Candy” is a song from Iggy Pop‘s ninth solo album, Brick by Brick. A duet with Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, it was the album’s second single, in September 1990. It became the biggest mainstream hit of Pop’s career, as he reached the top 40 in the United States for the first and only time. The song additionally peaked within the top 10 in Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands. “I’ve written one good pop song: ‘Candy’,” he noted. “It’s a very decent, proper pop song, but that’s as far as that went.”
The cover was drawn by American cartoonist Charles Burns. “Candy” reappeared on the 1996 compilation Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop and the 2005 two-disc collection A Million in Prizes: The Anthology.
The initial narrator is a man (Pop) who grieves a lost love. Following the first chorus, the perspective of the woman (Pierson) is heard. She expresses, unbeknownst to the male, that she misses him too. According to Pop, the lyrics refer to a teenage girlfriend, Betsy:
I was looking back on my relationship with her, and I thought ‘Let’s be fair. Let the girl have her say.’ I wanted a girl who would sing with a small-town voice, and Kate has a little twang in her voice that sounds slightly rural and naive.
In the United States, “Candy” debuted on November 24, 1990, at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at number 28 in February 1991 and is Pop’s only single to appear on the chart. The song was a top-five modern rock hit, remaining on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for 17 weeks. It also reached the top 30 of the Album Rock Tracks chart. Elsewhere, the single reached the top 10 in Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia, peaking at numbers 10, four, and nine, respectively. “Candy” also charted well in New Zealand, reaching number 39, and is Pop’s only other song to chart there besides the number-one hit “Real Wild Child (Wild One)“. However, it was not as commercially successful in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 67.
In 2008, the song was ranked number seven on Spinner.com‘s list of the 10 best duets ever, and number 14 in Retrocrush’s list of the 25 greatest duets of all time.