The toughest girl alive

Candace Hogan died from cancer in 2016, at the age of 54.

Known professionally as Candye Kane and she lived up to the title of her 2000 album, The Toughest Girl Alive.

I found that disc seven years later at a shop that no longer exists, though I’m pretty sure the awning that reads CD Shuffle still hangs above whatever took its place in Wasaga Beach.

When I took the CD to the counter the proprietor said, “She used to be in adult films, you know.”

I did not.

In the liner notes for The Toughest Girl Alive, James Kelly of Creative wrote, “How often does a woman overcome life’s obstacles and truly find her niche in a society that tends to reject minorities, the physically different, and the sexually ambiguous? Well, Candye has done it, time and time again. Not only has she beaten the odds cast on an unwed pregnant teenager, a welfare recipient, an abuse victim, and a girl struggling to survive in the carnivorous adult entertainment industry, but she has become a role model and an advocate for those still caught up in these situations.”

Toughest girl alive.

In those same liner notes, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller recalled booking Kane on the duo’s TV variety show, Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular.


Mostly because he heard Kane played the piano with her 44-H breasts.

In 1986, Kane married Thomas Yearsley, bass player for the San Diego rockabilly band, The Paladins. She started writing songs and it turned out Kane could sing. Really well. Several recordings were made prior to that appearance on Penn & Teller’s program and when Candye performed…

“She killed on our show,” Jillette said. “Killed. The crowd was jumping. Teller and I were dancing. This new album rocks while it swings…she’s the toughest girl alive.”

In 2009, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She lost over 100 pounds and that piano-pounding chest went from 44-H to 38-D but Candye maintained a hectic schedule of 250 shows a year, including appearances at many prestigious jazz and blues festivals.

“I’m the toughest girl alive,

I’ve walked through the fire and I’ve survived,

I’ve been beat up, burned up, pushed around,

But they just can’t keep me down.”

Candye Kane wrote and sang that but even toughest girl alive couldn’t beat cancer.

I’m playing another one of her songs on the next Rock and Roll Riot (on WRSG, see the link on the right side of my page). You gotta work what you got.

Candye Kane did that, and much more.

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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