Candy-O (song)

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Song by The Cars
from the album Candy-O
ReleasedJune 13, 1979
Recorded1979 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles
GenreNew wave, hard rock
Songwriter(s)Ric Ocasek
Producer(s)Roy Thomas Baker
Candy-O track listing
11 tracks
Side one
  1. "Let's Go"
  2. "Since I Held You"
  3. "It's All I Can Do"
  4. "Double Life"
  5. "Shoo Be Doo"
  6. "Candy-O"
Side two
  1. "Night Spots"
  2. "You Can't Hold on Too Long"
  3. "Lust for Kicks"
  4. "Got a Lot on My Head"
  5. "Dangerous Type"

"Candy-O" is a song by the American rock band the Cars, the title track of their 1979 album Candy-O. It was written by Ric Ocasek, the song was not based on a real person.[1] The song features a prominent guitar solo by Elliot Easton and lead vocals by bassist Benjamin Orr.

Though not released as a single, "Candy-O" has since become a fan favorite, being included on multiple compilation albums. The song has also been praised by critics for its songwriting and tight performance.


"Candy-O" was written by Ric Ocasek and sung by bassist Benjamin Orr. According to Ric Ocasek, "Candy-O" was not based on a specific person. In a band interview, Ocasek said, "I never knew any one Candy-O," to which Benjamin Orr joked, "[You] never told me about it."[2] When asked by Bill Flanagan of Trouser Press magazine if the Candy-O title was a reference to "Ocasek", or "Orr", Ric Ocasek dryly replied, "The O stands for 'obnoxious'."[3][4]


The style of the song is perhaps more guitar-heavy and less new wave-sounding than many Cars songs. The chorus is minimal, with only one line ("Candy-O / I need you so"), leading to loud guitar and drum fills dividing the rhythm less evenly.[1] AllMusic reviewer Tom Maginnis has described the song as "slightly sinister", and one of the darkest and best songs from Candy-O, The Cars' second album. He also refers to Elliot Easton's "finest solo on the album, starting with a burst of speeding liftoff effects and then moving into Eddie Van Halen territory, ripping off a series of tight scorching trills that are quickly tucked into the next verse before wandering too close to '70s guitar virtuosity..."[1]

Release and reception[edit]

"Candy-O" was first released on the album of the same name in 1979, segued into by the preceding song on the album, "Shoo Be Doo."[5] Though not released as a single, the song was the B-side to "Double Life," as well as "Let's Go" in France and Brazil. It has also been included on compilation albums such as Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology and The Essentials.

"Candy-O" has seen positive critical reception from critics. Maginnis called the track "infectious" and called it "a prime example of a group of studio-savvy musicians making the most of the fresh sounds of the day without stifling their formidable songwriting and playing skills."[1] Ultimate Classic Rock ranked the song as the third best Benjamin Orr Cars song, calling it a "a short, but oh-so-sweet little rocker" and praising Easton's guitar solo as "superb."[5]


"Candy-O" has been covered by such bands as the Melvins, whose 1989 album Ozma included a version of the song, described as a "random what-the-hell moment" that "shouldn't work, but actually does" by AllMusic reviewer Ned Raggett.[6] The song has also been performed by the Todd Rundgren-led New Cars, who included a live version of it on their 2006 album It's Alive.[7]



  1. ^ a b c d Maginnis, Tom. "The Cars: Candy-O song review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  2. ^ "The Cars interview".
  3. ^ Frozen Fire: The Story of The Cars, by Toby Goldstein and Ebet Roberts, Contemporary Books, Inc. Chicago. ISBN 0-8092-5257-0
  4. ^ "Candy-O The Cars 1979". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Swanson, Dave. "Top 10 Benjamin Orr Cars Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  6. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Melvins: Ozma review". allmusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The New Cars: It's Alive!". allmusic. Retrieved October 26, 2010.