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"Ventura Highway" is a popular 1972 song by the
rock 'n' roll band "America" from its album, Homecoming.
The vocalist Dewey Bunnell has said that the lyric
"alligator lizards in the air" in the song is a reference to the
shapes of clouds in the sky.  Bunnell
also explained in "America"'s booklet for the boxed-set, "Highway
Highlight", that the song is "about leaving," Dewey adds. "It
reminds me of the time I lived in Omaha as a kid and how we'd walk
through cornfields and chew on pieces of grass. There were cold
winters, and I had images of going to California. So I think in the
song I'm talking to myself, frankly: 'How long you gonna stay here,
Joe?' I really believe that 'Ventura Highway' has the most lasting
power of all my songs. It's not just the words — the song and the
track have a certain fresh, vibrant, optimistic quality that I can
still respond to.
"That's Gerry and Dan doing a harmony on two guitars on the
intro. I remember us sitting in a hotel room, and I was playing the
chords, and Gerry got that guitar line, and he and Dan worked out
that harmony part. That's really the hook of the song." The song
also contains the phrase "purple rain," later the title of a Prince
song, although it is not known if there is actually any
The song "Ventura Highway" went on to become a #8 single for
"America", and a song that has endured in people's hearts and mings
long past its publication, unlike many other songs that are "here
today, gone tomorrow". "Ventura Highway" won many fans, including
the pro-wrestler-turned-politician, Jesse Ventura: "We went and played at Governor Jesse Ventura's
inaugural out in Minneapolis. He asked us to — his wife is a horse
lady, and she'd always loved 'A Horse With No
Name,' and he had adopted this name, 'Ventura'. So when he put
together his cast of characters for his big inaugural celebration,
he wanted us to come and play two songs, which we did."
Both this song and its album were recorded in the studio next to
who was then recording his classic album, Innervisions.
This song was sampled in 2001 by Janet Jackson for
her hit single "Someone to Call My Lover".