(May 7, 1946, Springfield,
Bill Danoff (born William Danoff,
May 7, 1946, Springfield, Massachusetts) is an American songwriter
and singer. His best known song as a performer is "Afternoon
Delight", which Danoff performed as a member of the Starland Vocal
Band. As a songwriter, he also wrote or co-wrote hits for
John Denver, Emmylou Harris and
Doug and the Slugs.
Danoff and his then-wife, Taffy Nivert, wrote "I Guess He'd Rather
Be in Colorado" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads," both of which
were hits for John Denver. The latter song is the de facto state
song of West Virginia, although it has no official status as such
(and was written in a house in the Georgetown neighborhood of
Danoff has stated he had never been in West Virginia before writing
the song. He had even briefly considered using "Massachusetts"
rather than "West Virginia", as both four-syllable state names would
have fit the song's meter. Denver recorded about a dozen Danoff
compositions from 1972 through the end of his career.
On the strength of their track record as songwriters, Danoff and
Nivert recorded several albums before forming a group called the
Starland Vocal Band. It was this group which recorded "Afternoon
Delight", a #1 hit in 1976. On July 4, 1976 "Afternoon Delight" was
the number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Starland replaced Rhoda
with a half hour weekly series that same summer. Danoff and Nivert
were responsible for putting film director Robert Altman and
producer Jerry Weintraub together for the film, Nashville.
Danoff also worked with Emmylou Harris co-authoring "Boulder to
Birmingham" (one of Harris' better known compositions) with her.
This track was recorded by The Hollies in 1976, and became a Top 10
hit in New Zealand. In 1982, Danoff and fellow Starland Vocal Band
member Jon Carroll wrote "Who Knows How To Make Love Stay", a Top 40
Canadian hit for Doug and the Slugs.
Danoff is a graduate of Cathedral High School in Springfield,
Massachusetts, and of Georgetown University. In 1976, at the height
of Starland Vocal Band's and John Denver's popularity, they met with
current Cathedral High students and appeared together (Starland
Vocal Band opened for John Denver and they later performed together)
that night at a concert at the Springfield Civic Center.
In the fall of 2007 Danoff taught a songwriters course at his alma
mater, Georgetown University.