Jim Calire and Tom Walsh left the group. AMERICA continued as a quintet. When the cooperation with George Martin also ended in 1980 Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley wanted to try a new way of recording. They did not bring their backing band to the studio but selected well known musicians to accompany them. Willie Leacox was the only group member to help a little bit with his percussion work. Matthew McCauley and Fred Mollin were producing the sessions. The resulting album "Alibi" had the typical music of AMERICA, but on the other hand the album sounded different, because their were no orchestra sounds.

AMERICA singles
1980: AMERICA - You Could've Been The One (J. Batdorf / S. Sheridan) b/w Catch That Train (Dewey Bunnell) (Capitol)
1980: AMERICA - Hangover (Dewey Bunnell) b/w One In A Million (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol)
1980: AMERICA - Survival (Gerry Beckley) b/w Only Game In Town (Casey Kelly / Julie Didier / Lewis Anderson) (Capitol)
1980: AMERICA - Right Back To Me (Gerry Beckley) b/w ? (Capitol)

AMERICA album
1980: AMERICA - Alibi (Capitol 064-86 201)

The recording experiences led to the idea to transfer the new fresh sound to the concerts. Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley started to restructure AMERICA. Willie Leacox and Mike Woods stayed in the new line up but David Dickey who wanted to record his own compositions left AMERICA and joined BLUE STEEL.

AMERICA 9 80 - 81
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
David
Dickey

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

For the next tour of AMERICA Bryan Garofalo joined the group on a temporarily basis. But due to the fact that he was very busy with all the studio commitments he had, he could not join AMERICA permanently.

AMERICA 10 1981
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Bryan
Garofalo

bs
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

In 1981 Brad Palmer, who had worked with Andrew Gold and Wendy Waldman in the past, joined AMERICA as their new bass player.

AMERICA 11 81 - 2002
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Brad
Palmer

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

For the next recordings all members of AMERICA went to the recording studio, but Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley also used many session musicians for the recordings. The same was repeated for all of the studio recordings of the eighties. If one listens to the live recordings, which were recorded during the eighties ("King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents America In Concert" 1982 and "America In Concert" 1985), it is difficult to understand the reasons for this decision, as the live recordings in most cases sounded better than the studio recordings.

AMERICA singles
1982: AMERICA - You Can Do Magic (Russ Ballard) b/w Even The Score (Dewey Bunnell) (Capitol 5142)
1982: AMERICA - Right Before Your Eyes (Ian Thomas) b/w Inspector Mills (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol 5177)
1982: AMERICA - Jody (Russ Ballard) b/w Inspector Mills (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol)
1983: AMERICA - The Border (Russ Ballard / Dewey Bunnell) b/w Sometimes Lovers (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol 5236)
1983: AMERICA - Cast The Spirit (Russ Ballard) b/w My Dear (Dewey Bunnell) (Capitol 5275)
1984: AMERICA - Special Girl (E. Schwartz / D. Tyson) b/w Unconditional Love (Gerry Beckley) (Capitol 5398)
1984: AMERICA - (Can't Fall Asleep To A) Lullaby (Dewey Bunnell / Steve Perry / Bill Mumy / Robert Haimer) b/w Fallin' Off The World (Dewey Bunnell / Bill Mumy) (Capitol 5430)

AMERICA album
1982: AMERICA - View From The Ground (Capitol 064-400 111)
1982: AMERICA - The Last Unicorn (Virgin 205 732)
1982: AMERICA - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents America In Concert (King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 07108 80012) (released 1995)
1983: AMERICA - Your Move (Capitol 064 7122771)
1984: AMERICA - Perspective (Capitol 064-24 0216)
1985: AMERICA - In Concert (Capitol 064-24 0385)

After 1985 AMERICA seemed to have retired. There still were a few concerts but it should remain quiet till 1993. Rhino Records had asked AMERICA to record some new songs for a "Best Of..." compilation, which they were planning. "Encore" featured some new recordings. The five musicians really enjoyed their new cooperation in the studio and so they decided to become active again. In 1994 they released their first new album in almost ten years - "Hourglass". The next album was released in 1998 under the title "Human Nature". In 2000 Rhino released a 3-CD-retrospective covering the whole career of the group. The compilation even had some unreleased demo recordings. In 2001 another "Best of..." album was released and again this album had some new recordings. In 2002 AMERICA returned to their well known creativity. During the summer they recorded a christmas album together with Andrew Gold. Andrew Gold did not only produce the album but he also played all of the instruments.

AMERICA singles
1994: AMERICA - Young Moon (Dewey Bunnell / Gerry Beckley) (American Grammophone)
1994: AMERICA - Hope (Gerry Beckley) (American Grammophone)
1994: AMERICA - Last Two To Dance ( ? ) (?)
1998: AMERICA - From A Moving Train (Gerry Beckley) (Oxygene Records)
1998: AMERICA - Wednesday Morning (Gerry Beckley) ( Oxygene Records)
1998: AMERICA - Moment To Moment (Gerry Beckley / Phil Galdston) (Oxygene Records)

AMERICA album
1991: AMERICA - Encore (Rhino Records 8122 70529 2)
1994: AMERICA - Hourglass (American Grammophone 007198 767087)
1998: AMERICA - Human Nature (Oxygene Records 324590004 2)
2000: AMERICA - Highway / 30 Years Of America (Rhino Records 8122 79887 2)
2001: AMERICA - Complete Greatest Hits (Rhino Records)
2002: AMERICA - Holiday Harmony (Rhino Records 8122 74498)

AMERICA DVD
1999: AMERICA - In Concert / Ohne Filter Live (InAkustik 07787 65077)

When AMERICA returned to the stage in January 2003 the bass player was Trent Stroh. Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley did not want to rush things up, so they asked some friends to sit in. Trent Stroh played with AMERICA in January and February 2003.

AMERICA 13 1/03 - 2/03
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Trent
Stroh

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

In February and March 2003 AMERICA played concerts with Chas Frichtell as their bass player, but he also was just a friend sitting in.

AMERICA 14 2/03 - 3/03
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Chas
Frichtell

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

In April 2003 the group found their new bass player. In an interview with John Beaudin of Smooth Jazz Canada Gerry Beckley made some remarks concerning the bass players in AMERICA: "We have had an interesting few months because we have had a couple of good friends filling in and didn't really stop in our touring schedule. Both Chas (Frichtell) and Trent (Stroh) who have been filling in have just been fantastic and any time there is new blood it adds a little energy. We then went through the audition process and picked a guy named Richard Campbell and he is no secret to L.A. players as he was with Natalie Cole for years and Three Dog Night."

AMERICA 15 4/03 - 4/05
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Richard
Campbell

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs

During the world tour of 2004 AMERICA recorded the concert at the famous Sydney Opera House. This concert was released in Australia on DVD. In 2006 AMERICA started to sell a DVD at concerts. This DVD covered a concert in Mexico, which was recorded the previous year. It is not known, whether this DVD will see a world wide official release.

AMERICA DVD
2004: AMERICA - Live At The Sydney Opera House (Roadshow Entertainment1042389)
2005: AMERICA - Live From Arena Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Early 2006 AMERICA went back into a studio and started to record their next studio album. They got a pair of producers and planned to complete the album in time for a late summer release.

AMERICA 16 4/05 - ...
Gerry
Beckley

gtr/pno/vcl
Dewey Bunnell
gtr/vcl
Mike
Woods

gtr/vcl
Richard
Campbell

bs/vcl
Willie
Leacox

dr/pcs