candy says


It wasn’t until the other night when I watched the feature length documentary, Beautiful Darling, that I understood the song “Candy Says,” which has haunted my memory for 25 years. This song was playing just before Holly and I departed for the hospital and her first surgery. The surgery was not a success. She died of cancer 2½ years later.

The film was about the American actress Candy Darling (1944–1974), a transgender woman best known as a Warhol Superstar. Born as Jimmy Slattery (shown above), she starred in Andy Warhol’s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was a muse of the protopunk band The Velvet Underground. A high school pariah rejected by her homophobic father, even at the peak of her “fame,” she lived hand-to-mouth and slept on people’s couches. Candy died at age 29 after a life lived on the margins.


Now that I have seen the documentary, I realize that this was not the most auspicious song to have played on this occasion. I chalk it up today as the result of my tending not to listen to and analyze song lyrics; the music was simply expressive of our subdued and apprehensive mood on that early morning. Plus, I have always been partial to the music of Lou Reed.

According to ex-Interview editor, Bob Colacello, Candy had “leukemia and a malignant tumor in her stomach.” When he told Andy Warhol about Candy’s condition, Bob recalls “for the first and only time in the seventeen years I knew him, I saw him cry.”


Groove of the Day

Listen to The Velvet Underground performing “Candy Says”


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