Cars-Candy O-35th Anniversary-Ric Ocasek, Greg Hawkes

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By the July 4th 1979 holiday, a scant fourteen months after The Cars‘ debut album had surprised all but a handful of early adopters around their Boston assembly line, all eyes and ears were trained upon the quintet’s next model, Candy O. The consensus that The Cars’ debut was one of the strongest first efforts in rock history was by then only beginning, a notion that has grown to this day. In a pre-You Tube world, the act of staying home on a Saturday night just to catch The Cars perform on Saturday Night Live was a testament to their unfolding appeal, and by filling the very same stage that had seen the Rolling Stones on the 1978 Fall season opener, it elevated The Cars to the winners circle by the time the Sunday paper was on your doorstep.

On Candy O, Cars chief design engineer Ric Ocasek delivered a power plant firing on more than eight cylinders with the songs “Let’s Go”, the tasty mid-tempo melodies “Since I Held You” and “It’s All I Can Do”, the Marc Bolan/T.Rex infected “Dangerous Type”,“Got a Lot on My Head“, and the insistent mechanical darkness in the sophomore album’s title song. Ocasek and Cars keyboard retro-innovator Greg Hawkes are my guests In the Studio for Candy O‘s 35th anniversary, but neither they nor drummer David Robinson, under-rated lead guitarist Elliot Easton, or the late singer/ bass player Benjamin Orr have been granted a reserved parking spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. -Redbeard

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