What Exactly Was The “Horse With No Name” In America’s Hit Song?


“A Horse with No Name” is one of America‘s best and most well-known hits of all time. Released in 1971, it dominated the charts in Canada, Finland, and the United States. While it only reached moderate success it first, it soon became a hit, rising to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the album in which it was released on rose to Platinum status.

The Recording Industry Association of America declared the song certified gold and has become one of the best songs in folk rock history. But what exactly is the horse with no name? Everyone is dying to know!


america the band
Wikimedia Commons

Band member Dewey Bunnell revealed that the song was originally called “Desert Song” based on the desert scenery that he encountered when his father was stationed at an Air Force base in Santa Barbara County, California. So, even though the song is no longer called “Desert Song,” it’s undoubtedly got a lot to do with a desert scenario based on lyrics within the song, keeping true to its origin:

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound


a horse with no name record

Bunnell also says that the “horse” in the song, “represents a means of entering a place of tranquility, and this tranquil place was best represented by the desert, which sounded pretty good to him while he was stuck in rainy England,” according to Song Facts.

Unfortunately, Bunnell says he has no answers as to why the horse had no name and why it went free after nine days. With that being said, it’s completely up to the listener’s interpretation!

america the band

Did you know that this classic song was actually banned from several U.S. radio stations? The reason behind this is because allegedly, “horse” is a slang term for the drug heroin. The band denied these rumors that the song ever had to do with or was about drug use. That’s just one of the biggest theories surrounding the song!

Despite this, the song continues to be a massive hit even today.

america the band
Associated Press

Be sure to SHARE this article if you love the band America and all their hit songs, including “A Horse with No Name”!

Check out the music video for this song below:

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