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  MusicBiography: Musical Groups

clockwise from top--Taffy, Bill, Margot, JonStarland Vocal Band

"Afternoon Delight"

In August of 1967, Washington, D.C., singer/songwriters Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert teamed up to form Fat City. The acoustic duo spent the next several years working Washington-area nightclubs, often performing songs they wrote together. The duo eventually recorded two albums -- Reincarnation (1969) and Welcome to Fat City (1971). Bill and Taffy also married during this period.

In 1971, John Denver recorded "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Written by Bill and Taffy, the song became Denver's first hit (Bill & Taffy sang the back-up vocals for it as well). The duo subsequently became a regular opening act for Denver, as Bill & Taffy.

In 1974, Bill & Taffy hired 18-year-old vocalist/keyboardist Jon Carroll as a studio musician for their Aces album. The duo was so impressed with Carroll that they decided to form a new group, and, with the addition of singer Margot Chapman, the Starland Vocal Band was born. The band was signed by John Denver's Windsong label soon after.

their debut albumStarland Vocal Band's self-titled debut album was released in 1976. Although it was a soft rock album and the music trend at the time was disco, Starland Vocal Band peaked at #20 on the album charts, thanks to its #1 hit song "Afternoon Delight." Written by Danoff and named after the late-afternoon appetizer menu at the restaurant Clyde's Of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., the lyrics leave little doubt as to what the song is about while not being so overt as to be banned from radio play. This careful manipulation of double entendre, combined with the sensual four-part harmony provided by the two married couples (Carroll and Chapman had married by then), led to five Grammy Award nominations; the band won two, for Best New Artist and Best Vocal Arrangement. It also led to the short-lived comedy/variety program The Starland Vocal Band Show, which included Mark Russell, Jeff Altman and David Letterman amongst its cast members; the show debuted on the CBS network on July 31, 1977, and ended its 5-episode run on August 28, 1977.

Starland Vocal Band went on to release three more albums -- Rear View Mirror (1977), Late Nite Radio (1978), and 4 X 4 (1980) -- but never came close to matching the success of their debut album. The band broke up in 1981, and all four individual members went their separate ways (both couples also divorced after the break-up). They have reunited for several individual occasions throughout the years, including a 1998 John Denver memorial concert.

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This page was last updated on 12/28/2014.

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