From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Cars - Candy-O.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 13, 1979 (1979-06-13)
StudioCherokee Studios in Los Angeles
GenrePop,[1][2][3] new wave,[2][1] rock[1][3]
ProducerRoy Thomas Baker
The Cars chronology
The Cars
Singles from Candy-O
  1. "Let's Go"
    Released: June 12, 1979
  2. "It's All I Can Do"
    Released: September 25, 1979
  3. "Double Life"
    Released: December 11, 1979

Candy-O is the second studio album by the American rock band the Cars. It was released in 1979 on Elektra Records. Featuring the Top 20 hit "Let's Go" and the minor hit "It's All I Can Do", the album charted 15 places higher than its predecessor on the US Billboard 200 at number three as their debut peaked at number eighteen. The album features cover art by pin-up artist Alberto Vargas.


Unlike the first album, Candy-O was created under a more democratic approach. Ric Ocasek said of this, "When one of my songs goes to the band in barest cassette form, we sit around and talk about it. If I'm outvoted, we don't do it. We almost didn't include 'Double Life' on the new album, it had been dropped. I think everybody in the Cars is open-minded and creative enough that they would do anything – nobody's holding anything back. Everybody appreciates the more radical, experimental kinds of music and likes it. But sometimes, when you're put together with five pieces, things are not as minimal as they could or should be. Everybody's developed a unique personal style, and we rely on their input. If they did it, it's good enough."[4]

Most of the songs on Candy-O were written after the release of The Cars, meaning that most of the leftovers from the first album (including the popular encore "Take What You Want") were scrapped; "Night Spots", a reject from the first album, was still included.[5]

For the album, the band once again worked with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. Ocasek said of their relationship with the producer, "Well, some of the things on that first album that we thought were a little slick, we toned down on the second, like on the background vocals. But if we were going to rely on the producer we had hired, there was no reason to try and change him. On the second album, it was easier to say, 'Roy, let's not do the multi-tracked harmonies this time.'"[4]

The band's label, Elektra, initially wanted to hold back the release of the album, but the band stood their ground. Ocasek said of this, "At first Elektra wanted to hold it back some, but we told them there was no way, because if they were going to hold that back, they were going to hold us back, and we can't just sit around and be held back."[4] Released as the follow-up to their 1978 hit album The Cars, Candy-O peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The album re-entered the charts at No. 179 in 1984. The record was also ranked number 82 on Billboard's "Top Albums of the Year" chart for 1979.[6]

Three singles were lifted from Candy-O: "Let's Go" hit No. 14, making it the first Top 20 Cars single, "It's All I Can Do" peaked at No. 41, barely missing the Top 40,[7] and "Double Life" failed to chart.

Cover art[edit]

The album cover was painted by artist Alberto Vargas, who was known for his paintings of pin-up girls that appeared in Esquire and Playboy magazines in the 1940s through the 1960s. The idea to hire Vargas came from drummer David Robinson, the band's artistic director and a collector of pin-ups. The 83-year-old Vargas had retired several years earlier but was persuaded to take the assignment by his niece, who was a fan of the Cars. The painting, depicting a woman sprawled across the hood of a Ferrari 365 GTC/4,[8] was based on a photo shoot directed by Robinson at a Ferrari dealership. The model, coincidentally named Candy Moore (who played Lucille Ball's onscreen daughter on The Lucy Show), briefly dated Robinson afterward.[9][failed verification]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[11]
Smash Hits8/10[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[13]
The Village VoiceB+[3]
The Washington Post(favorable)[14]

Candy-O was positively received by critics. AllMusic critic Greg Prato said that "while the album was not as stellar as its predecessor [The Cars] was, it did contain several classics, resulting in another smash album that solidified the band's standing as one of the most promising new bands of the late '70s."[15] Music critic Robert Christgau said in his review that the album was "cold and thin, shiny and hypnotic, it's what they do best--rock and roll that is definitely pop without a hint of cuteness".[3]

Rolling Stone critic Tom Carson said, "It's almost inevitable that Candy-O, the Cars' second album, doesn't seem nearly as exciting as their first. The element of surprise is gone, and the band hasn't been able to come up with anything new to replace it. Candy-O is an elaborately constructed, lively, entertaining LP that's packed with good things. And it's got a wonderful title. But it's a little too disciplined, a shade too predictable."[16] Hamish Champ, writer of The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, said "With UK producer Roy Thomas Baker once again behind the decks, Ric Ocasek and his colleagues produced a follow-up to their hugely successful debut with more of the same quirky, offbeat songs that had caused such a stir the first time around."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Ric Ocasek.

Side one
1."Let's Go"Benjamin Orr3:33
2."Since I Held You"Ocasek/Orr3:16
3."It's All I Can Do"Orr3:44
4."Double Life"Ocasek4:14
5."Shoo Be Doo"Ocasek1:36
Side two
7."Night Spots"Ocasek3:15
8."You Can't Hold on Too Long"Orr2:46
9."Lust for Kicks"Ocasek3:52
10."Got a Lot on My Head"Ocasek2:59
11."Dangerous Type"Ocasek4:28
2017 reissue bonus tracks
12."Let's Go" (monitor mix)Orr3:33
13."Candy-O" (Northern Studios version)Orr2:35
14."Night Spots" (Northern Studios version)Ocasek3:43
15."Lust for Kicks" (monitor mix)Ocasek4:25
16."Dangerous Type" (Northern Studios version)Ocasek3:26
17."They Won't See You" (Northern Studios version)Ocasek3:49
18."That's It" (B-side of "Let's Go")Orr3:23




  • Jeff Albertson – photography
  • Ron Coro, Johnny Lee – art direction and design
  • David Robinson – cover concept
  • Alberto Vargas – cover painting



Chart (1979) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[17] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 6
UK Albums (OCC)[19] 30
US Billboard 200[20] 3


Year Title Chart Peak
1979 "Let's Go" Billboard Hot 100[21] 14
1979 "It's All I Can Do" Billboard Hot 100[21] 41


Organization Level Date
United States (RIAA)[22] 4× Platinum December 15, 2001

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (August 17, 2017). "The Cars: Candy-O / Panorama". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Sendra, Tim. "Candy-O – The Cars". AllMusic. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Christgau, Robert (September 3, 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Giles, Jeff. "36 Years Ago: The Cars Release 'Candy-O'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  5. ^ Milano, Brett. Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology. Rhino.
  6. ^ "Top Albums of the Year". Billboard: TIA-12. December 22, 1979. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "The Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Home Page". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  9. ^ Miles, Barry. Scott, Grant. Morgan, Johnny. The Greatest Album Covers of All Time (2005): 96
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Cars". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 140. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Starr, Red (July 12–25, 1979). "Albums". Smash Hits: 25.
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ Sumrall, Harry (August 12, 1979). "Racy Cars and A Dutch Treat". Washington Post.
  15. ^ Prato, Greg. "Candy-O – The Cars". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 6, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Candy-O album reviews".
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ " – The Cars – Candy-O". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  19. ^ "Cars | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "The Cars Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  22. ^ "American certifications – Cars – Candy-O". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 19, 2019.