When one sees the title ‘Candlelight’ one would expect a mellow schmoozy song about romantic scenes taking place in the soft light a candle creates, perhaps an intimate dinner or a relaxing bath. Well Richard Jon Smith seemed to have other ideas when he recorded this song which appears to have originally been the b-side of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, a single by a band called Fingernail.
Not too dissimilar to the original, Richard Jon Smith’s version immediately dispels any romantic images associated with candlelight and kicks off with a glam rock stomping beat and a joyful guitar. It’s not too long before Smith bursts into the song, taking over from the guitar with a howling cry of ‘Candlelight/shines so bright/every one is happy because you’re by my side’. And this growly vocal continues throughout the song as it wends its merry way along with platform boots abounding while shades of Slade and glimmers of Glitter flicker around this Clive Calder produced track.
The South African public took to this bright candlelight giving Smith his first of 9 Springbok chart hits. It spent 9 weeks on the chart in 1973 and peaked at 11, a deserved success as it was a polished 70’s rock hit which brought one of the most successful local artists of the 70’s to the fore. ‘Candlelight’ is a track to have ready to play next time there is loadshedding, it may help brighten your life. Alternatively you could put on the Springbok Nude Girls’ ‘Dimmer’ if you’re a glass half empty kind of person.
Where to find it:
Yesterday’s Best Vol 1, 1995, Teal, MORCD502