Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bang Records: I Want Candy

We are getting a late start this week on our fourth week label feature, but it is better late than never. In 1965, some principals from Atlantic Records set out on a mission to create another record label – Bang Records. Its name was an acronym of the first name initials of Bert Berns, Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün, and Gerald (Jerry) Wexler.

In similar fashion, a corresponding music publishing company, Web IV, music was an acronym of their last names of Wexler, Ertegün, and Berns. The IV was added as there were four original partners. The label was initially distributed by Atlantic, but you would never know this from the label, as distribution appeared to be credited to Web IV Music whose offices were located in the famous Brill Building and not at the Atlantic Records complex at 1841 Broadway.

Eventually, Berns became the sole owner of Bang Records and upon his untimely death in December 1967, the ownership of the label was retained by his widow Ilene. By this time, Bang was distributing its own product. In 1971, Ilene Berns moved the operation to Atlanta where it remained until CBS purchased the label in 1979. CBS discontinued the imprint in 1982. While the label was sold to CBS, Web IV Music remained the property of Ilene Berns.

While a number of hit artists such as Neil Diamond, The McCoys, Van Morrison, Paul Davis and others recorded for Bang, today we feature the very first Bang release – The Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy.” The single was released on May 22, 1965.

The Strangeloves was a fictional band that was purported to be made up three sheepherding brothers from Australia: Miles, Niles, and Giles Strange. Actually, the band was the production team of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Jerry Gottehrer along with session musicians. The Australian motif for the band was selected as to be different from the numerous British Invasion bands at the time who were making waves on this side of the Atlantic.

Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer, and Bert Berns contributed to the composition; incidentally, the credits were attributed to their real names rather than to Miles, Niles, and Giles Strange. Although involved in the writing process, Berns was not involved in the recording of “I Want Candy.” With the popularity of this hit, a touring band had to be created to keep the myth of the Strange brothers alive. The rest, as they say, is history.

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