“Oh! Are you serious did you really not know”. That’s what a giggling Orby said to me 30 years later. You see in 1964 the Trems and me were on tour with the great man, and a few others in the UK. One night a few of us were sitting in the tour coach outside one of the theatres, (Yes, we had become respectable by then), when Orby played us a song accompanying himself on guitar. We were No. 1 with Do You Love Me at the time but knew there was no way to follow Roy Orbison on the show and so we were closing the first half.
His rendition of Candy Man was slower and more bluesy but he suddenly said “Hey you can make this a dancer”, and speeded it up. Over the next few weeks we socialised quite a bit with Roy and often talked about his family. He also met all of our families and although homesick gave us pictures which I have to this day of Claudette and Roy Duanne. One of them was of him and his wife riding their motorbikes on his ranch. When we came to record Candy Man it had changed from being a bluesy song, to being a fast dance song. In fact the Candy Man was now a pussycat, sweetie giver. One of my most treasured photos taken just before we went into Decca Studios to record Candy Man, was of Roy Orbison and Norman Petty playing snooker, which I took at our Manager’s office in London. We already had Orby’s influence on Candy Man but when we came to recording the drums there was a slight problem. We wanted a really dry snare drum sound, which was quite hard to get when you only had one or two tracks to record all the instruments on. Norman Petty had told us about the way a match box was used on one or two Cricket songs, so we tried this. Dave Munden our drummer taped the match box to his knee, using one stick, a mike was carefully placed and bobs yer uncle, Candy Man was born. Having a chance recently to read about Beverley Ross was a great pleasure for me, and I hope we didn’t change the feel of Candy Man too much. The outcome though was another top 5 hit for us in many countries with the No.1 spot in many of them. To this day people still remember being hit on the head by us throwing sweets at our gigs in the 60’s. Little did they know that a far different meaning could have been put to this timeless song still being played on radio stations all over the world and by us with much pleasure. Thanks Bev.
Can you get in youth please?
My overriding memory of you, The Tremeloes and Candy Man was when my band at the time, Ten Feet Five from Andover – a forerunner of The Troggs, played as support band to you at Swindon Locarno. It was just after the release of Candy Man which was heading up the charts. We were cheeky buggers in those days. You and the boys were in the shared dressing room behind the stage and, just for a laugh, we decided to start ‘Hi Heel Sneakers’ with the intro to Candy Man (Try it, it works!). There was much banging on the adjoining wall until you guys realized we weren’t doing your song, which was of course a big no, no. I now live in Virginia, U.S.A. and my band there is The Roc-o-Diles. Keep rocking, Brian.