Roy Orbison, the legendary vocalist known for his soaring vocals and dramatic ballads, wasn’t always shrouded in melancholic yearning. Early in his career, he experimented with a wider range of sounds and themes. One such example is the playful and unexpected Candy Man, released in 1961 as the B-side to his international hit “Crying.”

While the exact songwriting credits remain unclear, some sources credit Fred Neil and Beverly Ross as the composers, with Fred Foster producing the track. Candy Man stands in stark contrast to Orbison’s signature sound. It leans towards a more lighthearted pop aesthetic, featuring a jaunty melody driven by a prominent piano and a playful backing band. Orbison’s vocals, although undeniably his own, are delivered with a touch of whimsy, showcasing his adaptability as a singer.

Candy Man wasn’t a chart-topping hit, overshadowed by the success of its A-side counterpart, “Crying.” However, the song holds a special place in the hearts of Orbison fans who appreciate his versatility. It wasn’t included on any of his studio albums during his lifetime, though it was eventually included as a bonus track on reissues of “Crying” and made its official album debut on the 1962 compilation Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits.

The lyrical content of Candy Man depicts a mysterious figure who brings joy and sweetness. The playful lyrics, contrasting sharply with Orbison’s usual themes of heartbreak, paint a picture of a carefree character who spreads happiness wherever he goes. Lines like “Candy Man, oh Candy Man, where you been so long?” inject a sense of lighthearted curiosity into the song.

Candy Man stands as a fascinating anomaly in Roy Orbison’s discography. By dissecting this B-side gem, we gain a deeper understanding of Orbison’s artistic range. The song showcases his willingness to experiment with different sounds and themes, demonstrating that his talent wasn’t confined to the realm of dramatic ballads. Candy Man serves as a reminder that even the most iconic artists can surprise us with their versatility, offering a glimpse into the playful side of “The Crying Voice of Rock and Roll.”