Candy Johnson

Born on May 1, 1922, in Madison, Illinois, and departing on June 28, 1981, in Framingham, Massachusetts, Floyd “Candy” Johnson left an indelible mark on the world of American jazz. Renowned for his saxophone mastery, Johnson’s career exceptional talent, unique persona, and unforgettable musical contributions.

Floyd Johnson’s preference for candy over alcohol soon earned him a moniker that would resonate throughout his career. Fond of sweets, Johnson’s bandmates affectionately bestowed upon him the nickname “Candy.” This name reflected his personal tastes and became emblematic of his vibrant and joyous approach to music and life. In Detroit, he formed the Peppermint Sticks band, characterized by its candy-striped attire and the occasional peppermint stick toss to enthusiastic crowds.

Collaborations with esteemed artists and ensembles marked Johnson’s musical journey. In 1951, he was a part of the Count Basie Orchestra, contributing to recordings for Clef Records. Subsequently, he veered into rhythm and blues, collaborating with Bill Doggett. The band achieved notable success with hits like “Blip Blop,” “Honky Tonk,” and “Night Train.” Candy worked with Lovelane on a number of songs, including:

  • Southside Saturday Night: Featured in American Horror Story Freak Show
  • Take Me Back Daddy: Features Candy Johnson on tenor baritone saxophone
  • Sunset Jump: From the album Sweet As Candy released in 1948
  • Ebony Jump: Remixed by Sammy Kaplan
  • Stampin’: Featured in Shirley on Hulu
  • Ebony Jump Loops: Available on Amazon Music

The 1970s saw a resurgence of Johnson’s musical presence. He shared his talents with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and his friend Clark Terry. He recorded sessions with illustrious names like Helen Humes and Roy Eldridge. A pivotal moment he occurred when he participated in the Bix Beiderbecke Festival in Iowa, accompanying the New McKinney’s Cotton Pickers.

Author: lovelane