June 1979: The Cars Release "Candy-O"

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The Cars were back. Just one year after rewriting the rock and roll songbook with the band's debut album, the Cars returned with sophomore effort, Candy-O, on June 13, 1979. The Cars preceded the album with lead single, "Let's Go," a sparkling and upbeat Ric Ocasek composition featuring the band's resident heartthrob, bassist Benjamin Orr, on vocals.

The song was an simmering hit, chugging up the charts to peak at #14 for the week of September 8, 1979. The #1 song in America that week: The Knack's "My Sharona."

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The band's breakout success put all kinds of pressure on the Cars and Candy-O to be another blockbuster. Hitting the road in support of the album, even local news stations put the band's feet to the fire regarding their second run at the music charts. See the interview with Ric Ocasek below.

The second single from Candy-O was an unexpected left turn with "It's All I Can Do." The melodic med-tempo tune was another Ocasek composition with Ben Orr on lead vocals. The song almost cracked the top 40, peaking at #41 for the week of November 29, 1979.

By third single, "Double Life," it was clear the Cars were headed in a new direction. The moody tune, which on the album crashes right into the frantic "Shoo Be Doo," didn't chart. The video for the song was the 21st clip ever played on MTV.

While hardly a singles juggernaut, Candy-O was a huge hit, climbing all the way to #3 on the Billboard 200 for the week of August 26, 1979, The #1 album in America that week: the Cars' chart nemesis, the Knack, with Get the Knack.

Still darlings of the FM rock radio scene for their inventive new sound, repeated spins made hits out of songs like the Candy-O title track, despite it never being released as a single.

Candy-O also made a big splash for how it looked. The band had been able to convinced legendary pin-up artist Alberto Vargas to create the album's legendary cover. Here's the band's drummer, David Robinson, on how the cover came to be.


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