In 2000, I spent hours listening to Aaron Carter’s new album Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) while jumping on my bed or dancing around the room with my Aaron Carter poster. Little did I know that one of the songs I had memorized all the words to was actually a cover of a song from the 1960s. That song was “I Want Candy”. It was years later that I learned the song was originally written and performed by The Strangeloves, and was the title track of their first and only LP release. Carter’s version was pure pop, and stayed loyal to the original.
In between the original and Carter’s version is new wave group Bow Wow Wow’s cover of the song. Their cover swapped pronouns, opting for their female lead singer, Annabella Lwin to sing “Go to see him when the sun goes down, ain’t no finer boy in town…” instead of “see her” and “finer girl”. The song was released in 1982, and continues to be a staple of 80’s music, being featured in films or TV flashbacks set in the 1980s, as well as landing on many “Best of” 80’s compilations.
Though the song is not covered terribly often, a few other artists have shared their take on it. Good Charlotte recorded the song to be featured in the film Not Another Teen Movie. Cody Simpson covered the song for the soundtrack to the animated movie Hop. Melanie C chose her cover of the song to be the first single off her album This Time.
No matter how many more artists cover the song, I know that whenever I hear “I Want Candy”, I will always think of Aaron Carter dancing around in a silver puffer jacket and matching pants with Hilary Duff on Lizzie McGuire, and their real life relationship that seven year old me was so excited about.