Before he became Patti Smith’s bass player, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 94: I Want Candy by The Strangeloves
Release Date: 1965
From: New York (although they pretended to be from Australia…)
Aphoristical Rating: 6/10
‘I Want Candy’ is one of the best-known songs from Nuggets. Musically it’s not very interesting – it’s effectively a rip-off of Bo Diddley’s ‘Bo Diddley’. The song has endured though – British new-wave band Bow Wow Wow had a top ten hit with their version in Ireland and the UK, while it’s also been covered by Aaron Carter and Spice Girl Melanie C.
The Strangeloves were created by producers Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer. They’d previously written hits for other artists, most notably The Angels’ ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’. With musical fashions changing from girl groups to beat groups, the trio decided to make their own band. They fabricated a backstory whereby they were sheep farmers from Australia who struck it rich after creating a new crossbreed, the long-haired Gottehrer.
‘I Want Candy’ was written with 1960s hit-maker Bert Berns, and reached #11 on the US singles chart. Despite the initial success the “band” only made one record, breaking up in 1965. All three Strangeloves remained in the music business; Gottehrer has the most impressive CV, producing records for Richard Hell, Blondie, and The Go-Go’s, as well as Marshall Crenshaw’s classic debut. After a 53 year gap, the three Strangeloves appeared on stage with Yo La Tengo in 2018.