The Candy Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the song from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. For other uses, see Candyman (disambiguation).
"The Candy Man"
Single by Sammy Davis, Jr.
from the album Sammy Davis Jr. Now
B-side "I Want to Be Happy"
Released April 1972
Format 7"
Recorded 1971
Genre vocal jazz, swing, traditional pop music
Length 3:10
Label MGM
Writer(s) Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley
Producer(s) Don Costa, Michael Viner, Mike Curb
Certification Gold
Sammy Davis, Jr. singles chronology
"I Have One but One Life to Live"
"The Candy Man"
"The People Tree"

"The Candy Man" (or alternatively, "The Candy Man Can") is a song which originally appeared in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.[1] It was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the film. Although the original book by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) contains lyrics adapted for other songs in the film, the lyrics to "The Candy Man" do not appear in the book. The soundtrack version of the song was sung by Aubrey Woods, who played Bill the candy store owner in the film.

Sammy Davis, Jr. version[edit]

The song is best known through Sammy Davis, Jr.'s cover version, which appears on the Sammy Davis Jr. Now studio album. Though he admittedly hated the song, finding it too saccharine, it became his only number-one hit, spending three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart starting June 10, 1972 and two weeks at the top of the easy listening chart.[2] Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1972.[3] The track featured vocals by the Mike Curb Congregation, who had earlier released their own unsuccessful version of the song. It is recognized as one of Davis's signature songs, and "The Candy Man" came to be his moniker later in his career.

In the 1980s the tune was adapted as a commercial jingle ("The Sunshine Baker Man", sung by Davis) for Sunshine Biscuits.

Sloppy Seconds covered this song on their 1989 LP Destroyed.

In 2014, Sammy Davis Jr.'s lead vocals from the original 1972 recording were sampled to create a "virtual duet" with singer Barry Manilow, which appeared on Manilow's album My Dream Duets.

Other uses[edit]

"The Candy Man" has been featured in a number of radio, films and TV shows.

  • Malcolm in the Middle, in the episode "New Neighbors," as the song that Commandant Spangler teaches to the military academy choir.
  • Scrubs, in the episode "My Dream Job", during a day-dream sequence where JD imagines his dream job: being the "Chocolate King" and having an office where everything (including Turk, as his secretary) is made of chocolate.
  • A 1996 episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show ("Sammy and Me" featured a parody of "The Candy Man" entitled "The Mantid Man", sung by a praying mantis version of Sammy Davis, Jr. named Sammy Mantis (voiced by Tommy Davidson).
  • In the 2005 film Madagascar, when Alex the Lion is shot with a tranquilizer dart, he has a psychedelic experience with the Sammy Davis, Jr. version playing throughout. First, popping versions of Gloria's head, Marty's black and white stripes, and Melman's giraffe spots, then, Marty and Melman dancing (Marty and Melman also dance in the end credits, but without the psychedelic experience colors and in different dances), and Gloria as the Statue of Liberty in New York City as the fireworks go bursted turns into a green fairy and performs a Tinkerbell-esque magic wand tap and a bunch of green glass stars flew across the screen (it was also seen in the closing credits, but it was orange instead of green and Gloria pops up from the bottom-left of a black background). (The song and the psychedelic experience is sped up after the Gold for Expedition scene ends with Alex saying, "Oh, man!").
  • Jennifer Tilly's character, Monica Moran, sings the song in an audition to be a lounge singer in the film The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • The Simpsons have parodied the song in the episode "Trash of the Titans" as "The Garbage Man Can", which briefly features U2. In Simpsons Comics #53, Homer also featured a mental parody showing Homer as Willy Wonka and Bart and Lisa as Oompa-loompas.
Homer: "Who can take some vodka, sprinkle it with ice, pour it down your gullet 'till the world seems really nice? The brandyman. The brandyman can if you're over 21...
Lisa and Bart:"...or just sixteen in Amsterdam!
  • Chris Evans originally played the song on his popular drive time BBC Radio 2 show every Friday afternoon. Once he replaced Terry Wogan on the breakfast show in January 2010, he has continued to play the tune every Friday morning, immediately following the 8:00 am news. The song was also used on a TV trailer, promoting his new breakfast show.
  • Danny Baker used the song extensively as a theme during his breakfast show for BBC London 94.9. He would reward listeners who phoned into the show and greeted him as Candy Man. During his time on the show he amassed a large number of existing versions of the song and commissioned guests such as Ray Gelato to produce new versions. He continued to use the song as a theme tune for his afternoon show on BBC London 94.9 until its cancellation.
  • In Gilmore Girls, after Rory loses her virginity to Dean she tells him very seriously that every time he hears the song she is about to play him he must think of her, before playing him 'The Candy Man' causing him to start laughing. Also, Taylor sings it in Season Three when he's announcing the opening of his Candy Shoppe.
  • In an episode of My Name Is Earl (season 1, episode 24), Randy Hickey finds a coin in a drain, which is accompanied by an instrumental rendition of the Candy Man.
  • On Krayzie Bone's 1999 album Thug Mentality 1999, he uses the melody and meter of "Candy Man" for the intro to the song "Dummy Man".
"Who can take some bread crumbs, mix it up with soap, create a 20 rock to make the fiends think it's dope, the Dummy Man can"
  • In 2010, the song was featured in Fringe episode 2.20, "Brown Betty," sung by singing corpses in a "fairy tale" that Dr. Walter Bishop was telling Olivia Dunham's niece, Ella. The song was subsequently parodied by The Fringemunks as part of a medley that recapped this musical episode's storyline.[4]
  • Conan O'Brien's 77th show of Conan was titled "The Candy Man Can't."
  • Whenever Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees hits a home run, John Sterling of the New York Yankees Radio Network says "The Grandy Man, the Grandy Man can!"
  • In an episode of Home Improvement, "Wilson's World", After Tim gives advice to Wilson said by Sammy Davis Jr., he says,"When it comes to wisdom, there's nobody like the Candy Man."
  • Comedian Tim Hawkins released a parody of the song entitled "the Government Can" in 2009.[5] The video for the song went viral and has garnered over 5.7 million hits on YouTube.[6]
  • Elvis Duran and the Morning Show created a parody of The Candy Man song titled The Panty Man [7]
  • In the 2012 film Ice Age: Continental Drift, Manny sings the first two lines of the song to try and avoid hearing a pack of sirens.
  • South African biscuit company Bakers use the song in TV advertisements; though it changes the chorus to "The Bakers Man Can".
  • M&M Mars used the song from time to time as a jingle for M&M's: "The M&M's Man".
  • The Nurse Jackie episode "Candyman" features the song as a tribute during a eulogy for a deceased hospital staff member, who ran the newspaper/candy kiosk and was notable for his knowledge of each co-worker's favorite treat. A doctor starts out by reading the lyrics from a card, as though it were a poem, and the attendees slowly realize where they've heard it. Eventually, they all sing along.[8]


  1. ^ Deaton, Jim. I Didn't Know That. ISBN 978-1591136996. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 72. 
  3. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
  4. ^ Fringemunks Web site
  5. ^ "The Government Can Lyrics". Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  6. ^ "Tim Hawkins – The Government Can". Tim Hawkins. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  7. ^ Elvis Duran – The Panty Man
  8. ^ "Nurse Jackie - Season 6 Episode 9 - Candyman". Retrieved 8 June 2014.