The Candy Man

Album: Best Of Sammy Davis Jr. (1972)
Charted: 1


  • Aubrey Woods performed this in the 1971 movie Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson. Co-writer Anthony Newley was so appalled at Woods' performance that he asked producers Stan Margulies and David Wolper to let him perform Woods' role if they could reshoot the scene, but Newley's offer was turned down.
  • As the movie wrapped up production, Mike Curb recorded an instrumental backing for the song with Sammy Davis Jr. in mind. The former member of the Rat Pack didn't like the song at first but decided to do it anyway. The result: the biggest hit of Davis' career.
  • Newley wasn't too thrilled with Davis's version either. He was recording his own edition of the song when MGM released Davis's version as a single. Newley was going through a divorce from actress Joan Collins in the same year Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory was released.
  • In 1985, this became the "Sunshine Baker Man" in a television commercial. Davis sang it, too.
  • This song was used in the animated film Madagascar as Alex the lion is hit with a tranquilizer dart. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alistair - Dundee, Scotland
  • After Sammy reluctantly eventually agreed to record the song, he rushed through it in two takes before heading to Vietnam to entertain the troops. "This record is going straight into the toilet," he complained at the time. "Not just around the rim but into the bowl, and it may just pull my whole career down with it." (Source Mojo magazine)

Comments: 15

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenFunny how many times someone will record a song they don't care for and strike gold. Bing Crosby didn't like "White Christmas" and it remains the best selling single of all time. Richard Carpenter didn't like "Close to You" and after Herb Alpert (boss of A&M Records) insisted that he record it, it became the Carpenters' first #1 single.
  • Dave The Great from Alta Loma,califI performed this song 9 years ago in the seniors follies in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I will sing it again this year in the follies. When I sang the first time I was told that the producer that talked Sammy in to recording it was in the audiince and was quite thrilled with my performance.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 19th 1972, Sammy Davis, Jr. guest-starred on the CBS-TV sitcom 'All In The Family', the episode's final scene was Sammy planting a surprise kiss on Archie Bunker's cheek...
    Just over two weeks later on March 5th "Candy Man" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #97...
    {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 5th 1972, "Candy Man" by Sammy Davis, Jr entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #97; and on June 4th it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 7 of those 21 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on May 14th, 1972 it also reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Back-up vocals were provided by the Mike Curb Congregation (the year before they peaked at #34 with the song "Burning Bridge" from the film 'Kelly's Heroes')...
    R.I.P. Mr. Davis (1925 - 1990).
  • Camille from Toronto, OhJune 2012: This tune is rarely played on the radio, but the other day hubby & I heard it and sang along...we were 14 years old when this was a hit; funny how you never forget the words. This is a pure, innocent song that in less than three minutes can make you believe in a carnival-like place where maybe miracles really can still happen. Full of good-will and happiness with a wonderful melody. Sammy Davis Jr. was at the right time of his life to record this and I think his star power helped lift it to its popularity.
  • Carolyn from Knoville, TnI like this one--and if it was written about drugs, I guess I didn't understand that in 1972. Still and's a fun song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NySammy had another Top 10 record that was also from a movie; "Something's Gotta Give" from the film "Daddy Long Legs" peaked at #9 in 1955!!!
  • Jas from Clifton, TxYou're correct Jay. Every song ever written is about drugs. Rainbow Connection? Totally about meth. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron? Obviously a veiled reference to a glowing crack pipe. The theme from Ghostbusters? Anyone will tell you the metaphorical "ghost" they're "busting" is peyote. Puff the Magic Dragon? OK, that one's really about drugs. Every ABBA song ever written? Songs about exotic Swedish drugs we haven't even heard of yet. Amazing Grace? Well, you just try and listen to that song and pretend it wasn't written about amazing grass. Since I'm pretty sure 3/4 of the people this is aimed at are too busy reading the latest conspiracy email to get it, I'm mocking how people seem to put a drug reference into every song that was ever written by anybody about anything. It's a song about Willy Wonka, who happened to be a guy who sold candy. That makes him a candy man. Visionary international confectioner doesn't fit into a song.
  • Matthew from Berlin, GermanyI do not understand all critical comments on this page. For me, this song brings back so many positive impressions from my childhood in the seventies. And it has a strong underlying motive in it as well: there are people out there (candy men and women) who do good and reduce a bit all that chaos, hatred and frustration in other people's lives. That is MY Candyman!
  • Larry from Wayne, PaThe "eight-decade career" refers to the fact that he started performing as a very young boy in the late 1920's, and stopped in 1990, the year he died. It doesn't mean he performed for 80 years, just that he performed in eight different decades.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdOf course it's not about about drugs. It's one some people's list of the worst songs of all time.
    Yes, they should have used Tony Newley (who was sort of the Pat Boone of Great Britian) other than another actor. The song's about Willy Wonka as it turns out in the end.
  • Jay from New York, NyIf people's comments are to be believed, every song ever written is about drugs! I have to check out Snoopy vs. the Red Baron to see if anyone found drug references. (Snoopy must be high on something to fantasize about fighting in World War I.) Just because a word can be used to mean a drug, it does not mean that it is being used to mean that drug. A song can be innocent. If you look hard enough illicit references, you can find them just about anywhere, but that does not mean they were intended by the songwriter.
  • Aaron from New Glasgow, CanadaThis was used in a hilarious bit (probably the only one) on the Canadian Wayne and Schuster show in which one of them (I forget which) sings this while backed by his "All Girl Band". The "All Girl Band" is infact a group of men in drag, often with facial hair and large cigars.
  • Homer from Versailles, IlThis song was parodied on The Simpsons as "The Garbage Man", after Homer had become sanitation commisioner of Springfield. Homer had promised the garbage men would do a lot of menial labor.
  • Chris from Tucson, AzThis is offten missed, but the song refers to drugs.
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