"I Want Candy" was written by Bert Berns, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer in 1965. As writer/producers, Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer had already scored big hits for other artists, including "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels. For this song, the trio took on the moniker of The Strangeloves, and recorded the tune themselves, augmented by studio musicians (co-writer Berns was not involved in the studio recording).
The female vocal half screaming half singing "Baby!" in the middle was an unknown session singer.
Although Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer used their real names in the writing and production credits of this single, they claimed The Strangeloves were actually three Australian brothers (and ex-sheep farmers) named Giles, Miles and Niles Strange. Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer dressed up in shaggy wigs and exotic clothing for publicity photos as The Strangeloves.
"I Want Candy", The Strangeloves' second single, became a top 10 hit in Canada and hit no. 11 in the US. The record failed to chart in the UK—or in The Strangeloves' so-called "native" country, Australia.
The song was the single by new wave group Bow Wow Wow released as the first and only single from their EP The Last of the Mohicans. For many in America, "I Want Candy" was their first introduction to young lead singer Annabella Lwin and the band. The song barely scraped the Top 50, but became an enduring new wave classic. The song gave its name to the band's 1982 release, I Want Candy, which was mainly a compilation, but included a couple of new cuts produced by Kenny Laguna (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts).
The enduring popularity of Bow Wow Wow's recording is partly due to the memorable video that got heavy play in the early days of MTV. This recording is highly associated with 80s pop music.
The Bow Wow Wow recording appeared on two VH1 countdowns:
This version of "I Want Candy" begins with a phone conversation with a friend about a girl named Candy and has the participation of his brother Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. Carter promoted it by performing it on the show Lizzie McGuire. A music video was produced to promote the single and was directed by Andrew MacNaughtan.
Candy Girls, who are Rachel Auburn and Paul Masterson, released a cover of I Want Candy and it became their third hit single, peaking at 30 in the UK. It was their last release. After releasing this single, the duo split. Masterson went on to have hits as Amen! UK, The Clergy, Yomanda, Dorothy and Hi-Gate.
"I Want Candy" was the first single to be taken from Melanie C's fourth album "This Time", in the UK, Denmark and Italy. The song was also the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, and the video saw Melanie dancing for the first time since the Spice Girls. Melanie split her time between the UK and Europe, where she was promoting "The Moment You Believe", and as a result, the single was not heavily promoted and reached no. 24 — although on the physical chart, the single reached no. 7. "I Want Candy" went on to sell 12,510 copies in the UK, but had better success in Italy (no. 9) and Denmark (no. 12).
Melanie premiered her version of the song during Al Murray's Happy Hour on ITV1, 24 February 2007. The video was premiered on March 2, 2007 in the UK. The song was released as Italy's and Denmark's first single from the new album, where it reached no. 9 in both countries, while in other European countries the ballad "The Moment You Believe" was chosen.
In the video of "I Want Candy", Melanie C is featured in a skin-tight catsuit, featuring a sexually suggestive dance routine with half-naked bodybuilders in crowd-controller uniforms. The video instantly grabbed the number one spot on YouTube with 200,000 hits in its first day.
On the album Surfing by Megapuss, Devendra Banhart and cohorts did a rough parody of this song titled "A Gun on His Hip and a Rose on His Chest," reciting lyrics such as "*** the president" in place of "I want candy."
^ abcCooper, Kim; Smay, David; Austen, Jake (2001). Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. Feral House. p. 135. ISBN978-0-9229-1569-9. "They hoodwinked enough American teens with their phony story, "Aboriginal" drums and cheap Beatle wigs in 1965 to send "I Want Candy" to number 11 on the national charts. If only for that one song, the Strangeloves are worthy of discussion. "I Want Candy" is a revelation. a Bo Diddley jungle beat, jazzy guitar line, and massed, aharmonious male vocals sounding like a fraternity at its drunken pinnacle"