I'd like to take the opportunity to wish everybody a Happy Easter Sunday! For today, I have dyed this blog entry in the finest Easter pastel colours! And, I'll tell you something...Easter has always been one of my favourite holidays. You want proof? Have a look at this picture!
In case you're wondering who the goofy looking kid with the bowl cut and velcro sneakers is sitting on the Easter Bunny's lap...well...it's me! Or, at least it WAS me back in the mid-1980s. I don't exactly know what year it was taken, but I would estimate it to be circa 1987. Unfortunately, I have a lot less hair than I did back then...but the good news is that I have since upgraded to lace-up sneakers!
Of course, going to the mall to visit the Easter Bunny was just one of the many traditions that I enjoyed as a kid. I probably have mentioned this before, but my family was never really the religious type, and we never attended Easter services. While all of us are very much aware of the religious background in regards to Easter, my family believed in setting our own holiday traditions at home. And, a lot of these traditions happened to involve a mainstay at almost every Easter celebration.
Seriously, a lot of my fondest childhood memories involve Easter treats. First things first, I loved to eat the Easter candy! What kid didn't like to have a breakfast comprised of nothing but marshmallow Peeps, pastel coloured M&M's, and chocolate bunnies?
But eating it was only half the fun. Trying to find it was the real joy of Easter morning! When I was younger, whenever the Easter Bunny came, he would always leave behind a trail of candy enclosed in those little plastic eggs. It wouldn't be anything major...just jellybeans, jujubes, and maybe a couple of Hershey's Kisses. And, as a little kid, that trail seemed to go on forever. It would begin at my bedroom door, down a flight of stairs, down the first floor hallway, and into the den, where the real hunt for Easter candy began.
You see, when the Easter Bunny came for a visit, he always used to hide my Easter basket in some of the most unusual places, and it was my job to try and locate them with clues that were attached to small pieces of candy, like miniature chocolate bunnies, or a Reese peanut butter egg. And, the clues were quite cryptic, and some were really tricky to figure out. Here's a sample of what I mean...
- I control everything that you watch (located in the remote control holder)
- I'm hiding behind your sister and your brother-in-law (hidden behind their wedding photo on top of our VCR)
- I'm the place where “Sunlight” and “Tides” can be found (hidden in the laundry hamper)
- You can turn me on to shed some light on the subject (hidden behind a desk lamp)
You see what I mean? Those were tough clues to figure out for a kid! Yet, the final clue once I figured it out would lead to the smorgasbord of Easter treats. And, I congratulated myself on a job well done...despite the one year that I found my basket before I solved all the clues.
And, of course, all of us kids had our all-time favourites when it came down to what Easter candy we liked best. My eldest sister was a fan of white chocolate bunnies. My other sister enjoyed Laura Secord eggs. I myself absolutely have to have some form of Cadbury Mini Eggs. And, of course, all three of us were addicted to Reese Peanut Butter Eggs.
So, why am I talking so much about candy? Well, there's a couple of reasons why. First off, it's no secret that Easter candy makes up a huge part of Easter Sunday celebrations. It's estimated that in the United States of America, people spent almost $2.1 BILLION on Easter candy in 2012 alone! And, it's also estimated that Americans consume sixteen billion jellybeans on Easter Sunday alone! No wonder people are always in a good mood on Easter...they're all on a sugar high!
And, the second reason why I have decided to talk about candy is because today's featured song happens to have the word “Candy” in its title. We're going back in time thirty-one years for this one.
ARTIST: Bow Wow Wow
SONG: I Want Candy
ALBUM: The Last of the Mohicans
DATE RELEASED: May 1982
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS: #62
Not a lot of people may know this about this American one-hit-wonder by Bow Wow Wow, but this song is actually a cover version. The original hit was actually recorded just one year before lead singer, Annabella Lwin was born! Back in 1965, a group known as “The Strangeloves” released the original version, which if you like, you can listen to below!
TRIVIA: The Strangeloves had a fictional back story. Although the band originated in New York City, they claimed to hail from Australia. They claimed to be former sheep farmers who went by the names of Giles, Niles, and Miles Strange. In actuality, their real names were Bob Feldman, Richard Gottehrer, and Jerry Goldstein. Their record charted within the Top 10 in Canada, and peaked at #11 in America. Ironically enough, it never charted in Australia!
Seventeen years after the original charted, a British New Wave band decided to try their hand at success by recording their own version.
Interestingly enough, Bow Wow Wow was formed with an ulterior motive aside from making music. Malcolm McLaren was the man behind the band, and in 1980, he decided that one of the best ways to promote the fashions that up and coming designer Vivienne Westwood had created was to have the band wearing them while performing. The band's original line-up comprised of guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman, and drummer David Barbarossa (of Adam and the Ants fame). As for the lead singer, it took some time for the band to find someone suitable.
Six months into the auditions, the band eventually settled on Annabella Lwin, a young girl that an acquaintance of McLaren's discovered at a dry cleaning place. She auditioned, and secured the position of lead singer in 1980.
Oh yeah...did I mention that at the time she was hired, Annabella Lwin was just thirteen years old? That's younger than the age that Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Britney Spears was when they had their first single released!
Needless to say, Annabella's age proved to be a factor in regards to some controversy regarding the band's album cover for “The Last of the Mohicans”, which contained the single “I Want Candy”. The album cover was taken in late 1981, and was a complete re-enactment of the famous painting “The Luncheon on the Grass”, by Manet.
Just for the record, here's the original painting below...
...and here's the 1981 album cover, which would be used for the band's 1982 album...
Now, what if I told you that Annabella was just fifteen years old when that photo was taken? Of course, the album cover doesn't exactly reveal any naughty bits (I'm sure if it did, it would have been double the scandal and double the trouble for the band), but Annabella's mother was concerned that the album cover was exploiting a minor, and even got Scotland Yard to launch an investigation into the matter.
Eventually, the investigation was dropped and McLaren had to promise not to promote Lwin as a “sex kitten” in order for the band to tour outside of the United Kingdom. If he didn't, Annabella Lwin would have been forced to quit the band.
At any rate, Lwin stayed on with the band long enough to record the song that got them noticed, “I Want Candy”. The video itself is quite...um...sub-standard compared to the videos that have been released since, but keep in mind that back in 1982, it was considered revolutionary and artistic. It certainly got a lot of airplay on MTV, which helped cement its place in the history of New Wave.
The song is now considered to be one of the most recognizable singles of the 1980s, and thirty-one years later, people still speak fondly of it. Recently, it was ranked at #86 on VH1's “Greatest Songs of the '80s”, and it landed at #8 on VH1's “Greatest One-Hit-Wonders of the 80s”. And, I'll be the first to admit that it is a great song!
So, what happened to the members of Bow Wow Wow since “I Want Candy” put everyone on a New Wave sugar rush?
Well, David Barbarossa would go on to be a part of another band, the British-based alternative group Republica, fronted by Saffron. If you're not sure of who they are, they released a couple of singles between 1996 and 1997 entitled “Ready to Go” (above) and “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. He had also been working on his first novel, “Mud Sharks”, which was eventually released in late 2012.
Annabella Lwin was kicked out of Bow Wow Wow in the fall of 1983, and embarked on a solo career, which spawned 1986's “Fever”. She reconnected with the former bass player of Bow Wow Wow in the mid-1990s, and re-created the Bow Wow Wow sound with rotating musicians filling in for the departed members. She also did some philanthropy work with her musical talents following the devastating tsunami in December 2004.
Sadly, there was no happy ending for Matthew Ashman. Following Annabella Lwin's departure from the band, Bow Wow Wow reinvented themselves as Chiefs of Relief, and Ashman became the band's frontman. That band would break up five years later in 1988, and Ashman stayed away from the music industry for a few years. He had been attempting to make a bit of comeback by joining the line-up of the group Agent Provocateur, but just before the band could release their album, Ashman died of complications from diabetes in 1995. He was just thirty-five years old.
And, that is our spotlight on the New Wave group, Bow Wow Wow. Not exactly the most relevant subject to talk about on an Easter Sunday...but then again, I've always loved weird traditions. Now, if you excuse me...I want candy. Ah...an Aero Peppermint Lamb. Delicious!