Comedians have an old game they sometimes play called “Not Funny, Funny, Very Funny.”
It’s fairly simple – name a category, and come up with something in that category that fits each of those labels.
For the 1970’s quartet Starland Vocal Band, the list would have gone like this:
Not Funny – Jon Carroll
Funny – Bill Danoff or Margot Chapman
Very Funny – Taffy Nivert
Taffy Nivert. Say that name and try not to smile. Taffy Nivert.
Taffy Nivert of the Starland Vocal Band. Doesn’t ring a bell? It should. After wisely changing their name from “Fat City,” Starland Vocal Band won the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1977 for their #1 single “Afternoon Delight,” which was recently also named the 20th sexiest song of all time by Billboard.
Yes, that list did include two songs from Rod Stewart in the top 10, but let’s ignore that for a moment. I think we can all just agree that “Afternoon Delight” is a fine – and yes, sexy – song.
The video – with its rhythmically superimposed fireworks and confrontational-looking vocal faceoffs – might not make a “20 sexiest” list for music videos, but remember that it was the 70’s, and this was 5 years before MTV existed. Not a bad effort.
“We got two of the five Grammys – one was Best New Artist. So that was basically the kiss of death and I feel sorry for everyone who’s gotten it since.” – Taffy Nivert
The band, which consisted of two husband-and-wife couples who divorced after the band’s demise, was never able to duplicate their early success, but “Afternoon Delight” was recently given new life after being featured in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Classy.
Most musicians would gladly trade in their entire career to make that one hit single. Bill and Taffy – who also co-wrote “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver – had two.
So perhaps she’s not bound for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but we’re glad to welcome one member to the Funny Names Hall of Fame. Welcome, Taffy Nivert.
Now stop smiling into your computer screen.