I am always amused when publications or websites do those “What ever happened to?” stories about bands from the 1970’s or 1980’s. I admit it, I usually click through 20 or 30 slides before I get bored. What annoys me a little is when the writers don’t take time to do more research. I read on recently on one-hit wonders from that era. The slide for Starland Vocal Band (pictured), often refered to in the 1970’s as the “American ABBA”, was just such a slide. So I will do what the authors of that list did not do, and tell the rest of the story…
In mid December of 1970, long before the days of the Starland Vocal Band, Bill and Taffy Danoff were a duo performing as Fat City. They opened a show at the historic Cellar Door in Washington DC. The headliner was a then little known folk singer named John Denver.
The three hung out in the Danoff’s apartment after the show and Bill and Taffy shared with Denver a song they had been working on that they hoped to pitch to Johnny Cash (who they had previously met at a gig). Denver loved the song and wanted it for himself, so he helped them shift some lyrics around to better fit his vocal style.
When Denver returned to the Cellar Door for another gig a week later, he invited the Danoffs to perform the song with him. The three had to read the lyrics off handwritten notes as they had not rehearsed.
When Denver subsequently recorded the song for an album in 1971, the Danoffs were asked to sing background vocals.
Take Me Home, Country Roads.
Not only did the song become Denver’s signature hit, it was covered by multiple artists, including a 2001 cover by Dutch band Hermes House Party that went platinum (500,000 sales).
As recently as last week, the digital version of the original John Denver version of the song was still selling 3,000 or so copies PER WEEK, and has racked-up more than 1.5 million digital downloads.
So the real answer to “What ever happened to?” is, in this case at least, they got rich and lived happily ever after!