THE CARS - Candy-O 12" Vinyl LP Album

The album cover of "Candy-O" was painted by artist Alberto Vargas, known for his paintings of pin-up girls that appeared in Esquire and Playboy magazines in the 1940s and 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 girl sprawled across the hood of a car, was based on a photo shoot directed by Robinson at a Ferrari dealership. The model, coincidentally named Candy, briefly dated Robinson afterward.

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"Candy-O" Album Description:

In the musical landscape of 1979, The Cars, an American rock band, released their second studio album, "Candy-O," leaving an indelible mark on the music scene. Beyond its groundbreaking sound, the album is also notable for its iconic cover art, painted by the renowned artist Alberto Vargas. This article explores the cultural and artistic context of the time, delving into the production of "Candy-O" and the collaboration with Vargas.

The Music Scene of 1979:

The late 1970s witnessed a diverse array of musical genres, from the rise of punk and new wave to the continued dominance of classic rock. Against this backdrop, The Cars emerged as a distinctive force, blending catchy melodies with innovative synth-driven arrangements. "Candy-O" showcased the band's evolution, solidifying their position as pioneers in the new wave movement.

Production and Artistic Direction:

Drummer David Robinson, not only a rhythmic powerhouse but also the band's artistic director, played a pivotal role in shaping the visual identity of "Candy-O." Robinson's passion for pin-up art led to a unique collaboration with Alberto Vargas, an artist celebrated for his pin-up girls that graced the pages of Esquire and Playboy magazines in past decades.

The Vision of Alberto Vargas:

At 83 years old, Vargas brought a timeless touch to the album cover, creating a piece that seamlessly blended the aesthetics of the 1940s and 1960s with the contemporary spirit of The Cars. The decision to hire Vargas, who had retired years earlier, added a layer of nostalgia and sophistication to the album's visual narrative.

The Artistic Process:

The cover art for "Candy-O" depicts a striking image of a girl sprawled across the hood of a car. This provocative yet tasteful scene was based on a photo shoot directed by Robinson at a Ferrari dealership. The model, coincidentally named Candy, became an integral part of the visual storytelling and even briefly dated Robinson, adding a personal touch to the album's creation.

Cultural Reception and Legacy:

Upon its release, "Candy-O" received critical acclaim for both its musical innovation and artistic presentation. The combination of The Cars' sonic experimentation and Vargas' timeless artistry resonated with audiences, contributing to the album's enduring legacy. The cover itself became an iconic representation of the synthesis between music and visual art during the late 1970s.

Music Genre:

 New Wave, 80s Pop-Rock 
Production information:

The album: "THE CARS - Candy-O" was produced by: Roy Thomas Baker

Sound/Recording Engineer(s): Geoff Workman R.T.B. Productions, George Marino

George Marino: legendary mastering engineer behind iconic albums by Metallica, AC/DC, and more. Explore his life and groundbreaking career in music.

This album was recorded at: Cherokee Studios, Sterling Sound, New York City

Album front cover design: Alberto Vargas

Alberto Vargas was a Peruvian painter and illustrator best known for his pin-up art, which featured glamorous and alluring images of women. He worked for Esquire and Playboy magazines, and his work became iconic during the 1940s and 1950s.

Album cover design: Ron Coro, Jerry Lee, David Robinson

Album cover photography: Jeff Albertson

Record Label Information:

 Elektra ELK 52 148

Media Format:

 12" LP Vinyl Stereo Gramophone Record
Total Album (Cover+Record) weight: 230 gram  

Year & Country:

 1979 Made in France
Personnel/Band Members and Musicians on: THE CARS - Candy-O
    Band-members, Musicians and Performers
  • Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, lead vocals on side one, tracks 2, 4 and 5; side two, tracks 1, 3, 4 and 5
  • Elliot Easton – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Greg Hawkes – percussion, keyboards, tenor saxophone, backing vocals
  • Benjamin Orr – bass guitar, lead vocals on side one, tracks 1, 3, and 6; side two, track 2
  • David Robinson – drums, percussion
Complete Track-listing of the album "THE CARS - Candy-O"

The detailed tracklist of this record "THE CARS - Candy-O" is:

    Side One:
  1. "Let's Go" – 3:33
  2. "Since I Held You" – 3:16
  3. "It's All I Can Do" – 3:44
  4. "Double Life" – 4:14
  5. "Shoo Be Doo" – 1:36
  6. "Candy-O" – 2:36
    Side Two:
  1. "Nightspots" – 3:15
  2. "You Can't Hold on Too Long" – 2:46
  3. "Lust for Kicks" – 3:52
  4. "Got a Lot on My Head" – 2:59
  5. "Dangerous Type" – 4:28
High Quality Photo of Album Front Cover  "THE CARS - Candy-O"
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The painting, depicting a girl sprawled across the hood of a car, was based on a photo shoot directed by Robinson at a Ferrari dealership. The model, coincidentally named Candy, briefly dated Robinson afterward.
Album Back Cover  Photo of "THE CARS - Candy-O"
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Inner Sleeve   of "THE CARS - Candy-O" Album
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Photo of "THE CARS - Candy-O" 12" LP Record
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Close-up Photo of "THE CARS - Candy-O" Record Label 
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 Note: The images on this page are photos of the actual album. Slight differences in color may exist due to the use of the camera's flash. Images can be zoomed in/out ( eg pinch with your fingers on a tablet or smartphone ).

Index of THE CARS Feature Album Cover Gallery & 12" Vinyl LP Discography Information

THE CARS - Candy-O

Thumbnail Of  THE CARS - Candy-O album front cover

Elektra ELK 52 148 , 1979 , France

In 1979, The Cars released "Candy-O," a groundbreaking second studio album. Drummer and artistic director David Robinson collaborated with pin-up artist Alberto Vargas for the iconic cover. The synthesis of Vargas' timeless pin-up aesthetics and The Cars' new wave sound created a cultural milestone. "Candy-O" remains a testament to the fusion of music and visual art, leaving an enduring legacy in the annals of rock history.

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THE CARS - S/T Self-Titled

Thumbnail Of  THE CARS - S/T Self-Titled album front cover

Elektra ELK 52088 , 1978 , Germany

"The Cars," the self-titled debut album by the American rock band, is a timeless 12" Vinyl LP capturing the essence of late 1970s music. Released in 1978, amidst the era's diverse musical landscape, the album's cover features Russian ballerina Natalya Medvedeva, adding a touch of artistic allure. With hits like "Just What I Needed," the album marked The Cars' arrival and set the stage for their influential career.

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THE CARS Drive 12" EP Vinyl

Thumbnail Of  THE CARS Drive 12 EP Vinyl  album front cover

Elektra 966 934 (966934) , 1984 , Germany

"Drive" by The Cars, a 1984 12" Maxi-Single, embodies the musical essence of the 1980s. Amidst a dynamic era of rock and new wave, the song's synthesis of electronic and rock elements defines its time. Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, The Cars, and Roy Thomas Baker, it contributed to the success of the LP "Heartbeat City," solidifying its place as a timeless classic with emotional depth.

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THE CARS - Heartbeat City

Thumbnail Of THE CARS - Heartbeat City with Ric Osasek4 album front cover

Elektra Asylum 960 296 , 1984 , Germany

"Heartbeat City" by The Cars, released in 1984, epitomizes the 1980s musical landscape. Produced by The Cars and Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the album blends rock and synth-pop with precision. Recorded in London and remixed in New York City, it showcases the transatlantic influence. The visually dynamic album cover, painted by Peter Philips, complements hits like "Drive" and "Magic." A quintessential 1980s masterpiece, leaving an indelible mark on musical history.

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