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The CHIRP Blog

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesTake Two: “I Want Candy” (The Strangeloves Vs. Bow Wow Wow)

by Clarence Ewing

There is a chance that you have come across a song (or two, or so many more) that you enjoy and did not realize that it's either been covered by someone else or is a cover itself. We hope that this series allows you to appreciate both the original and the covers they have inspired, and to seek out and enjoy new music in the process.

The Original: The Strangeloves
from the album I Want Candy (Bang, 1965)


The Strangeloves were a New York based production team that had a handful of singles chart in the bottom half of the Hot 100 during the mid-to-late '60s, sometimes using different band names. "I Want Candy" was their 2nd single of note. The percussion sets the tone with an overwhelimg Bo Didley rhythm, immediately putting the listener in the middle of the best beach party ever. It also featues one of the most gloriously ragged guilar riffs in pop music history. At a time when Elvis Presley and Annette Funicello were making the "Beach Party" scene popular across the USA, This was a song that got the go-go dancers movin'.



The Cover: Bow Wow Wow
From the EP Last ot fhe Mohicans (RCA, 1982)

Former Sex Pistols manager Malcom McLaren formed Bow Wow Wow using former members of Adam and the Ants backing a very young Annabella Lwin on vocals. Their remake of "I Want Candy" didn't really catch on when first released, but thanks to a video that led to heavy rotation on MTV it has over the years became an iconic track of British New Wave pop.

The overall formula doesn't change from the original, but the execution is tighter. Guitarist Matthew Ashman's lines are razor sharp, and there's a touch more funk in the bass and drums. While not as loose as the Strangelove's take, the band didn't lose any of the energy that made the first version such a fun listen.

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Categorized: Take Two

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