On this day in music history: June 12, 1979 – “Candy-O”, the second album by The Cars is released. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker, it is recorded at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, CA in February 1979. Released six days shy of one year after their self-titled debut, The Cars’ sophomore album is recorded shortly after the band come off of the promotional tour for the first one. With their first album still sitting comfortably in the Top 30 on the Billboard Top 200, the bands’ label Elektra Records wants to hold back the release for several more months until the others momentum begins to wane. However, with Ric Ocasek already writing songs for the next album, they are insistent that Elektra not delay the release. Like their debut, “Candy-O” features all newly material written by Ocasek and bassist Benjamin Orr, with the leftover songs from the first being scrapped in favor of the new ones. Working once again with producer Roy Thomas Baker, The Cars take a slightly different approach, wanting to make their sophomore “less slick” sounding than the previous one, and also being more democratic in choosing the final group of songs the album. Initially, the track “Double Life” was going to be dropped, but when the other band members outvote Ocasek, it is reinstated. The albums striking cover artwork is illustrated by artist Alberto Vargas, famous for his paintings appearing in major publications including Playboy and Esquire magazines. Drummer David Robinson suggests to his band mates that they hire the then 83 year old artist, who agrees to come out of retirement to create the cover. The model featured in the painting is actress Candy Moore, best known for playing Lucille Ball’s daughter Chris on the 60’s sitcom “The Lucy Show”. Having previously been married to actor Paul Gleason (“The Breakfast Club”, “Die Hard”), Moore and Robinson date briefly not long after the release of “Candy-O”. The new album is well received by fans and critics alike, spinning off three singles, including “Let’s Go” (#14 Pop) and “It’s All I Can Do” (#41 Pop). First released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 24K gold CD and 180 gram LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2011. It is also issued on colored vinyl (red) as part of the box set “The Elektra Years – 1978 -1987 in 2016. In 2017, album is remastered again (supervised by Ric Ocasek), and reissued in expanded editions as a double CD or double vinyl LP set. The expanded editions contain alternate mixes and non album B-sides. The vinyl edition features laser etched artwork on the fourth side. "Candy-O” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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