The Starland Vocal Band was among the many rock bands that ended up being a “one hit wonder.”
But their one hit — “Afternoon Delight” — not only became a popular song, it also embedded a new phrase into our language.
The single version of the song was released by RCA Records in April 1976.
It entered the Billboard Top 40 on June 5, 1976 and reached the official peak of pop music fame, No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, on July 10, 1976.
“Afternoon Delight” was written by band member Bill Danoff, a talented songwriter who had previously co-written another big hit with John Denver — “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
The lyrics of the catchy tune make it clear what “afternoon delight” is meant to suggest:
“Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight
My motto's always been when it’s right, it’s right
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night
When everything’s a little clearer in the light of day
And you know the night is always gonna be there any way
Sky rockets in flight!
Afternoon delight. A-a-afternoon delight.”
The success of the song quickly turned “afternoon delight” into a popular sex-related euphemism.
The original meaning, as intended by songwriter Danoff, referred to having sex in the afternoon with one’s spouse or steady partner.
In the 1980s, “afternoon delight” became shorthand for an adulterous lunchtime affair with someone other than a spouse or partner.
As Danoff has explained in interviews, the real origin of the phrase actually had nothing to do with sex.
He got it from Clyde’s Restaurant in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.), one of his favorite local hangouts in the early 1970s.
Clyde’s used the phrase as the title of it’s happy hour menu.
The words stuck in Danoff’s mind and inspired him to turn it into a term for a different type of daytime pleasure.
If the lyrics of “Afternoon Delight” are still somewhere in the back of your mind, click the video link at right and sing along with Will Ferrell and the cast of the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). They did a great version of the song…
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