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(Un)Covered: I Want Candy

I Want Candy”
Writers: Bert Berns, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer
Original Release Date: 1965

You may be more familiar with the Aaron Carter version, or even the eighties-flavored cover by Bow Wow Wow, but did you know “I Want Candy” was originally released in 1965?


A group of songwriters/producers—Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer—got together along with their fellow producer Bert Berns to write and record the song in 1965. They released it as their alter egos, The Strangeloves, a “beat group” they created in 1964 to keep up with the changing trends, and it ended up being one of their greatest hits. It’s a short but sugary song, held up by what is referred to as a “Bo Diddley” beat (named after the musician who first introduced the syncopated rhythm). I’m not sure if “candy” is being used as a metaphor for something else, or if they were just comparing women to confectionaries, but since the lyrics clearly mention “desire”, the song isn’t as innocent as the child-friendly treat it’s named after.

In honor of our own writer/editor/cool kid Alex Bear’s birthday, I found a cover by one of her favorite bands, Good Charlotte. You may or may not recall that the dudes in Good Charlotte, in addition to being pop-punk royalty, are also movie stars: in 2001, they were the prom band in the raunchy parody comedy, Not Another Teen Movie. Honestly, this movie is ridiculous, but it’s hilarious in the way it pokes fun at teen movies from Pretty in Pink to She’s All That and everything in between. Good Charlotte shows up near the end, first playing a cover of OMD’s classic “If You Leave” (also worth a listen), and then leading a school-wide dance to “I Want Candy”. They give the song a rockin’ twist while still keeping that groovy Bo Diddley beat, playing up the electric guitars and giving the drums an almost tribal treatment. No wonder they had all the teens out on the dancefloor during this scene!

Yes, The Strangeloves win for weirdest band (they faked Australian accents whenever they appeared live!), but Good Charlotte’s pop punk take is pretty sweet, too.

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