The Strangeloves have one of the weirdest, most fascinating stories of any ’60s band. Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer were pop producers and songwriters in New York, and in 1963, they scored a #1 hit with the Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back.” (Two years later, they also produced and played on another #1 hit, the McCoys’ “Hang On Sloopy,” but they didn’t write that one.)
But shortly after those three guys had their breakthrough, pop music changed. Bands like the Beatles largely replaced pre-fabricated Brill Building pop songs. So those three guys decided that they’d form a band to play their own songs. That band was the Strangeloves, and they invented an elaborate backstory about how they were Australian brothers raised on a sheep farm. They also wrote some truly catchy garage-rock jams, and they scored a few hits, including the all-time classic standard “I Want Candy.”
The Strangeloves broke up shortly after those hits landed, and the members of the group did different things in the industry. Goldstein produced and wrote songs for War, and he managed Sly & The Family Stone and Isaac Hayes and LFO. (Yes, that LFO.) Gottehrer co-founded Sire Records, founded the Orchard, and produced records for Blondie, the Go-Go’s, and the Dum Dum Girls.
Right now, Yo La Tengo are in the midst of their traditional surprise-heavy run of Hanukkah shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. During this year’s first two shows, they brought out, respectively, Graham Nash and the Blind Boys Of Alabama. And during last night’s set, as Brooklyn Vegan reports, they brought out the reunited Strangeloves, who reportedly had not performed together in 53 years.
With Yo La Tengo backing them up, the Strangeloves sang “Cara-Lin,” “Night Time,” “Hang On Sloopy,” and “I Want Candy.” Everyone onstage wore matching vests. The Strangeloves didn’t sound like angels (or the Angels) or anything, but they’re old men now, and it’s a blast just to see them getting a chance to sing these great songs for a happy audience. Watch fan-made videos of “Cara-Lin” and “I Want Candy” below.
Pop music rules.