The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Jr. (MGM, 1972)

Many people think Sammy sang the theme to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He did not. But he did do a cover of it which went straight to #1 and gave him the nickname, Candy Man, for the rest of his life. And of course he wasn’t too keen on recording it in the first place.

The meeting went something like this: ‘I used to pass broads between Dino & Frankie Bones & me and ya want me sing about rainbows, man? I sing for the chics, not the kids, ya dig? My ex-wife wants how much? Ok babe this one’s for the kids. And I mean that.’

The song widely panned and put on ‘worst of the 70s’ lists, but that’s an unfair rap to give it. Sure it’s a very sunshiny happy tune with a children’s chorus that anyone can easily work into their Vegas act, but that’s its charm as well. Plus it’s a great one to do at karaoke and Sammy sings the hell out of it. Of course the lyrics’ earnestness has not aged well. Especially when you imagine Sammy lines like:

Who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream

See, you sickos out there aren’t thinking about candy….unless she spells it with an ‘I’. And what the hell is a groovy lemon pie? Is the Candy Man spiking my baked goods? Now I’m starting to question Sammy’s intentions when he gathers the children around and asks them what kind of candy they want, specifically what kind of chocolate candy. Isn’t there some sort of lesson our parents taught us about not taking candy from stra…aw fuck it, it’s the Candy Man. Gimme some of those edible dishes and the gum turns you blue.

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