Our Top 10 Bow Wow Wow Songs introduces us to a band that made quite a mark with a huge hit entitled “I Want Candy,” sung by a teen as their lead singer. Bow Wow Wow would start in 1980, thanks to the efforts of Malcolm McLaren (former Sex Pistols manager) in persuading some members of the Adam and the Ants band to form a new group under his management. These would include drummer David Barbe, bassist Leigh Gorman, and guitarist Matthew Ashman. Leaving Adam Ant from the former band meant that Bow Wow Wow had no vocalist. McLaren led his new band members in a six-month audition process, searching for a perfect lead artist who would suit their requirements for a mega new wave band.
After a long search, the band would heed to music director and talent scout Dave Fishel’s suggestion to audition thirteen-year-old Annabella Lwin, who he heard singing along to the radio at a laundromat. Lwin grabbed the opportunity with both hands having her impress McLaren and the other Bow Wow Wow members. McLaren would shortly add George Alan O’Dowd to the band as a lead vocalist to sing along with Lwin. However, George would not stay for long, leaving to establish a new band under the name Culture Club and later achieved global success as Boy George. On the other hand, Bow Wow Wow would remain quite an influential band with their songs characterized by a danceable new wave sound and seditious lyrics. Here are the top 10 Bow Wow Wow songs that bring the best of surf instrumentals and the Burundi ritual drum beats.
# 10 – W.O.R.K.
Ushering us into the top 10 Bow Wow Wow songs is the song “W.O.R.K.” from the band’s debut album. You can’t help but love the sublime drum and bass instrumentals that serve as the perfect way to introduce you to the musical style of Bow Wow Wow. Lwin disappoints not having her sing powerfully to the song’s beats, giving us the best of the pubescent voices ever in the new wave music genre. The song “W.O.R.K.” remains a memorable song from their debut album, having it help the band’s music sell.
# 9 – C30, C60, C90, Go!
Featured in Bow Wow Wow’s album, I Want Candy was the debut single composed by McLaren, Leigh Gorman, Matthew Ashman, and Dave Barbe. The song made history having it being the first-ever cassette single—however, E.M.I. Records refused to promote the cassette single due to its lyrics that in some way encouraged home taping. “C30, C60, C90, Go!” brings to you drumming sounds so sublime and catchy that you can’t help but shake your head to the beat of the song. The song would reach a peak position of number 34 on the U.K. Singles Chart, remaining for seven weeks.
# 8 – Baby, Oh No!
“Baby, Oh No” was among the few songs that achieved global success from the band’s debut album—peaking at number 58 on the Billboard Dance/Disco chart. “Baby, Oh No” was quite a big song having its music video received some airplay on MTV. Thanks to its great composition that the band saw the song mentioned in books such as “All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul” and “Pocket D.J.” Annabella Lwin produces such a great performance that brought to life Matthew Ashman’s guitar skills.
# 7 – See Jungle! (Jungle Boy)
Featured in Bow Wow Wow’s album, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!, the song “See Jungle!” made its mark by becoming of their best songs ever. The song brings on some African vibe to the new wave music genre, with the song based on a song from Kawupheli, a South African group. Dave Barbarossa brings in his sublime drumming skills to give the song the much-needed African vibe thanks to the Burundi drum beats.
# 6 – The Man Mountain
The song “The Man Mountain” is one of the best releases from the band’s 1983 album, When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going. While Lwin didn’t feature in the composition of most of the band’s songs, she was tagged along in making this song. Along with Leigh Gorman, Dave Barbarossa, and Matthew Ashman, Lwin would be part of some awe-inspiring lyrics for the song “The Man Mountain.” Lwin’s vocals in this song are awesome in every way, making her a worthwhile face of the band.
# 5 – Go Wild in the Country
“Go Wild in the Country” was the first single to be produced by someone other than McLaren. The song got quite a positive reception and remained on the U.K. Singles Chart for 13 weeks with a peak position of number 7. Its lyrics refer to disdain for city life, takeaway meals, and the desire to go wild. The song would be their first to hit get to the top ten on the U.K. Singles Chart.
# 4 – Chihuahua
Featured in Bow Wow Wow’s album, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!, the song “Chihuahua” is one of the songs by the band that sends shivers to your body. Listening to this song, you can attest that Lwin was a young teenage girl so much ahead of her time. Furthermore, you ought to love Lwin’s tonal variation in the song, which makes her a vocal goddess from the 80s, especially at her age.
# 3 – Aphrodisiac
Among the top 10 Bow Wow Wow songs, the song “Aphrodisiac” is probably the most balanced. The song brings on some sublime guitar and bass lines and which complement Lwin’s vocals optimally. Dave’s drumming skills are also part of “Aphrodisiac’s” greatness. The band would perform this song amongst other releases for their fans on their live tours. In some way, you can feel that Bow Wow Wow is an underrated English band in their new wave music genre.
# 2 – Do You Wanna Hold Me?
Featured in their album, When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going, the song “Do You Wanna Hold Me?” is one of the greatest original compositions by Bow Wow Wow. “Do You Wanna Hold Me?” is quite a muddled ballad with references to California and a demonic Mickey Mouse referred to as a house. You ought to love Lwin’s vocals which served the song right, leading to a catchy chorus.
# 1 – I Want Candy
At number is the song that proved that a band’s career highlight could be a cover song. Bow Wow Wow had their name written in bold following their sublime performance on The Strangeloves’ song “I Want Candy.” The song was inspired by the 1958 book Candy written by Terry Southern alongside Mason Hoffenberg. Bow Wow Wow was interested in the song when producer Kenny Laguna was introduced to them. And to exploit the success of this song, Bow Wow Wow’s record label at the moment, R.C.A., compiled an album, I Want Candy which served the band’s audience perfectly.
Top 10 Bow Wow Wow Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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