Candy-O (song)

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Song by The Cars
from the album Candy-O
Released June 13, 1979
Recorded 1979 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles
Genre New wave, hard rock
Length 2:36
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s) Ric Ocasek
Producer(s) Roy Thomas Baker
Candy-O track listing

"Candy-O" is a song by the American rock band The Cars, the title track of their 1979 album Candy-O. It was written by the band's songwriter Ric Ocasek, was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, and features Cars bassist Benjamin Orr on lead vocals.[1]


The style of the song is perhaps more guitar-heavy and less new wave-sounding than many Cars songs. The chorus is minimal, with only one line ("Candy-O / I need you so"), leading to loud guitar and drum fills dividing the rhythm less evenly.[1] Originally, the chorus lyric was followed by the musical term "fortissimo" (an appropriate description of the music), sung over these loud drum and guitar breaks; this can be heard on the performance of the song on The Cars Live: Musikladen 1979 DVD. AllMusic reviewer Tom Maginnis has described the song as "slightly sinister", and one of the darkest and best songs from Candy-O, The Cars' second album. He also refers to Elliot Easton's "finest solo on the album, starting with a burst of speeding liftoff effects and then moving into Eddie Van Halen territory, ripping off a series of tight scorching trills that are quickly tucked into the next verse before wandering too close to '70s guitar virtuosity..."[1]


According to Ric Ocasek, "Candy-O" was not based on a specific person.[2] When asked by Bill Flanagan of Trouser Press magazine if the Candy-O title was a reference to "Ocasek", or "Orr", Ric Ocasek dryly replied, "The O stands for 'obnoxious'."[3][4]


"Candy-O" has been covered by such bands as the Melvins, whose 1989 album Ozma included a version of the song, described as a "random what-the-hell moment" that "shouldn't work, but actually does" by AllMusic reviewer Ned Raggett.[5] The song has also been performed by the Todd Rundgren-led New Cars, who included a live version of it on their 2006 album It's Alive.[6]



  1. ^ a b c Maginnis, Tom. "The Cars: Candy-O song review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Cars interview". 
  3. ^ Frozen Fire: The Story of The Cars, by Toby Goldstein and Ebet Roberts, Contemporary Books, Inc. Chicago. ISBN 0-8092-5257-0
  4. ^ "Candy-O The Cars 1979". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Melvins: Ozma review". allmusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The New Cars: It's Alive!". allmusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010. 

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