The Brothers Strange
As I was driving around with the kids the other day, running errands with the radio blasting (as usual), what should come on, but ‘I Want Candy’ by the Strangeloves.
The boys started singing along, since they’d become familiar with the song on the soundtrack to the film ‘Hop’.
So, I start telling them the story behind the Strangeloves (since every 8 and 10 year old should be familiar, right?), about how Giles, Niles and Miles supposedly hailed from an Australian sheep farm.
Then I told them that they were actually three New Yorkers, Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer who probably never got any closer to sheep farm than owning a sweater or two.
The kids weren’t captivated by this tale of marketing gone wrong, but they did keep singing, which is a testament to the lasting value of the Strangeloves records.
While I don’t recall hearing any of their songs as a kid, I did get smacked right between the ears by George Thorogood and the Destroyers 1979, 100MPH cover of ‘Night Time’.*
It was a couple of years before I laid my hands on a copy of the Strangeloves 45, by which time Bow Wow Wow had already dragged the band’s biggest hit, 1965’s ‘I Want Candy’ kicking and screaming into the MTV era.
I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that the Strangeloves were some kind of lost ‘great’ band, but their best 45s were revolving in the same asteroid belt as the finest Nuggets-style ish, loud, a little bit dumb, but as fun as hell.
Interestingly, though the record was produced by F/G/G, it was arranged by Bassett Hand, a pianist/organist who recorded a couple of interesting 45s of his own**.
So bang your head while listening to this one, and I’ll see you next week.
*I would like to take a minute here to speak up in defense of Mr Thorogood. Back when I was a teenager, and didn’t know jack diddley about the blues or R&B, old George and his thundering herd (only three guys back in the day) were bashing the bejeebus out of the likes of John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Bo Diddley, Hank Williams and yes, the Strangeloves. This was years before the band became a walking-talking neon beer sign, and I would suggest strongly that if you dig real, solid, rock’n’roll, that you give his first three LPs a listen.
** Thanks to commenter Porky for letting me know that Bassett Hand was in fact an invented pseudonym for F-G-G. I went and dug out my Bassett Hand 45s and sure enough they’re both F-G-G compositions/productions!