[Oh, That Sugary Treat!] -- Some people observe Star Wars Day on May 4th ("May the Fourth Be with You!"). But if a date is good enough for one offbeat holiday, it is good enough for any number of them. And I have learned that May 4th is also considered National Candied Orange Peel Day. I don't know about the "national" aspect of this holiday as there seem to be no congressional records or presidential messages about it. However, the orange peel is used in many Chinese remedies, and it is regarded as a digestive aid, so maybe this could be an international day. Whatever the veracity of this holiday, it gave me the idea for this week's Flashback theme. No, it's not orange peels, candied or otherwise, although I could have kicked off the weekend with a little Orange Crush and followed up with any two of several great recordings from the Peel Sessions. But, no, I decided this week's theme is candy! So, let's indulge our sonic sweet tooth and check out songs that involve candy in some way, shape, or form. If you want to make your own candied orange peels, you can check out these two recipes for starters: Candied Orange Peels at UseRealButter.com or an older recipe for Preserved Orange Peel courtesy of Baking History. If you're wondering what sweet treats I have in store for you, then you can read and hear more after the break.
Flashback #1: "My girl's like candy a candy treat. | She knocks me right off of my feet. | She's so fine as can be. | I know this girl is meant for me."
Bobby Brown was not always the poster boy for crack cocaine and bad tabloid stories. Long before his reputation went into a rapid downward spiral, and even before he was touting "My Prerogative," Brown was one of the leads of New Edition. New Edition started in 1978. Initially called The Bricks, the band was a trio formed by 9-year-old Brown and two of his best friends. Around 1981, after meeting up with Travis Gresham and Brooke Payne (as manager and choreographer respectively), the band took on two more members and changed their name to New Edition. The name represented their manager's belief that they were the new edition of the Jackson 5. While that status may be debatable, it is worthwhile to note that the quintet did bring a new edition of bands to the airwaves as they paved the way for other boy bands in that decade. Their very first single, the title track off their 1983 debut album Candy Girl, took the number 1 spot in the UK and was the 31st best selling single of the year there. In the US, it peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and #1 on the R&B singles chart. Here is our first flashback of the day, "Candy Girl."
Flashback #2: "I'm going down to the place tonight | To see if I can get a taste tonight | A taste of something warm and sweet."
Our next flashback this week comes from The Jesus and Mary Chain, a Scottish rock band that formed in 1983. The songwriting brothers Jim and William Reid were the core unit of this band which had something of a revolving door as far as bass, drums, and rhythm guitar were concerned. With at least two or three guitarists in any given lineup, they definitely had a guitar-oriented philosophy. But their use of feedback and pop structures rank The Jesus and Mary Chain as the very first Noise Pop band. Their debut album, Psychocandy (1985), is considered a landmark recording of the genre. Their contribution to this week's flashback was a bonus track on the 1986 reissue -- but only on the UK version. It was left off the US reissue because a radio DJ mistakenly made the claim that the song was about heroin use. (Lead singer Jim Reid denies the song has anything to do with drugs, but the music video's use of poppy flower imagery would seem to imply otherwise). Let me know what you think after you listen to "Some Candy Talking."
Flashback #3: "I know a guy who's tough but sweet. | He's so fine, he can't be beat."
Admit it. When you read that this week's theme involved candy, you immediately thought of "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow. Bow Wow Wow was formed in 1980 when Matthew Ashman, Leigh Gorman and David Barbarossa (guitar, bass, and drums respectively) left Adam and the Ants under the urging and direction of manager Malcolm McLaren. McLaren was looking to create a new band to promote a friend's line of New Romantic fashions. After a six month long audition process, the band hired a 14-year-old vocalist named Annabella Lwin. Bow Wow Wow mixed Lwin's girlish squeal, tom-tom drums, surf guitar, and other pop sundries to create their sound. Their most popular song was a cover of The Strangeloves' 1965 hit, "I Want Candy." That's right! Bow Wow Wow's 1982 hit was originally recorded in 1965 by The Strangeloves! For comparison, check out The Strangeloves' performance on a November 1965 episode of Shindig! Otherwise, wrap up your 80s recollection for the week with Bow Wow Wow's recording.
Candied orange peels notwithstanding, the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!