By Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced or reblogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
I hope you are ready for a big sugar rush!
You’d better make a dentist appointment now.
‘Peppermint Twist’ was a No.1 hit by Joey Dee and the Starlighters in 1961, taking place at the Peppermint Lounge in NYC where the band frequently performed. It jumped on the success of ‘The Twist’ by Chubby Checker. It’s reminiscent of ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles. The Sweet did a great Glam version in 1974!
The Sweet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCKFO56CI44
‘My Boy Lollipop’ was a doo-wop tune originally called ‘My Girl Lollypop’. It was written by Rob Spencer of The Cadillacs. It was first sung by a 15-year-old singer Barbie Gaye and released in 1956. However, the big hit was in 1964 by another teen, Millie Small (credited on the label as Millie) from Jamaica. Small was discovered by Chris Blackwell of Island Records who brought her to England in 1963. This song was Island’s first hit. After Millie appeared Top of the Pops, the single reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. Millie’s version of the song has a ska rhythm and it’s really cool with her sweet, innocent high-pitched vocal!
R.I.P. Millie Small – May 5, 2020
The Lollipops recorded ‘Naked When You Come’ in 1966. This an obscure semi-psychedelic masterpiece, basically about being born with nothing and dying with nothing. The young teenage band The Lollipops formed in 1960 in Denmark and were also wildly popular in Sweden.. They released more than 25 singles between 1963 and 1982.
‘Incense and Peppermints’ was a psychedelic No. 1 hit in 1967 by Strawberry Alarm Clock from L.A.. It was their fifth single.
Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view
Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin’ to lose…
‘Savoy Truffle’ is a song about a box of chocolates on The Beatles (white album) in 1968. The guitar solo and brass scream as loudly as the guy in the song who will soon be getting his teeth pulled! It George wrote it about his pal with bad dental hygiene, Eric Clapton who had eaten George’s entire box of Good News chocolates. The tasty sweet descriptions are the actual flavors written inside the box of chocolates.
Listen: 2018 Remaster https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHlyjSm0eR4
‘Candy Says’ is Lou Reed’s ode to Warhol superstar Candy Darling (who also appears in Lou’s song ‘Walk on the Wild Side’). It appears on The Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album released in 1969. It is sung by Doug Yule in the first person, as Candy. These are some of Lou’s most stunningly beautiful lyrics – about Candy resenting and trying to escape her male body. Candy Darling’s coffin was saluted by legend Gloria Swanson as it was driven down the street in NYC after her funeral in March 1974. The song was performed by Lou in his last performance before his death in October 2013.
Candy says I’ve come to hate my body
And all that it requires in this world
Candy says I’d like to know completely
What others so discretely talk about
I’m going to watch the blue birds fly
Over my shoulder
I’m going to watch them pass me by
Maybe when I’m older
What do you think I’d see/If I could walk away from me?
Sammy Davis Jr. is ‘The Candy Man’ in the song co-written by Anthony Newley. The song appeared in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and became a No. 1 hit for Sammy in 1972.
‘Candy-O’ by The Cars is on their 1979 album of the same title (with the Vargas album art). My favorite thing about this is the ray-gun sound and the drums.
See my review of The Cars 2011 album Move Like This
‘Peppermint Lump’ was a single sung by an 11-year old girl named Angela Porter (credited as Angie). It was produced by Pete Townshend of The Who. Pete also played guitar and other instruments on the track, released by Stiff Records. Angie also sang backing vocals for The Buggles’ No. 1 hit, ‘Video Killed The Radio Star.’
‘I Want Candy’ is by the band Bow Wow Wow. It’s about a sweet boy named Candy, sung by Annabella Lwin who was 13 years old at the time in 1982. It was a remake of The Strangeloves’ 1965 hit for Bang Records. The Bow Wow Wow band members were assembled by Malcolm Mclaren who was also behind The Sex Pistols and Adam and the Ants. Both Bow Wow Wow and Adam and the Ants featured Burundi Stephenson’s ‘Burundi Black’ beat.
Watch – Bow Wow Wow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoXVYSV4Xcs
Listen: The Strangeloves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6Vw9RGm1tM
Listen: Burundi Black (Part 1) – Burundi Steiphenson Black [7″ 1971 issue]
‘Oh Candy’ was the first single from the incredible self-titled debut album by Cheap Trick, produced by Jack Douglas and released in 1977. One would think that the song is about a girl, but it’s actually an ode to the band’s photographer who hanged himself. His name was Marshal Mintz – and his initials reminded them of M&Ms candies.
Oh Candy why did you do it?
You should’ve called me on the telephone
I didn’t expect for you call me
‘Cause I didn’t think that you were alone
Oh, Candy worked so hard
At doin’ what he thought was right
It really really doesn’t mean a thing
Remember those spicy cinnamon Red-Hot candies that were so delicious? Well, here’s ‘Red Hot’ from the 1978 rockabilly album Robert Gordon with Link Wray. The original is by Billy The Kid Emerson in 1955 on Sun Records.
Listen – Billy The Kid Emerson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SybRpSRQU7I
Watch – Top Pop Holland – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GHdEOYNpFI
‘Flying Jelly Attack’ is my favorite song about jellybeans and cherry drops. It’s by the Ramones-influenced Japanese girl group Shonen Knife from their sixth album released in 1992 Let’s Knife – their first album sung in English. Their latest (June 2019) album is titled Sweet Candy Power. You might also want to play that title track, and also ‘Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches’ and ‘Peppermint Attack’.
The all-girl Japanese band have many other great foodie songs; Hot Chocolate / Cookie Day / Banana Chips / Catnip Dream / Broccoli Man / I Wanna Eat Cookies / Rock N’ Roll Cake / Fortune Cookie and more. Their album Strawberry Sound features Mayonnaise Addiction and Sesame.
(It originally appeared on their 1984 album Yama no Att-chan 山のアッちゃん Att-chan of the Mountain).
Listen – Flying Jelly Attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYBOg2lMW8Q
‘Candy’ is a single from Iggy Pop’s 1990 album Brick By Brick. It’s a duet with Kate Pierson from The B-52’s. It was Iggy’s only Top 40 song.
Watch – Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bLOjmY–TA
Watch – Iggy & Kate on The Arsenio Hall Show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA1s6iJjt34
The bubblegum genre was Yummy & Chewy!
From 1967-1972 bubblegum pop bands were assembled by producers(including a cartoon band called The Archies (see above) and the original ‘furries’, The Banana Splits). Songs were written for them by teams of professional hitmakers in a virtual factory – much like Andy Warhol’s art images were repeated and mass produced. The genre, aimed at teenagers with lyrics about super sweet edibles (sugar, jelly, candy, honey) produced many one-hit-wonder singles. Some were included as cardboard flexi-discs on the back of cereal boxes.
‘Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight?)’ was a 1959 novelty record by the popular kkiffle artist Lonnie Donegan. His bigger hit was ‘Rock Island Line’, a 1930s chain gang song revived decades later in 1956 by Lonnie. (See my ‘All Aboard’ playlist for more).
The 1910 Fruitgum Company actually had ‘gum’ in their name. This proto-power pop band actually wrote their own songs. ‘Goody Goody Gumdrops’ was their big hit single in 1968. Their other Billboard hits were; ‘Simon Says’, ‘May I Take a Giant Step’, ‘Indian Giver’ (See my playlist ‘Hail to the Chief’), Special Delivery’ and The Train’.
The sweetest of all the bubble gum hits was ‘ Sugar Sugar’ by The Archies’ – the No. 1 single of 1969 which topped the charts for 4 weeks. It’s on The Archies’ second album, ‘Everything’s Archie’. The song was written by hitmaker Jeff Barry and Andy Kim (who sang the hits ‘Rock Me Gently’ and a slower version of ‘Baby I Love You’). The lead singer on this is Ron Dante, who was also in The Cuff Links (who had a 1969 hit with ‘Tracy’) and was co-producer of Barry Manilow’s albums.
The musicians on this song are the great session players behind hundreds of hit records, The Wrecking Crew. I still have the cardboard flexi-disc from the back of a cereal box.
Wilson Pickett covered ‘Sugar Sugar’ live on his Live In Japan album (recorded at Nakano Sun Plaz).
WATCH! – The Archies – Sugar, Sugar (Original 1969 Music Video):
LISTEN: Wilson Pickett ‘ Sugar Sugar’ Lord have mercy!!! https://youtu.be/snbey6WKwT4
The Ohio Express released ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’ and their million seller ‘Chewy Chewy’ (both in 1968) on Neil Bogart’s label Buddah Records. They had another 1968 single called ‘Sweeter Than Sugar’. Now we see where The Lemon Twigs got their sound. Between 1967 – 1969 the – group (formed by producers Kasenetz-Katz) had 9 Top 1000 records. “Yummy ‘Yummy Yummy’ made the Top 10.
Listen – ‘Yummy Yummy’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4aQiFaCod8
Listen – ‘Chewy Chewy’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4soCzWMC_XE
Listen – ‘Sweeter Than Sugar’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFDNNIRBKUE
Including ‘Sweeter Than Sugar’, there were five ‘Sugar’ records in the 1969 Top 100 chart; ‘Soul Sister, Brown Sugar” by Sam & Dave,
‘While You’re Out Looking For Sugar’ by Honey Cone, “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, and “Sugar On Sunday” by Clique.
‘Sugar Me’ was a 1972 UK Top Ten single written and sung by British singer/songwriter Lynsey De Paul. She had originally written the song for Peter Noone and wrote hits for other artists. There are cover versions by Nancy Sinatra and by Claudine Longet. Lynsey also had several hits in Europe. She also sang backing vocals for Mott The Hopple (‘Roll Away the Stone’ and ‘Alice’ on The Hoople album in 1974). Lynsey convinced Luther Grosvenor to change his name to Ariel Bender when he joined Mott The Hoople when he bent a car aerial. Lynsey passed away in 2014. The lyrics to ‘Sugar Me’ were part of the inspiration for Def Leppard’s hit ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ (see below).
I must include something by The Sweet – and why not ‘Funny Funny’ from the glam band’s 1971 album Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be which has a piece of candy on the cover with the band wrapped inside of it. Most of the album’s songs were written by Chinn and Chapman, who mentioned that the song was inspired by The Archies’ song ‘Sugar Sugar’.
R.I.P, Steve Priest – June 4, 2020
‘Unfinished Sweet’ is on the sixth Alice Cooper album Billion Dollar Babies, released in 1973 and produced by the great Bob Ezrin. Alice was in his prime, and this is my favorite Alice Cooper Group album. Especially this epic drama about a nightmarish visit to the dentist. This was especially great in the live show (which I was lucky enough to see at age 15) when Alice chased people dressed as teeth with a giant toothbrush, as he was chased by an enormous dentist’s drill.
Candy everywhere , got chocolate in my hair
Aching to get me
Sticky sweet suckers in the Halloween air
Aching to get me
Saint Vitus dance on my molars tonight
Aching to get me
Aching to get me, get me oh
Take it to the doc, I guess he ought to know
La, la, la, da
Which ones can stay , which one gotta go
He looks in my mouth and then he starts to gloat
He says me teeth are O.K.
But my gums got to go
The Rubettes had a No. 1 hit with ‘Sugar Baby Love’ after they performed it on Top of the Pops in May 1974 – which kept Sparks’ song ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us’ from the top spot.
MY STORY – Sparks vs. The Rubettes: It’s a Long Way to the Top… Of the Pops
‘Rapper’s Delight’ by The Sugar Hill Gang was the first ever Hip-hop song, released in 1979 by Sugar Hill Records. This launched scratching, rap and breakdancing into the mainstream. Sugar Hill Records was founded by Shirley Robinson, writer of the song ‘Shame Shame Shame’ which inspired the David Bowie/John Lennon collaboration ‘Fame’ in 1975. Bowie’s extremely high to extremely low-pitched descending varispeed vocal line (spanning four octaves), ‘Fame, fame fame…’ derives from the then recent (1974) American disco hit ‘Shame Shame Shame’ by the group Shirley & Co. (written by Shirley Robinson and sung by Shirley Goodman of Shirley & Lee).
Shirley Robinson’s career goes back to 1952 as half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia whose hit ‘Love is Strange’ topped the charts in 1957. In 1972 Robinson wrote the song ‘Pillow Talk’ for (Reverend) Al Green, who rejected the song, citing his religious beliefs. Robinson had a No. 1 R&B hit with the song herself, under the name Sylvia. Her whispering, moaning, orgasmic vocals became the precursor to Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’ (produced by Georgio Moroder), which spawned the electronic Eurodisco scene.
My story all about Bowie’s song ‘Fame’
Echo & The Bunnymen released ‘Lips Like Sugar’ in 1987 on their self-titled album, their fifth.
‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ is the mega-hit song by Def Leppard from their 1987 No. 1 album Hysteria. The line ‘Sugar me’ is inspired by the Lynsey DePaul song ‘Sugar Me’ (see above). The first line of the song ‘Love is like a bomb’ comes from the title of Lynsey’s third album, Love Bomb. The style of the song was inspired by ‘‘Walk This Way’ – a collaboration by Aerosmith and rapper Run-DMC, the first record to combine rap and rock styles. Another inspiration was The Archies’ hit ‘Sugar Sugar’.
The trip-hop jazz rock band Cibo Matto (whose name means ‘Crazy Food’ in Italian) sang mostly songs about food on their first album. Its Japanese members Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori formed the band in NYC in 1994. Sean Ono Lennon later became a touring member of Cibo Matto as well as appearing on their second album. They somehow neglected to depict food on any of their album covers, although some of their song titles include ‘Sugar Water’ and ‘Birthday Cake’.
Watch – ‘Sugar Water’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN9auBn6Jys&list=RDEN9auBn6Jys&start_radio=1
Listen – Birthday Cake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdl-LIH1XgM
From The Rolling Stones 1971 album Sticky Fingers, we have ‘Brown Sugar’ – which has a dual meaning; a name for heroin, and also for tasty black women, specifically singer Marsha Hunt who fathered Mick Jaggers’ first child Karis.
Watch (Top of the Pops): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B0Y3LUqr1Q
‘Sugar on the Side’ by Blondie is about getting some sweetness after a breakup. This track with a Latin flavor is a collaboration with hip-hop/cumbia band Systema. It’s on Blondie’s tenth album Ghosts of Download released in 2013. Chris Stein explains the ablum title as, “All spirits in the background of electricity and data.”
CHOCOLATE & VANILLA
The Chocolate Watch Band from California have a cool psychedelic instrumental ‘Dark Side Of The Mushroom’ from their 1967 album No Way Out. They split I 1970 after only releasing 3 singles and 3 albums.
Babymetal have a great song called ‘Gimme Chocolate’. It’s an insanely cool idea; a band formed in 2010 consisting of pre-teen Japanese girls in pigtails, tutus and knee socks, playing Heavy Metal – oddly coupling Metal and J-Pop Idol styles. It’s totally contrived, yet it somehow works! Babymetal has everything that has gone missing from rock n’ roll since the theatrics of Glam Rock; Bowie, Alice Cooper, KISS… Their show is slick, stylized, thematic energetic – and it’s totally ridiculous! It’s Metal with melody – with a light show, and without anger. It’s refreshing to see cute young girls singing Metal! They sometimes sound like Alvin & the Chipmunks on crack…BUT there are refreshing Melodic J-Pop breaks.
Watch this incredible spectacle here!
Here’s my review of Babymetal’s NYC concert in Nov. 2014
Let’s have some Vanilla Fudge! ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ is their cover of The Supremes 1966 No. 1 hit, composed by the team of Holand-Dozier-Holland. Vanilla Fudge took the song to No. 1 again in 1967. Kim Wilde brought it back to No. 1 once again in 1987.
And now here is something by my dear sweet friend Cherry Vanilla! This is ‘The Punk’ from her album Bad Girl.
Cherry was once a fearless, vivacious groupie who became a Warhol ‘superstar’ – the nicest ‘bad girl’ around. She had encounters with many superstars, most notably David Bowie (she was his publicist during the Ziggy Stardust period). Cherry’s book Lick Me is even more exciting than her Scoops For You column in Creem magazine!
Watch live on Musikladen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCodghCbp1o
Read my interview with Cherry – Places I Remember
And my review of her fabulous book, Lick Me:
‘Chocolate Drops’ is a song on Iggy Pop’s 2016 album Post Pop Depression – a collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.
Watch live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIr0ztHV0Mc
We cannot end without ‘Oompa Loompa Song’ from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
© Madeline Bocaro 2020. No part of the materials available through madelinex.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, reblogged or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Madeline Bocaro. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Madeline Bocaro is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of Madeline Bocaro.
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