During the Album Era (mid 1960s-mid 2000s), the LP was the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption. Some bands recorded just one album during their time and, whether popular or not, they are the so-called one album wonders.
The focus of this edition of one album wonders is United States of America, a band formed and led by Joseph Byrd for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Their sole album, United States of America, only reached 181 on the Billboard charts after its released but has in the years since achieved well-deserved cult status.
Byrd was a composer born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Tucson, Arizona. In Arizona he’d played in various pop, country, and jazz ensembles before moving to California to attend Stanford University. At Stanford he met avant-garde composer La Monte Young. After relocating to New York, La Monte Young and Yoko Ono curated a series of performances, the Chambers Street loft concerts, which featured pieces by Henry Flynt, Jackson Mac Low, and Byrd -- part of the embryonic art scene which would eventually emerge as the Fluxus movement.