Song Of The Day 7/7/2014: Starland Vocal Band - "Rear View Mirror"



Sub-Hit Wonders – The '70s: Nobody embodies the white-hot mania of one-hit wonderhood in the '70s like the Starland Vocal Band, for many reasons. Number One: Music like the kind they made could simply not exist after 1979, for the same reason their mentor John Denver put it in second gear when he declined to cover "White Riot."

Number Two: "Afternoon Delight." The naughty little #1 hit about knockin' moccasins in the middle of the day defined them so strongly, anything else they would have done had no chance of picking up steam. After you have sex in the afternoon, you're pretty much done for the night. Well, maybe not if you're in a torrid, heat-generating love affair in which you're possessed by lust and calisthenics for twelve hours straight, but that happens very infrequently, usually only in foreign movies, and especially not if you're a country-pop band.

And Number Three: "Afternoon Delight," and "Afternoon Delight" alone, earned the Starland Vocal Band the Grammy for Best New Artist that year, because back then the Grammys were a Girl Scout cookie-selling contest with more sculpted awards.

Not that SVB didn't try to extend their career a little, and an honestly not-bad song came from such toils. "Rear View Mirror" was the title track of the 1977 follow-up to Starland Vocal Band, and you can hear them trying ever so hard to cuddle up next to the doldrums. It's a tad thick on the keep-your-emotional-distance harmonies, but its disaffection is sort of catchy. It's like a dreary little postscript to their signature hit: Now they're just gonna drive all around the country as the royalty checks start to thin out. At least the car's paid for.



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