Afternoon Delight

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"Afternoon Delight"
Single by Starland Vocal Band
from the album Starland Vocal Band
Released April 1976
Format 7"
Recorded November 1975
Genre Folk rock, country pop, soft rock
Length 3:16
Label Windsong (US)
RCA (UK & Canada)
Writer(s) Bill Danoff
Producer(s) Milton Okun
Starland Vocal Band singles chronology
"Afternoon Delight"
"California Day"
Audio sample
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"Afternoon Delight" is a song recorded by Starland Vocal Band, featuring close harmony and sexually suggestive wordplay. It was written by Bill Danoff, one of the members of the band. It became a #1 U.S. Hot 100 single on July 10, 1976.[1] It also reached #1 in Canada and peaked at #5 in New Zealand. In Australia it was a #6 hit. (Adelaide radio station 5KA was first to pick up the single, making it #1 in South Australia.) In the UK, it reached #18 and was used as theme to a weekly show of the same title on London's Capital Radio, hosted by Duncan Johnson.

Background and writing[edit]

The title came from the happy hour menu at Clyde's restaurant in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.,[1] where Bill Danoff was eating with fellow bandmember Margot Chapman while his then-wife Taffy Danoff was undergoing surgery for cervical cancer.[2] Danoff enjoyed writing the song and downplayed the somewhat controversial lyrics, saying, "I didn't want to write an all-out sex song ... I just wanted to write something that was fun and hinted at sex."[1]

Cover versions[edit]

Concurrent with the Starland Vocal Band version, country singer Johnny Carver's cover went Top 10 on Billboard Hot Country Singles. In 1983, the Circle Jerks also covered it as one of the six covers on "Golden Shower of Hits (Jerks on 45)", which appears on their album Golden Shower of Hits. British experimental folk music band Current 93 used an industrial-style cover as an introduction to performances of their 2009 album. Claude François sang it in French as "Dimanche après-midi". The popular TV show Glee also covered it in their episode "Sexy", with Dianna Agron, Jayma Mays, Mark Salling, Lea Michele, and John Stamos singing.

Critical reaction[edit]

At the 19th Grammy Awards ceremony in 1977, "Afternoon Delight" received three nominations. It won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement for Voices [3] and was also nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Record of the Year.

In 2010 Billboard named "Afternoon Delight" the 20th sexiest song of all time.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Starland Vocal Band version[edit]

Johnny Carver version[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks 9
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 16

In popular culture[edit]

Since the original song's release, many works have alluded to or even featured "Afternoon Delight" or its suggestive lyrics, often ironically. Among them have been Cocktail ("Kokomo", sung by The Beach Boys), Glee (where it was mistaken for being a song about the dessert Angel Delight), Get a Life ("Chris Wins a Celebrity"), Good Will Hunting, PCU, Boogie Nights, Lost, The Rules of Attraction, The Spirit of '76, Starsky & Hutch, ER ("No Strings Attached", sung by Abby), Arrested Development (as part of a plot point in the episode "Afternoon Delight"), The Simpsons ("The Fat and the Furriest"), Rules of Engagement, Sports Night, Complete Savages ("Teen Things I Hate About You"), Ugly Betty, Family Guy, Malcolm in the Middle, South Park ("Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy"), Murphy Brown, Entourage, Warehouse 13 (Season 2 Episode 8), and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

On the December 7, 2013, episode of Saturday Night Live, as part of the opening monologue, comedian and host Paul Rudd performed a portion of the song a cappella with boy band musical guest One Direction, Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Steve Carell---in a fashion similar to the song in Anchorman---to promote Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

It appeared in a 2014 TV commercial for Taco Bell.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" by Eric Carmen
Canadian RPM number one single
July 31 - August 7, 1976
Succeeded by
"Got to Get You into My Life" by The Beatles
Preceded by
"Silly Love Songs" by Wings
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
July 10–17, 1976
Succeeded by
"Kiss and Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans