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Wonderfully Awful: The 70’s Seduction


A blogumn by Robin Rosenzweig

Last year for my birthday, I threw a 70’s fondue party featuring an entire soundtrack of mellow gold songs from the era. When prepping the playlist, a pattern formed –- though 70’s songs are often about sex, they are not at all sexy. Here are some examples of 70’s sex songs with questionable merit as panty droppers, both now and back in the day:

Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight:

When I was little, my family had a player piano, and one such gem we had on piano roll was the Starland Vocal Band classic “Afternoon Delight.” I think it’s fair to say that by the age of 8, I had this song about daytime nookie mostly memorized – and had no clue what it was I was singing about while the piano keys plunked away on their own.

The dichotomy between sound and lyric is perhaps what makes this song such fun. Imagine what a different song we’d have if these rather blatant lyrics were sung by a sultry soul crooner:

Thinkin’ of you’s workin’ up my appetite/looking forward to a little afternoon delight.
Rubbin’ sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite/
and the thought of rubbin’ you is getting so exciting.

But instead of a hot R&B slow jam, we have a pleasant, sweet and – let’s face it – totally unsexy arrangement that sounds like it was composed by someone’s grandparents between the early bird special and a game of bridge.

That said, wholesome as they may seem, I’d bet that Starland Vocal Band’s dual husband/wife team were privy to more than their share of key parties in their day. Just sayin’.

More examples of The 70’s Seduction after the jump:

Rod Stewart – Tonight’s the Night:

With its sensual guitar riff, saxophone solo, and French mutterings, I can see how this was actually an effective seduction song for Rod Stewart back in 1976. But when Rod tells his “virgin child” not to say a word, or encourages her to spread her wings and let him come inside, or when he tells her to stay away from his backdoor (really?) – the vibe I get is more creepy than sexy. And though I could elaborate more, I’ll let the video tell the story. So draw the blinds, loosen up your frilly French gown, and watch as an oversized bow tie-wearing Rod Stewart turns on the charm. And although my reaction through much of this song – and video – goes from giggles to “eew eew eew”, I’ll let you ultimately decide if Rod Stewart is, indeed, sexy.

Boston – Let Me Take You Home Tonight:

A track from Boston’s self-titled debut album, this classic rock song should be commended for its over-the-top commitment to the seduction. “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” features singer Brad Delp  doing what he can to convince his special lady – or “mamma” as she’s referred to in the song – that despite the fact that he’s not like this and really is shy, she ought to come home with him where he will most assuredly show her sweet delights.

Delp’s argument gets down to brass tacks during the bridge, in which he says:

I dont wanna make excuses, I dont wanna lie/I just got to get loose with you tonight

But the clincher in this song is the big gospel ending, when Delp turns on the full-court press with the rest of the band chiming in on vocals and tambourines. By the time the key changes, “mamma” is either totally convinced, or so worn down that she can no longer resist. Either way, it’s a seduction success!