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One Hit Wonders - BOW WOW WOW (1982)
One Hit Wonders - BOW WOW WOW (1982) Photo


"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow

This was originally recorded in 1965 by a group called The Strangeloves. The group was actually 3 producers from New York who put this song together and made up a story about the band. They claimed to be from Australia, and said they were shepherds who got rich by crossbreeding sheep. The story made them sound much more exotic than the truth, and this hit #11 in the US.
When The Strangeloves recorded this, it started out as a cover of the song "Bo Diddley." They made it into an original with the help of songwriter Bert Berns, who wrote "Twist And Shout" as well as songs for The Drifters and Van Morrison. The distinctive Bo Diddley beat remained the focus of the song.
Bow Wow Wow was put together by Malcolm McLaren, who is famous for creating The Sex Pistols. The lead singer was Annabelle Lwin, who came to England from Burma when she was 5. When McLaren discovered her, she was 14 and working in a dry cleaner. She had the look he wanted, so he teamed her with former members of Adam And The Ants to form the band.
Bow Wow Wow came across this when producer Kenny Laguna was brought in to work with them. Laguna had recently helped Joan Jett establish herself as a solo artist and wanted to concentrate on working with her, but Joan thought he should do it, so Kenny agreed to produce their album. Laguna: "I went to Florida and they flew Bow Wow Wow from England. They had some great songs, but I didn't hear the hit. That pissed them off. My deal was, I would produce them, but I would bring one song to the table. I had a couple of ideas, I finally talked them into doing 'I Want Candy.'
After talking Bow Wow Wow into recording this, Laguna realized he didn't have a copy of the song and didn't know the lyrics. There was no easy way to get the original song (this was before the Internet), so he called a friend who got him in touch with Richard Gottehrer, one of the producers who wrote and recorded this with The Strangeloves. Richard was cutting the song "Vacation" with The Go-Gos when Kenny called him. Kenny explained that he was in a bind and asked Richard if he remembered "I Want Candy," and fortunately, he remembered every word and helped Kenny through the song by singing the melody over the phone. Said Kenny, "I learned the song, then I took what I had gotten over the telephone and I recorded it on a little tape recorder. Then I went in the studio and taught it to the band Bow Wow Wow. We cut it and learned it right on the spot. I've never compared it to the original."
Laguna almost left out the guitar part that makes up the intro of the song because he couldn't remember it. After completing the basic track without the guitar, he called back Richard Gottehrer, who sang him the guitar part and made sure Kenny knew it was a very important part of the song.
Laguna: "Richard's making a hit record with the Go-Go's, I'm in there making a hit record with Bow Wow Wow, and Joan Jett was playing the Sportatorium in Florida. That's when the women were exploding."
The album title was a reference to the Mohawk hairstyles the band wore.
The photo used on the single was a recreation of Manet's 1863 painting "Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe" (Lunch on the Grass). The photo was taken when Annabelle Lwin was 15, which caused some controversy because she was naked. Malcolm McLaren wanted to use the photo on their first album, but Lwin's mother brought charges against him for exploiting a minor. For the US version of the cover, Lwin was wearing a dress in the photo.
Since this was originally written for a male singer, they had to change the gender. It became "I know a guy who's tough but sweet. When he worked with Joan Jett, Laguna had Joan switch the gender on songs like "I Love Rock And Roll" and "Do You Wanna Touch Me," which were previously recorded with male singers.
Laguna continued working with Joan Jett, but this was the last time he worked with Bow Wow Wow. Said Kenny, "I didn't get to do the next record, they were angry with me for bringing them a bubblegum song." (Thanks to Kenny Laguna for talking to us about this song.
This turned out to be Bow Wow Wow's only hit. The next year, lead singer Annabella Lwin left for a solo career and the remaining members changed their name to Chiefs Of Relief.

Billboard Top 10 Songs of 1982

1 Olivia Newton-John Physical
2 Survivor Eye Of The Tiger
3 Joan Jett and The Blackhearts I Love Rock N' Roll
4 Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder Ebony And Ivory
5 J. Geils Band Centerfold
6 Human League Don't You Want Me
7 John Cougar Jack And Diane
8 John Cougar Hurts So Good
9 Steve Miller Band Abracadabra
10 Chicago Hard To Say I'm Sorry

| Closed on 03/03/13 at 05:00PM
FanIQ Pts? No | Locker Room, Music | Multiple Choice Opinion Poll
10 Fans 
0%a. 10 Loved that song
0%b. 7-9 - This song was pretty good
40%c. 5-6 This song was OK
30%d. Who? What? Huh?

8 Comments | Sorted by Most Recent First | Red = You Disagreed
Vote for your favorite comments. Fans decide the Top Comment (3+ votes) and also hide poor quality comments (4+ votes).
#1 | 627 days ago
Nick__ (+)

5-6 This song was OK  
#2 | 627 days ago

I've never really liked this song, but I know the hook, of course.
#3 | 627 days ago

No wonder the younger generations don't like the music that was playing during my junior high years.  This was the #1 song?
Who? What? Huh?  
#4 | 627 days ago

I liked the opening drum beat. But that's about it.
5-6 This song was OK  
#5 | 627 days ago
Nick__ (+)

(Edited by Nick__)
The TOP 10 for 1982 was pretty solid, AFTER, Olivia's song!  2-10 was good!
5-6 This song was OK  
#6 | 627 days ago

I didn't like this one either....I'd rather go back to where I was when this was going was a better place.......
Who? What? Huh?  
#7 | 627 days ago

Human League Don't You Want Me
(ommggg) ell o ell......
I seriously love these polls Nick. Memories are awesome.....
5-6 This song was OK  
#8 | 627 days ago

I had to google 1982 just because I remembered a murderers row of 8th grade OHW's. I was not disappointed. And check out the movies from that year. Holy moly.
Who? What? Huh?  

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