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Williams teamed up with his Take That bandmate Gary Barlow to write the first single from his ninth studio album, Take The Crown
. The pair also worked together on the 2010 joint single "Shame
" as well as their Take That work. Said Robbie about penning the track: "Some songs take an age to write and some songs just fall out of your mouth completely formed, and you don't have to think about it. I don't know why that fell out of my mouth and out of my brain at that particular time - it just did."
Williams said regarding the song's subject matter: "It's a summer song about a girl who thinks she's great. And she might be, but she's a bit nefarious with her ways."
The saxophone riff that runs through the sing is based on the bass line from Norwegian producer Todd Terje's "Eurodans," which was released in 2005 on the Full Pupp label. Terje consequently gets a songwriting credit alongside Williams and Barlow.
The song's music video was filmed in Spitalfields, East London in August 2012. Williams' leading lady is played by British actress Kaya Scodelario, who is best known for her role as Effy Stonem in the E4 drama Skins
and Catherine Earnshaw in the 2011 movie version of Wuthering Heights
. She has also featured in the visuals for several of Plan B's songs including "Stay Too Long
" and "She Said
Williams said regarding "Candy" in a video uploaded to his official YouTube channel: "There's no other song on my album that sounds like 'Candy' at all. It's a summer song very much in the similar vein as a 'Rock DJ
' and it took seconds to write. It's the story of a girl who thinks she's the s--t... and I've slept with her."
The song was Robbie's first solo UK #1 hit for eight years and the 14th number one of his career, counting the Take That chart-toppers on which he participated in between 1993 and 1995. It meant that Williams moved move into joint second place with Gary Barlow and Cliff Richard on the list of British artists with most chart-toppers, behind only the four members of the Beatles.
A number of fans have pointed out the similarities between the song and a prominent television advert for Haribo sweets. Speaking backstage in London, where he turned on the Christmas lights Robbie laughed off the comments: "The Haribo advert sounds like ring-a-ring of roses so it does sound like the Haribo advert, yes you' re right, but they can't sue me because they also sound like a nursery rhyme from a couple of centuries ago," he said.
"It was pointed out to me via YouTube when I read the comments and I was like ' oh yeah, it does doesn't it?' but I think every song has been written now and everything sounds similar."
Despite the song's success, it wasn't playlisted by BBC Radio 1. A spokesperson told The Sun: "Radio 1 see it not as a question of age, but of relevance. They think there are acts more appropriate to their target audience of 15-29."
Williams worked with the Irish producer Garret 'Jacknife' Lee on Take The Crown. The album was mostly mixed in Lee's Santa Monica home studio. "Garret (Lee) has got an amazing house up in Topanga," said Williams. "It's out the way and got an awesome studio... What's the point of going to these big [studios] if you can go to a home that you enjoy being at?"