Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight

17th January 2023 · 1970s, 1976, Music

On the surface this Seventies oldie is the epitome of clean-cut middle-of-the-road soft rock schmaltz. Pause for a moment, though, and the words beneath those blissful harmonies are pure filth.

And although I was just discovering punk when it came out in 1976, I’m sure it was hard not to start singing along with one-hit wonders The Starland Vocal Band.

The wholesome-looking quartet started out as a husband/wife acoustic duo of Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, and released four albums together between 1969 and 1974 – two as Fat City and two more as Bill & Taffy.

But they first found fame as songwriters when they co-wrote Take Me Home, Country Roads, which became a huge hit for John Denver.

In the mid-Seventies they expanded to a quartet, adding the teenage Jon Carroll (initially brought in to play piano) and Margot Chapman, who would also become a couple.

This, their only hit under their own name, was on their self-titled debut album – released on Denver’s label Windsong – and topped the US singles chart, earning them two Grammys (beating Boston to the Best New Artist award).

The title came from a happy hour menu at a restaurant where Danoff and Chapman were eating in their hometown of Washington D.C. “I didn’t want to write an all-out sex song,” he said later. “I just wanted to write something that was fun and hinted at sex.”

There were no such concerns for The Circle Jerks when they recorded it for their covers album Golden Shower Of Hits (Jerks On 45). Or for the news crew in Anchorman when they sing it as a choir.

Unable to match their previous success, The Starland Vocal Band broke up in 1981 and Carroll and Chapman divorced later that year, followed by Danoff and Nivert in 1982.