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I Want Candy: The Best of the Strangeloves

The Strangeloves

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Album Review

Released in 1965, I Want Candy is the sole LP from the legendary Brothers Strange — Miles (Bob Feldman), Niles (Richard Gottehrer), and Giles (Jerry Goldstein) — who may have been touted as wealthy Australian sheepherders, but were in reality three New York Brill Building composers/producers. Their ruse as the Strangeloves started as an attempt to muscle their way back onto record surveys and radio play lists in the wake of the British Invasion pop music phenom. The trio's saga actually began several years earlier when neighborhood chums Feldman and Goldstein — who had penned the theme to Alan Freed's The Big Beat TV show — linked with Gottehrer in late 1960. The compatibility in their styles yielded an assignment to write for a prestigious roster boasting Chubby Checker, Little Eva, Dion, and the Angels as clients, the latter scoring significantly on Feldman, Goldstein, and Gottehrer's composition "My Boyfriend's Back." Once the Beatles opened the floodgates for an across-the-pond sonic sortie, FG&G's songs were no longer in demand. Guided by the age-old axiom "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," the team decided to reinvent themselves. After Ahmet Ertegun, then head of Atlantic Records, heard their fairly straightforward cover of "Bo Diddley," he hooked them up with Bert Berns, who had just formed his own Bang imprint. At Berns' suggestion, they wrote new deliciously lascivious lyrics and voilà, had their first and highest charting (number 11) side. This was followed by the R&B-infused "Cara-Lin," another success that was based on a riff lifted from the Routers' clap-happy pep-rally anthem "Let's Go." Their final Top 40 venture came in the form of the harder punk-ish "Night Time," sounding more like a lo-fi garage band than skilled and seasoned pros. The infectious groove resulted in a bluesy attitude-laden rocker whose incessantly pumping rhythm was punctuated by a thin gnarly electric guitar and adeptly executed vocal harmonies in the chorus. When the dozen-track I Want Candy album was released, it included remakes of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Johnny Otis' "Willie and the Hand Jive," and the Creole paean "New Orleans," which had been a hit for Gary "U.S." Bonds. However, most of the platter is comparative fluff, in light of the diversity and strength of the singles. Enthusiasts and collectors will want to take note that "Night Time" was edited for the 45 by nearly a minute. That rendering is located on Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, while the full-length version can be found here. When the Strangeloves were anthologized in the digital domain, the 12 selections from I Want Candy were augmented, boasting eight additional cuts for 1995's I Want Candy: The Best of the Strangeloves. The upgrade also offers much of their catalog debut in stereo.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

While the Strangeloves managed to produce one garage band classic, their story is probably more interesting than their actual music. Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer were a trio of Brooklyn songwriter/producers who landed a number one girl group hit with the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back." When the British Invasion crested in the mid-'60s, they decided to get in on the act...
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I Want Candy: The Best of the Strangeloves, The Strangeloves
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