Bob Feldman, the songwriter and record producer behind such ‘60s hits as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “I Want Candy” and “Sorrow,” has died at the age of 83. Feldman’s friend and longtime collaborator Richard Gottehrer confirmed the death in a statement to Billboard.
“It’s with great sadness that I announce the passing of Bob Feldman, my friend and legendary songwriting partner,” Gottehrer wrote. “As a team, we go back to the 1960s and the Brill Building days where we wrote and/or produced classics like ‘My Boyfriend’s Back,’ ‘I Want Candy,’ ‘Hang on Sloopy’ and ‘Sorrow,’ which was eventually recorded and became an everlasting hit by David Bowie. We were even an ‘Australian’ band that called ourselves the Strangeloves.
“We were young and inexperienced but learned how to produce by making demos of our songs; this led each of us to ongoing active careers in music after we went our separate ways,” Gottehrer’s statement continued. “We remained friends and to this day 60 years later are still partners in those same companies we started back then.”
Born in Brooklyn, Feldman came in contact with many future stars, even before he devoted his life to music. Neil Sedaka was one of his high school classmates, while Feldman sang alongside Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand in the All-City choir. He eventually began collaborating with his neighbor, Jerry Goldstein, on song ideas, with Gottehrer later making the trio of songwriters complete.
Together, they wrote “My Boyfriend’s Back,” which became a chart-topping hit for the Angels in 1963. A year later, in response to the British Invasion, Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer formed a group called the Strangeloves. Initially, they pretended to be Australian and even invented an elaborate backstory about being raised on a rural sheep farm. The facade was eventually dropped, but the Strangeloves did enjoy commercial success, scoring three Top 40 hits: “I Want Candy” (No. 11), “Cara-Lin” (No. 39) and “Night Time” (No. 30).
Listen to the Strangeloves’ ‘I Want Candy’
The Strangeloves didn’t last long, but Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer continued writing together. Two of their songs, “Hang on Sloopy” and “Sorrow,” were released by the McCoys in 1965. While the former enjoyed instant popularity, the latter later became an international hit for Bowie in 1973.
In 1982, English new wave band Bow Wow Wow released their version of “I Want Candy,” bringing the track back to the forefront of pop culture. It is often ranked among the biggest one-hit wonders of the 1980s. Dion and Ronnie James Dio are just some of the many other artists who recorded Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer material.
In 2019, Feldman released a memoir Simply Put! Thoughts and Feelings From the Heart. The songwriter is survived by his two daughters, Kyle and Mahri. He was also the biological father of Corey Feldman; however, the actor emancipated himself from Bob and his mother Sheila when he was 15 years old.
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