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Classic guitar albums of 1979: The Cars' Candy-O

(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)


This sophomore release by the Cars is probably best known for its hit single - “Let’s Go” - and its retro pin-up-girl cover art by a true master of the genre, Alberto Vargas. The band had employed Roy Thomas Baker on production duties again, not wanting to mess with a winning formula. Apparently starting from scratch with a blank canvas, rather than using songs already stockpiled, the runaway success of the band’s debut album actually slowed down the release of this follow-up, as it was still sitting on the album charts. Much like the Heartbreakers, the Cars were able to straddle the new wave and classic rock genres without alienating fans of either. They sported the proto-new-wave skinny-tie look and enjoyed the chops of guitarist Elliot Easton, an axeman of formidable prowess who was always able to bring memorability and melodic invention to his solos and riffs.

Easton discussed his approach to his electric guitar parts in GW in 2016: “A lot of guitar players and guys from that period, when they soloed they generally just played some blues rock licks in the key of the song. That’s not what I was about. I was also listening to unusual players like Amos Garrett, Clarence White, Roy Buchanan, Jesse Ed Davis and Robbie Robertson. I was coming from a different place, I guess.”