Monday, September 19, 2005

I like candy when it's wrapped in a sweater

According to ld beghtol, quoted on David Jennings's 69 Love Songs site, "I'm Sorry I Love You" was intended to be a tribute to the band Bow Wow Wow, but " didn't quite come out that way." Merritt elaborates on this in the 69LS booklet:

"It was originally supposed to be one of those Carter Family sort of songs, but we discovered in the studio that it worked well with a Bo Diddley beat."

One of Merritt's picks from the early 80s, Bow Wow Wow was assembled by Malcolm McLaren, taking Adam Ant's backing musicians and adding one Annabella Lwin, an adolescent Burmese girl who, as the story goes, was discovered by McLaren singing in a London dry cleaners. A typical BWW song has several distinct features, notably a tom-heavy Burundi beat and utterly enthusiastic vocals from Annabella. Though they're often relegated to "one-hit wonder" status for their cover of "I Want Candy," they have a number of tracks even better than that one. The 1996 compilation The Best of Bow Wow Wow probably has all you need, with the terribly catchy "C30, C60, C90, Go!", "Do You Wanna Hold Me?", and "Go Wild in the Country" being the highlights.

Tracing "I'm Sorry I Love You" back to Bo Diddley isn't a direct path. We can start with Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" cover - it was written and recorded by the Strangeloves and released in June of 1965, but the rendition that McLaren used to reference the song was the one by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes (also known for their "Here Comes My Baby" cover) from July of 1965. The original version by the Strangeloves indeed uses Bo Diddley's trademark rhythm and borrows substantially from his song "Hey Bo Diddley."

Possibly the best place to get the original "I Want Candy" is on the generous Nuggets boxed set, which expands the original Nuggets double-album compilation from 1972 to a 4-CD set. The full title is Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, and it's jam-packed with guitar-driven garage rock numbers ("Psychotic Reaction" by the Count Five, "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the 13th Floor Elevators) and psychedelic pop songs ("Incense and Peppermints" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" by the Electric Prunes). The last track on the compilation, "Blues' Theme" by Davie Allan & the Arrows, is from the film The Wild Angels; this movie featured a character named Mike (played by Nancy Sinatra), referenced by Merritt in "Papa Was a Rodeo." Really, if you have any interest at all in 60s pop/rock, then don't hesitate to get this, and Nuggets II (which concentrates on non-American bands) is amazing, as well. And, tying it all together, Merritt named it as one of the best releases of 1998 in Time Out New York.

Bow Wow Wow - "I Want Candy"
The Strangeloves - "I Want Candy"


Anonymous cryptoquip said...

I have to say, "I'm Sorry I Love You" usually reminds me of "A Pox on the Phony King of England" from Disney's Robin Hood.

9:23 PM  

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