"Hateful Head Helen" by Sweet Pussy Pauline is one of the most-sampled records of all times and the comedic track is the standard to which all future bitch tracks are judged. Performed by Candice Jordan, aka Candy J, the club (and drag) classic led to a collaboration with the Candy Girls that spawned the pop hits "Fee Fi Fo Fum" and "Wham Bam." With her feisty personality and one-of-a-kind performances, Candy J is one of those special people that will always bring a smile to your face.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So Candy, you're quite a legend in the music world.
Candy J: No, I'm not, no one knows me.
RS: Well we're going to change that with this interview. Let's
just start with pretty much the reason why a lot of people know you is
your song "Hateful Head Helen." How did that song come about?
Candy J: It was a joke because I'd heard Karen Finley's song "Tales of Taboo" and I said I can do that. I did it and my friend Phil Dickenson who was a Billboard reporter in Philadelphia, said to send him a copy of it. I went to the New Music Seminar and Junior Vasquez had got a copy and was playing it, and it just took off from there.
RS: Did you write the song yourself?
Candy J: Yes.
RS: Were you sort of channeling a special character?
Candy J: Oh no, personal experience. Just kidding. No, it was just a big idea that just came to me.
RS: Those lyrics are some of the most sampled lyrics in history.
Candy J: Yes, tell me about it. I've been able to pay my mortgage on a lot of those samples.
RS: For this one song, the actual acapella is on a twelve inch
so that gave DJs and producers the freedom to do new things with it.
Candy J: Yes, and a lot of people have presented me with mixes. Believe it or not, there were only three to four mixes of that song originally and now to date there's probably over five hundred different mixes of that song. Too bad I'm not getting paid for them, but sh*t happens. A girl's gotta do what a girl gotta do.
RS: Since you wrote the record, do you own the publishing on the record?
Candy J: Yes, I own it free and clear.
RS: So if you hear a record in another country that comes out
with your vocals, are you able to track them down and get your money
out of it?
Candy J: Yes, Universal usually does that for me. They call and ask if I give this company permission to sample it, and I'll say no. Normally I'll call them and try to work something out before the record company does anything with them. Do you want to hear a funny story?
RS: Go for it.
Candy J: The 2 Live Crew had sampled me and I called them. I was trying to be very ladylike and I said I was looking through my records and my contracts and I didn't see an agreement that came up with you sampling me music. So he says so 'what are you saying, are you going to sue me?' I said 'well yes, I am.' He say 'well stand in line bitch,' and hung up.
RS: Then what happened, what came of it?
Candy J: I'm still standing in line. I was just so shocked that I couldn't do anything. Sometimes people will ask me, remember that song "Groove is in the Heart?" I'm on that song, when it goes "one, two, three, wooo." They sampled that but I didn't do anything about it. I love Lady Miss Kier dearly.
RS: In the 90's, you did some work with the Candy Girls in the UK.
Candy J: That song "Fe Fi Fo Fum" sold 1.3 million copies. I did that song with Paul Masterson and Rachel Auburn.
RS: Was that the first time you ever did a video?
Candy J: We had video and that was the first time I had ever seen how fat I was. Just kidding, that was something different for me and I absolutely loved it.
RS: The video with the walking, what was it like trying to walk
with all those skinny, British girls?
Candy J: It was fun. That was the first time I had ever done a video shoot and we got there at five in the morning and were not finished until eleven that night. Then I had to be on stage at 12:30. That was a little different, believe me. I had on the best possible makeup for a show that I had ever had in my life. That was fun and then I did a video for Wham Bam where we were in a castle.