Wednesday, December 1, 2021

"Dancing Under a Latin Moon" by Candi

Song#:  3688
Date:  10/22/1988
Debut:  85
Peak:  68
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Latin Freestyle, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Despite the singular female moniker, Candi was actually a band. The Canadian outfit first started out as a band-for-hire called Sensation with lead singer Candita Pennella. Wanting to be more than just a wedding/event band, they began working up some original material and that along with their live performance experience helped them to get signed to I.R.S. Records. A name change was in order so since Pennella's nickname was Candy, they chose to go by Candi. Work began on a self-titled debut album with songwriter/producer David Shaw. Their first single was the Latin freestyle-tinged "Dancing Under a Latin Moon." It would spend a few weeks in the lower reaches of the Pop chart while also getting to #46 at Dance. A follow-up single, "Under Your Spell," would only manage to reach #39 Dance. With those results, the album would fail to chart. I.R.S. gave them a second opportunity and in 1990 they issued out World Keeps on Turning. For that effort, the band updated their name to Candi & the Backbeat as the singular Candi made it seem like Pennella was a solo artist and they wanted to be recognized as a band. The LP came and went to little notice with only the track "Friends Forever" getting to #38 at Dance. Following the album, the band decided to call it quits. Pennella and the band's drummer, Paul Russo, would later get married. Pennella would then move from the music business to education. It seems she became a high school music teacher in the Toronto area.

ReduxReview:  This song sounds as if DeBarge had recorded a freestyle song with Miami Sound Machine that was produced by Lionel Richie. It has a "Rhythm of the Night"/"Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" feel mixed with a little "All Night Long." The good news is that it worked. The track is fun, nicely produced, and Pennella's voice was a nice fit for it. The bad news is that it got nowhere. It should have easily cracked the Pop Top 40 and even seen some AC action. It makes me wonder if I.R.S. just didn't promote it well enough in the States. The band was on to something with their catchy dance-pop/freestyle songs, but I'm not sure they got a fair shake in the US. Their second album was more sophisticated with "Friends Forever" kind of sounding like a Lisa Stansfield track. While they didn't quite have the right songs to be significant chart contenders, their singles should have done much better and they should have been able to have a longer, better career.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  While Candi's success in the US was quite limited, they did much better in their Canadian homeland. They would end up with six Top 40 entries including their only Top 10, the ballad "Love Makes No Promises" (#9). Their songs would end up earning them five Juno nominations as well. Two of those nods went to Pennella for Female Vocalist of the Year. On her second go at the award, Pennella lost the award to a singer that had been a star in Canada for several years, but was just starting to break out in the US and other countries - Celine Dion. It was Dion's first Juno win in that category and the first of a four in a row for her. She would go on to win the award two more times.


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