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My Mother Was Embarrassed By The Album Cover! (PHOTOS, AUDIO)

Cars Candy-O
What a cover! In original shrink-wrap. The album name is a clear sticker placed ON the throwaway shrink-wrap! (Craig Allen photo)

What a great album cover! Its a classic! By the way, I love the music too!

Without a doubt, an eye-catching “album cover” helps to sell music.  The rock group “The Cars” hit a homerun (got the checkered flag) with high school guys (like me)  in 1979, when they tapped Playboy artist Antonio Vargas to draw the cover of their new “Candy-O” album.

Which brings us to mom.  That morning as I was wolfing down breakfast, mom mentioned in passing  that she was heading to the “Two Guys” department store in Harrison.  I had heard that the Cars album was on sale there, and I quickly counted out the pennies (and a few grubby dollars) from my “piggy bank” before rushing off to meet the school bus.

All day, all I could think about was getting home, and playing my new album.  I had been wanting it since “Candy-O” had hit the radio airwaves, and record department shelves, over the past summer!

As I rushed in the door, mom handed me my new, most-prized, posession…and then went on to tell me how I had embarrassed her! Huh? Seriously?! With a serious look on her face, mom told me that she was scandalized by the girl on the album cover, and further, felt compelled to tell the lady at the cash register that she was buying the album for her son…and most certainly not for herself!

Being the good son I was (and am), I apologized.  Profusely!  Truthfully, I had never thought to warn her about the cover art!  It had never even crossed my mind. I super-politely thanked her for her troubles, all the while, visions of virgin vinyl spinning on my turntable filled my head!  As soon as I could, I  politely excused myself, and rushed down the hall to my room to slash the shrink-wrap and crank up “Its All I Can Do.”  Seriously, I wore through the grooves of this record! And, that was just in the first week!

1979 vinyl
Worn out 1979 vinyl, on my 1982 turntable. (Craig Allen photo)

“Candy-O” was the second album for the Cars, a group formed in Boston in 1976, and fronted by Ric Ocasek.  The album was released in July 1979, and “Let’s Go” (#14) and “It’s All I Can Do” (#41) got top-40 radio airplay that summer and fall. For a brief look at the band’s history, click here. Check out the Cars Discography. The 4 surviving members reunited in 2010, and you can see what they’re doing now, and what they sound like, by clicking here for their facebook page.

lp vs cd
Note the "Two Guys" price sticker...and relative album art size. (Craig Allen photo)

“Two Guys” was a department store chain founded in New Jersey. You may not have known that. Further, the Harrison store I frequented as a kid, and where my mom bought the “Candy-O” album (seen above), was the founding store.  At its peak, “Two Guys” was a 100-store, nationwide chain…I didn’t know that!   Sadly, “Two Guys” was already on a downward spiral when I gave them $6.97, and the company was liquidated in 1982.  The Harrison store location, on Route 22 eastbound, is now the site of one of those large national hardware and home centers.

By the way, I hope I haven’t embarrassed YOU too much, mom!  And, Happy Birthday on Monday! Love you!

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