Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vintage 1979 The Cars "Candy-O" Drive America Tour T-Shirt

file under: holy grail of vintage rock tees

beyond rare original The Cars tour t-shirt
year: 1979
tag: Hanes
material: 100% cotton
condition: perfect natural distress from 34 years of wear
value: $750

Notes: This is another from my private collection that is so incredibly rare I've yet to see another for sale. The Cars were truly one of my favorite bands back in the day. I'll never forget that day in the summer of '79 when I walked into my local record store, Sound Spectrum in Laguna Beach and saw the now famous cover for Candy-O album cover painted by Alberto Vargas. As a young teenager in Southern California just getting turned onto "punk" and "new wave" in 1979 The Cars were "It"! The Candy-O album from start to finish was and is to this day a masterpiece of recorded vinyl. They were the whole package much like The Ramones. The look, the songs, the riffs and the hooks. 

This t-shirt design is the very first version used for the "Drive America" tour in support of the Candy-O album release. This version was also printed just prior to the band becoming a multi-platinum selling group. So in comparison to their 1982 tour shirt (which I also have in my collection) which was printed in the thousands, this earlier version was likely only printed in a run of 500 and after nearly 35 years, of those original 500 I'm sure more than 75% simply no longer exist (ripped to shreds, thrown out, used as rags, etc.) leaving only like maybe a little over 100 of these in existence, if even that. I feel very lucky to have this piece in my collection not only for it's rarity but even more so for the personal affinity I have for the band, that album and the summer of 1979. 

The Candy-O album cover with now iconic Vargas artwork

Great shot of the band in 1979 without Elektra's commercial polish

The 1979 Cars Publicity still from Elektra

The Cars taped live at Bremen Radio Studios in Germany 1979

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