The Cars

  • Boston-based band formed in 1976 by Ric Ocasek (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Orr (bass/vocals), Elliot Easton (guitar), Greg Hawkes (keyboards) and David Robinson (drums).
  • They were at the forefront of New Wave sound, incorporating synthesizers with the rock guitar sound prevalent in the 70’s. Their songs generally are snappy and upbeat. Ocasek’s unique vocalizations also defined the sound of The Cars – sort of a unpolished, painful-but-melodic sound that is essential to the band.
  • The group released 6 studio albums between 1978 and 1987. Then 24 years later, they released a 7th album. Orr died in 2000 of pancreatic cancer, at the age of 53. They have not performed a concert since 2011.
  • All of The Cars songs were written by Ocasek, with an occasional co-writing credit given to Hawkes. Ocasek clearly is the driving force of the band. Ocasek was married to supermodel Paulina Porizkova, whom he met while shooting the video for their song Drive – a classic case of the ugly guy getting the gorgeous gal!
  • My fave is My Best Friend’s Girl. If you buy me a beer sometime, I’ll explain why!
  • The Cars just missed being elected to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 2016 and 2017. Finally, they were inducted in 2018. Ocasek died in 2019 of natural causes.
  • In the mid 2000’s, Easton and Hawkes collaborated with Todd Rundgren (replacing Ocasek) and 2 other rock veterans to tour as “The New Cars,” playing old Cars hits as well as material from Rundgren’s career. I watched one of the performances of this group – it was easily the worst concert I have ever seen, and I left after 4 songs were performed!
  • The popularity of the Cars was enhanced by their music videos, which received significant play time on MTV. Their video for You Might Think was the first ever winner of the MTV Video of the Year Award, in 1984. Take a look.

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