Girl Group Chronicles: Candy and the Kisses

    In 1963 a group calling themselves Candy and the Kisses recorded a beautiful ballad entitled "A Good Cry," on the R&L label. The song missed out on a lot of airwaves, and that group disapeared from the music scene, however, one year later, three young ladies on the Cameo label would revive the name to great success.

Candy and Suzanne Nelson were daughters of a minister in New York when they and friend Jeanette Johnson decided to form a girl group like many teen girls of the day. The Symphonettes, as they christened themselves were soon discovered by a young Jerry Ross, producer extraordinaire.

Ross had been in Philadelphia with Kenny Gamble, and while at a record hop they saw some kids doing a new dance they called "The 81" to a Martha and the Vandellas song, "In My Lonely Room." The duo immediately made a sound-a-like dance tune called the "The 81" and had Candy and the gals record it for release. Soon the single, and its B-side "Two Happy People" peaked just outside the Top 50 on the charts.

The group followed up their hit status with a cover version of an unreleased Ronettes’ song called "Soldier Baby (Of Mine)." The song didn’t spark much interest until Brenda Hall used a much more uptempo version for the B-side of her "Oh Eddy My Baby" single. Also from this period came the live recording "Shakin’ Time," which was another dance tune.

Candy and the Kisses soon jumped over to the Sceptor label, which had had much success with the Shirelles and Dionne Warwick. "Keep On Searchin" kept the Kisses searchin’ for another hit, but neither that single, nor its several follow-ups were big successes.  The Sceptor-Kisses match may not have been friutful on the charts, but artistically both entities were at their finest with songs like "Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby," "You Did The Best You Could," and "Out In The Streets Again." The group retired after one further release on Decca.