The Strangeloves Became Genuine Faux Australians

One of the oddest stories to come out of the 1960s pop music era had to be that of the Strangeloves, a group formed by three guys who’d been record producers and songwriters, but decided they wanted to get in on the action as performers. Of course, they weren’t the first to do that, but what made their effort extra unusual was that they invented a completely phoney background for their group — one that included an Australian origin. The oddest thing is that it worked – at least for a while – because 1965’s “I Want Candy” was a huge hit for the guys.

Jerry Goldstein, Bob Feldman, and Richard Gottehrer were Brooklyn music pros who’d already had some success behind the scenes. For one thing, they’d written and produced one of the biggest hits of the era, “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels. But the threesome decided that they could make it as performers themselves, and since British bands were all the rage at that time, why not make themselves sound a little more exotic?

They became Miles, Giles, and Niles Strange, brothers who’d supposedly grown up on an Australian sheep ranch. To add to the legend, it was even claimed that they’d invented a new crossbreed of sheep, making them so rich that they could afford to take time off to pursue a musical career.

It’s difficult to say whether the Strangeloves’ story was accepted at face value by music fans, but the group’s music did have some appeal. A pounding beat reminiscent of Bo Diddley was combined with some good guitar licks and lively choruses, and the result was popular with record buyers. Although “I Want Candy” would be the group’s biggest seller, the guys would also have minor hits with “Cara-Lin” and “Nighttime” before later dissolving. But all three ‘brothers’ would continue to have long careers in music, mostly behind the scenes.

The Strangeloves – “Cara-Lin”

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