Terry Huff and Special Delivery

Terry Huff and Special Delivery

    Originally called Act 1, the group Special Delivery was a rotating bunch of Washington D.C.-based singers that had a brief moment in the spotlight in 1976. The group had had a minor hit in the UK, but it was the introduction of lead singer, former DC cop Terry Huff, that brought the act to its zenith. 

    Fresh from a heartbreaking divorce that he contents was fueled by jealousy, Huff wrote the brilliant ballad "I Destroyed Your Love."  Lyrically aching, the six minute composition was only topped by Huff's high, sweet falsetto. The single (split up into parts for both sides of the 45) only made it halfway up the Soul charts, but it was an absolute gem that has had a continued life both as a symbol of Washington DC's soul music high point, but also as arguably one of the greatest sweet soul cuts of the 70s, with the appeal of some of the top Stylistics and Chi-Lites cuts.  It is still a regular on Urban Adult Contemporary radio more than three decades after its introduction. 

    Unfortunately, the recording of "I Destroyed Your Love" was a rocky process, with Huff and group founder George Parker at odds and the group on the verge of breaking up. So, for the follow up single,"The Lonely One," Huff recruited his brothers (with whom he had worked in a teenage singing group a decade earlier) to sing backing vocals.  It became an even bigger hit, flirting with the Soul Top 10.  But by the time of its chart peak and the corresponding release of the album of the same name (credited to Terry Huff and Special Delivery), Huff was out of the group. While there are various stories on the reason for the departure, Huff told us that his split with Special Delivery occurred two weeks before the release of "I Destroyed Your Love" due to a dispute about writing credits for the song (Huff is generally credited as the sole writer of the song).

    Special Delivery continued on without Huff in the fold and charted one more time, with 1978's "This Kind of Love," before fading into oblivion with their 1981 release Living On the Run.  Though he entertained offers following his split with Special Delivery, Huff's solo career never materialized and his national notoriety wound up being limited to two wonderful Soul ballads.  His life after Special Delivery was well documented in a 2010 article in the Washington City Paper. Huff died of colon cancer on December 14, 2012.

    For years, The Lonely One was out of print and unavailable, but briefly was re-released in 2005 and later became available digitally, allowing classic soul fans the opportunity to relive Special Delivery's shining moment.

    by Chris Rizik

    [Editor's Note: The name Special Delivery was later used by a completely unrelated country/folk act, which released This Is Special Delivery in 1994.  You won't find Terry Huff's sweet falsetto on that disc.  Just a whole lotta picking and strumming.]

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