The Cars “Candy-O” Released 40 Years Ago Today

July 8, 2019

On Wednesday, June 13, 1979, the Cars’ second album was released. “Candy-O” was my most eagerly awaited album of that summer. When “Just What I Needed” became popular a year earlier, I bought their first album. Actually, I bought the 8-track tape so that I could play it in Mom’s car as well as at home. Played it so much that I wore all the high end off of the tape!

Candy-O was even better. It was more of that New Wave/Top 40 crossover sound that everyone seemed to love at the time. As a bonus, the album cover was absolutely PERFECT for a 15-year-old boy. Within days of its release, I pestered Mom to drive me to the local Musicland so that I could buy a copy. Also on 8-track and also worn out within a few months. Mom was happy when I turned 16 the following year and got my driver’s license. One big reason was that she didn’t have to listen to the Cars anymore!

Radio loved this album. Immediately, Top 40 stations began playing “Let’s Go.” Album Rock radio concentrated on “Dangerous Type” and the 3 song medley of “Double Life”, “Shoo Bee Doo”, and “Candy-O.” Whereas the first Cars album only made it to #18 on the charts, Candy-O reached #3. This ties 1984’s “Heartbeat City” as their most successful release. The chart performance of Candy-O’s 3 singles was somewhat disappointing, however. “Let’s Go” only made it to #14. The followup “It’s All I Can Do” failed to even crack the Top 40, peaking at #41. “Double Life” (the final single release) didn’t even make Billboard’s Hot 100.

Speaking of the Candy-O 8-track, that format contains an extended version of “Dangerous Type.” I’m guessing Elektra Records did this so that Program 4 would time out correctly without blank tape at the end. This version is not included on the record, cassette, or CD.