Daniel Amos started out as an acoustic quartet performing in bible studies and coffe shops through out So Cal, California. The band released their first eponymous album in 1976 and enlisted Ed McTaggart on drums. Previously, McTaggart had been the drummer for Bill Sprouse Jr's The Road Home.
By 1977, the band had begun to shed their country sound, with the album Shotgun Angel, which took some fans by surprise. Shotgun Angel was half country and half rock-opera. The 'Side 2' of the LP featured lush orchestrations and a string of rock songs linked together in a way that was reminiscent of The Beatles Sgt. Peppers album. The band even made a number of concert performances at this time with a full orchestra backing them.
By 1978 the band had recorded their first entirely rock effort, Horrendous Disc, with help from newly added percussionist, Alex MacDougall, and keyboardist Mark Cook. MacDougall is a well respected percussionist that has toured with Loggins and Messina, Leon Russell and The Beach Boys, among others. Cook had been the keyboardist for the Warner Brothers band Spring Canyon.
Horrendous Disc was delayed by the band's record label at the time, Larry Norman's Solid Rock Records, and was not seen on record store shelves until a week before the release of the band's newly recorded fourth album ¡Alarma in 1981. ¡Alarma was the first of a four part series of albums entitled The ¡Alarma! Chronicles, which also included the albums Doppelgänger, Vox Humana, and Fearful Symmetry. The band raised eyebrows on the tour that followed each release, by presenting a full miltimedia event complete with video screens sychronized to the music, something that was unusual in the early 1980s for any band. By the end of the series, new band members Tim Chandler and Greg Flesch joined the band to fill vacant positions previously held by Dieckmeyer and Chamberlain. Keyboardist Rob Watson would also occasionally join the band in the studio or on the road.
The band released Darn Floor-Big Bite in 1987, which to this day many fans consider to be one of their best albums. They began a followup in 1988 but abandoned it in favor of a chance to do something different. Many of the band members became The Swirling Eddies for a string of releases through the early 1990s.
In addition to recording several albums by The Swirling Eddies, the members of DA returned in 1991 with Kalhoun. 1993's MotorCycle followed, which also marked the return of Chamberlain, who would hang around long enough for two additional DA releases in the 1990s, Bibleland in 1994 and Songs of the Heart in 1995. Songs of the Heart was a concept album that followed a fictional couple on a trip down the historic Route 66. The concept was explored in greater detail in the 2002 "book set" entitled When Everyone Wore Hats.
In 1999, the band released all four parts of The ¡Alarma! Chronicles on CD packaged together in a 200 page hardcover book which featured color photos, interviews and the entire ¡Alarma! Chronicles story. The book collection, which is certainly an unusual release in the music world, received a lot of praise from music critics.
In 2001, DA released what many critics called their best album to date, Mr Buechner's Dream, named after author Frederick Buechner. The album also pays tribute to Walker Percy, T. S. Eliot, G. K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, Lewis Carroll, Dorothy L. Sayers, and other authors that have inspired DA's lyrics for years.