Candy-O… Candy? No.

Exciting news! Well, at least for me. You know how I always have this nerdy little list of Ben mysteries that I am trying to solve, kind of like cold case files in the detective world? Well, thanks to the sleuthing skills of one of my good friends, “The Case of the Candy-O Lollipop” has been cracked!

candy oWe are all familiar with the now-iconic photo of Ben loving on a lollipop on the backside of the Candy-O album cover (if you’re not, just look to your right). Early in my obsession I had read lollipop pensomewhere that the lucky candy treat was actually not candy at all, but a type of writing pen that was popular in the sixties and seventies, with a little skinny handle and a large round lid over a ballpoint tip. As I recall, the story was that a secretary or an assistant on location at the photoshoot offered it to Ben as a prop. Of course, I haven’t been able to find that source since, and it has long been one of those things that I just wanted to be able to verify once and for all. Does it affect the government shutdown? Of course not. But there are those of us that just have to know every little thing…

So here you go: definitive proof! Zooming in on this outtake from the Candy-O photoshoot clearly shows that it IS a pen. Ah… another thing crossed off my list!

Candy-O photos by Jeff Albertson.

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Cars + Books = My Happy Place

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I am a book freak (along with my other little obsessions) and of course I love The Cars, so imagine my giddiness when those two worlds collided and I found myself with a (near) complete collection of written-and-bound material on my boys!

I do qualify my statement by saying ‘near’ complete, because I know that Ric has some other printed material out there; poetry and what not. I confess I’m not really looking for those so much — unless, of course, I happen to come across the little pamphlet that Ric hand-made and would leave lying around in bookstores back in the 1970s… Now THAT would be a treasure, indeed.

In the meantime, I’ve very happy with my little stash. They’ve been great sources of photos, quotes and information about this wonderful band. Here’s a short description of each (hoping to eventually write reviews of all of them). Clockwise from the top left:

Robus Books: The Carswritten by Stacy Leigh, photography by Mike O’Brien and Kelly Thompson; published by Robus Books, 1985. (ISBN: 0-88188-364-6) First one pictured, but last one I bought. I wasn’t aware of this book until my Cars buddy, Timothy, pointed it out to me and then (of course) I went on a relentless search to find it. It’s an elusive one, but I was able to pick up my not-entirely-pristine-but-pretty-close copy off of Amazon for about $15. A steal!

The Cars, written by Peter Goddard, photography by Philip Kamin; published by McGraw-Hill, 1986. (ISBN: 0-07-033498-6) Another hard-to-afford book, but I managed to win it on ebay for just under $50. SO worth it! Nice large format and beautiful photographs.

Super Groups, written by Cynthia Dagnal; published by Tempo Books, 1981. (ISBN: 0-448-17228-3) This book covers several bands and contains a significant chapter on The Cars. You can generally find it on Amazon on the cheap. Lots of great coverage considering the band was only 3 years old at the time.

Lyrics and Prose, written by Ric Ocasek; published by Blue Rider Press, 2012. (ISBN: 978-0-399-16370-8) Huge collection of… well… lyrics and prose. LOL Great reference book and fun to see some of Ric’s handwritten pages. Picked this up on Amazon, too.

Frozen Fire: The Story of The Cars, written by Toby Goldstein, photography by Ebet Roberts; published by Contemporary Books, Inc., 1985. (ISBN: 0-8092-5257-0) I wrote an in-depth review of this book already, not knowing it would inspire one of the biggest sweetie pies in the world to send me a copy! My dear sister-in-the-Cars, Leigh, ‘shocked me into sense’ by giving me this book as a gift, and I am forever grateful. Not only do I enjoy the book, but her generosity at a time when we hardly knew each other just floored me. The Fanorama never ceases to amaze me.

As difficult as it can be to purchase some of these, there is hope of getting your hands on them… I was able to check several of them out through the inter-library loan system (I LOVE my local library!) before I bought them. Although I guess that’s no guarantee you’ll get to read them: one friend of mine checked out Frozen Fire only to find that all of the pages about Benjamin were torn out. Go figure!

Thanks again, Leigh, for providing that final piece, and to Timothy for alerting me to the existence of the white Robus book!

For the nerds.

I love numbers and statistics and facts. I *need* things to line up and balance… I have to cross-check and verify and substantiate. That’s just how I’m wired. And when it comes to writing about my favorite subject (darling Benjamin, of course!) I am compelled to make sure I know what the heck I’m talking about and that I have the documentation to back it up.

Fact-checking, unfortunately, takes a bit of time and so that is one of the reasons why I don’t post more often. I have a long list of ideas of what I want to write about but I’m always thinking, “Shoot, I have to find that one article…!” I really need to get a better system of organizing my materials. What I really wish I had was a database where I could scan in everything and tag every piece of info so that I could do searches based on whatever topic I’m chewing on at the moment…

nerd
So crazy about this nerd!

But I digress. The whole point of this little post is to share with you two of my favorite online sources of information, which I have ended up going back to more than I thought I would when I initially found them.

The first is setlist.fm’s statistics listings for The Cars’ tours. This little goldmine displays all of the performances by the band, what locations they played in (including television performances), and the set lists for each show. It also compiles numbers on the frequency and rotation of all of The Cars’ songs. On top of that, you can look at each song, see when it was first performed in concert, who has covered it, and a plethora of other information. It’s awesome!  I’ve used it over and over to help me pinpoint timeline info. The drawback is that it is a wiki, so it allows collaborative editing of its content by its users and there is a chance it is not entirely accurate. So far the one discrepancy I’ve heard of is that a show was missing from the list. I can handle that.

The second website is the United States Copyright Office public catalog. This garners a little less variety of information, but it has been very helpful in sorting out who wrote what, the approximate dates that songs were written, and who was working with whom. Unfortunately this has created more material for my “Benjamin, I wanted to ask you about…” file, as he is listed as co-writer on many songs I haven’t heard. The never-ending mysteries of Ben’s world!

So… if you’re a nerdy statistics junkie like me you’ll love these two resources — check them out!  And I hope that if/when I ever post anything that is not accurate someone will call me on it, please and thank you. We’ve got to band together to make sure Benjamin’s legacy is passed on with integrity and truth.