RIP, Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek died yesterday at the age of 75, and it made me very sad. The Cars are a quintessential American rock band from an era that is long gone- with short singable songs and good guitar with a nice mix of synth, and when I listen to them it always brings me back to a good place when I was a kid and listening to them on the jukebox at the college inn or listening to their albums while lying on the floor of the college radio station. They are probably best known for their 1984 album Heartbeat City which featured the song Drive, among others, but for me The Cars, Candy-O, Panorama, and Shake it Up are a pretty amazing four album stretch, and there is literally not a bad song on their debut self-titled album The Cars.

I’ve always considered myself a closet Cars fan, as I have all their albums and frequently have them on my iphone rotation. When I say “secret,” I don’t mean out of embarrassment, but because no one ever comes out and says “OH MAN I LOVE THE FUCKING CARS THEY ARE THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD” because everyone, including me, will look at you and say “No, they’re not.” But what they were was a GREAT band that really fit the time and the zeitgeist, and after listening to five albums from The Cars (1978) to 1984’s Heartbeat City, it is a timeless sound that will still be worth a listen in another 30-40 years. That’s something pretty impressive, and there is something to be said for music like the Cars, which is very accessible to the masses (Marshall Crenshaw comes to mind). You don’t have to be a pretentious music snob to like the Cars- you just have to have ears.

RIP, Ric. Thanks.






175 replies
  1. 1
    Kristine says:

    Love The Cars. Undergrad memories.

    My favorite song is “Dangerous Type.” I have the Candy-O LP and really need to get the old turntable going one of these days.

  2. 2
    MJS says:

    RIP, indeed. He was very talented. And I generally agree with your take, except I like the earlier albums much better than “Heartbeat City”, which in my opinion was typical of the time – come up with the video premise, then slap a song together to get it on MTV. Every single song on “The Cars” was outstanding.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Agree. Good music.

  4. 4
    Nicole says:

    My husband, back when he was in college in Oklahoma and writing for the college paper, got to interview him after a concert (late ‘80s). Said he was incredibly nice and Paulina was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

    A friend here in NYC said he was in Tower Records (back when there was still a Tower Records) and recognized Ocasek. He promptly grabbed a Cars album, asked him to sign it. Ocasek did and then chatted a good 15 minutes with him.

    I’ll be putting a lot of The Cars on my running mix this week, I think.

  5. 5

    Good writeup, and I pretty much agree. No one’s going to call them the best band in history, because they weren’t. But they were a workmanlike group with solid songwriting and pleasant melodies that get stuck in your head for days. Pretty much everyone knows some of the Cars’ songs, and pretty much everyone likes some of them. That can’t actually be said for too many groups these days! My favourites are probably “Just What I Needed” and “Drive”. Pretty conventional choices, and Ocasek doesn’t even sing on the latter, but they’re classics.

    I had no idea Ric Ocasek was as old as he was until his death was announced. He was 40 years old when they put out their debut album! That’s nuts. And actually kind of inspiring in a way, given I’m not too many years from that age myself.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

  6. 6

    As a Gen Xer I hail from that era, and indeed the Cars played often on the soundtrack of my teen years. The early stuff was the best – Heartbeat City to my young ears was mostly pop nonsense (save for Drive a moody bittersweet song that probably sounds better A Capella) – but I was never into the band the way my twin brother was. He thrilled at seeing them perform at the RnR Hall of Fame last year.

  7. 7
    Mikeindublin says:

    Still got the cars cassette which I just posted a pic of on my fb.

  8. 8
    Aleta says:

    I don’t mind you comin’ here
    And wastin’ all my time
    ‘Cause when you’re standin’, oh so near
    I kinda lose my mind

    I don’t mind you hangin’ out
    And talkin’ in your sleep
    It doesn’t matter where you’ve been
    As long as it was deep, yeah

  9. 9
    johnnybuck says:

    Candy-O man. Maybe not a all timer band, but those first two albums are just timeless.
    Lots of memories long forgotten today.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I’ll be the pretentious music snob and say that the quality tailed off after The Cars and Candy-O. Also, I am not sure that the advent of MTV did them any favors; they had some great videos, but I think that success there took them in a more conventional pop direction. That said, I get where you are coming from with the “closet fan” thing. To me, they are a band that many people like and very, very few dislike. They weren’t often great, but they were never bad. If you have a group of people in their 40s and 50s, Cars’ songs are always a good bet for a DJ. Tom Petty achieved the same thing although his music was quite different.*

    I believe it is mandatory to note that Ocasek was married to Paulina Porzikova. RIP, Ric. We’ll miss you.

    *Nothing I am saying here is meant as a dig at Ocasek and The Cars or Tom Petty. In the words of Mick/Keith: I said i know it’s only rock’n’roll but i like it, like it, yes, i do.

  11. 11
    dexwood says:

    .Right there with you, Cole, though, like MJS, I thought the earlier albums were better than Heartbeat City. One Friday night, the week Panorama was released, my girlfriend and I were tripping on some pretty great LSD. We had reached the point where we could no longer operate the turntable so switched to the local college station which always had a kickass Friday night rock and roll show. Our switch was just in time to hear the new Cars album in it’s entirety uninterrupted. Wonderful. A few months later we saw them touring in support of the album. The Motels opened and they were damn good, too.

  12. 12
    Lee Hartmann says:

    Geez that’s sad. RIP.

    Enjoyable music is what you enjoy. and I enjoyed the Cars for what they did. Especialliy from my time in Boston.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Dr. Fungus says:

    The Cars are a quintessential American rock band from an era that is long gone- with short singable songs

    I remember when their debut came out in 1978. People were saying the exact same thing then.
    That first album was near perfection. Might as well have been a greatest hits. They never topped or matched it, though they had a few good songs afterward. Looking at you, “Since You’re Gone.”
    Loved the beatnik scene in Hairspray.

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I totally agree with everything you said. And even as they went the MTV route, I still liked them a lot. You just can’t find much to dislike. A rock band you can dance to. Like actual dancing, not just jumping around. I gravitated toward punk but the Cars had a cool enough vibe that even my crowd liked them. They are a big part of the soundtrack to my early 20s.

  16. 16
    Mike S says:

    My favorites were these two. Especially the way they toggled the beginning of Moving in Stereo between speakers.
    https://youtu.be/BZhfFXEMMI4

  17. 17
    Mike in DC says:

    I think that they are a near perfect 80s pop group. RIP.

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    Some people would pay to avoid ‘thoughts and prayers’ after a disaster, study finds

    I have to keep reminding myself some days that this is 2019.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Maybe take that downstairs.

  20. 20
    Wag says:

    The pair of songs that close the first Cars album, Moving In Stereo followed by the segue into All Mixed Up, is one of the most perfect pairs of songs ever. Brings me back to late nights driving home on country roads after dropping off my high school girlfriend after a date.

  21. 21
    Patricia Kayden says:

    And Ric did a great job playing a beatnik in the original “Hairspray” movie.

  22. 22
    Mary G says:

    I never bought any of their music, but I liked them on the radio and they almost always gave me an hours-long earworm.

    Half the obits say he was 70 and the other half say he was 75. Wikipedia says his DOB is disputed. Strange that he kept it a mystery in this day and age.

    He and Paulina were estranged, but she and their sons were staying with him to help him recover from a surgery. She found that he had passed in the night when she brought his morning coffee. I want to die like that.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @geg6: I mentioned this last night, but one of the things they had that gave them cachet with the college radio crowd was David Robinson on drums.

  24. 24
    JWR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    To me, they are a band that many people like and very, very few dislike.

    Count me as one of those “very, very few” who never really cared for The Cars, though I certainly get why they were so popular. But to me, they were just another run of the mlll Pop band. From that same era, I’ll take Gang Of Four, or Television. (I love me some Television!), and maybe even Blondie, (who were also a sometimes run of the mill pop band.) Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never said anything bad about The Cars. Just not my cuppa.

  25. 25
    OGLiberal says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): I didn’t know he was that old either. He was only a year or two younger than George Harrison. Atrios noted today that when the Cars were a hip MTV band, Led Zeppelin was “classic rock”. Robert Plant was born in 1948, Ocasek in ’44. (although I’ve seen 1949 thrown around as well) He first met Ben Orr in 1965 and they were in their first band together in 1968.

    I listened to the Cars before there was MTV. (my dad bought a cap for his pickup from a friend…it had an 8-track player with two tapes – The Cars first album and Led Zeppelin II) By the time their videos were on MTV, it was Ocasek as the featured vocalist, with Orr doing the big hit “Drive”. Didn’t realize until later the Orr was the lead vocalist on some of my favorite earlier Cars songs. Their voices were similar – I think Orr’s was a bit better and a little more “traditional”. But Ric wrote the songs.

    He produced a lot of bands as well. Saw him at a Possum Dixon show – he produced their first album – at the Mercury Lounge in NYC in the late ’90s. My friend saw him and said, “Hey, Ric!” Ric replied, “Hey, how’ve you been?” As he walked away my friend said to us, “Since when?” Seemed like a nice guy – just hanging in a small club watching a band he produced…looked like he may have been there by himself.

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    The Dangerous Type. Love it. The Cars will be on heavy rotation; I’ve only listened to their first three albums.

    And, bringing Alberto Vargas out of retirement to draw your Candy-O album cover. That was brilliant. Wiki:

    The album cover was painted by artist Alberto Vargas, who was known for his paintings of pin-up girls that appeared in Esquire and Playboy magazines in the 1940s through the 1960s. The idea to hire Vargas came from drummer David Robinson, the band’s artistic director and a collector of pin-ups. The 83-year-old Vargas had retired several years earlier but was persuaded to take the assignment by his niece, who was a fan of the Cars. The painting, depicting a woman sprawled across the hood of a Ferrari 365 GTC/4, was based on a photo shoot directed by Robinson at a Ferrari dealership.

    Someone mentioned that adding David Robinson (previously of The Modern Lovers) upped the Cars’ cool quotient considerably. Maybe Omnes? Anyway, I love their first two albums and Panorama.

    Sad that Ric Ocasek’s gone. He sounds like a very good guy, who guarded his private life but was approachable.

    I celebrate that Elvis Costello still breathes, and tours, apparently.

    Google Doodle today is BB King, who would be 94.

  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    Have to admit I’ve only vaguely heard of them, in passing . Stopped paying attention to rock music sometime during the early to mid-1970s.

  28. 28
    Mart says:

    @dexwood: I plumb forgot about the Motels. Been playing a few of their songs on YouTube, Thanks.

    ETA: Always happy when a Cars song is played on the radio.

  29. 29
    piratedan says:

    All I can say is that the music could be danced to, sung loudly in the car and had enough of a range of emotional content that allowed a lot of folks to identify… as a musician or a composer you’d have to say mission accomplished… ty Ric and Ben for being part of the soundtrack of my youth

  30. 30
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JWR: For dislike, I am talking about the appropriate reaction to REO Speedwagon from that time. Or Creed from a few years later. You know, diving for the radio controls in the car if one of the group’s songs comes on and things like that.

    ETA: You would never hear a Gang of Four song on pop radio. And not everyone spent their summers at jobs with access to college radio. The Cars were about the best you could get – except for two songs off of Combat Rock.

  31. 31
    Wag says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Elvis Costello still breathes, and tours,

    I saw him in Denver earlier this year, and he and the original attractions still rock very hard. Great show

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:

    Youtube, The Dangerous Type, Ric’s live vocal; he looking tall and gangly. Like this one a lot.

    When dressed in black, he reminds me of a real tall New Wave Roy Orbison, kinda. (He’s in red and white in the video.)

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    OT.

    Back to too hot and muggy. Yesterday’s high temp broke the record for the day and today feels like the same. Yuck.

  34. 34
    Rob says:

    The first two Cars albums helped get me through the end of my senior year in college and the rather traumatic year that followed (there were a handful of other albums helping as well). Panorama was good, too, but I lost interest in the group after that record. I still love love love those first two records though. RIP Ric.

  35. 35
    geg6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, exactly. Modern Lovers!

  36. 36

    They’re very “of their time”………………….I don’t know anybody who likes them who wasn’t there when they were happening. I was there but I wasn’t really a fan. However, ignoring the guy’s goofy voice, and the utter lack of funk, and the boring mid-tempos, there was something about them that I didn’t hate. I think it was the production. They had a certain sound that was interesting……………..also they had a way with a catchy lyric.
    OTOH the guy discovered Black 47 and produced their first album. I gotta definite ambivalence about that.

  37. 37
    chopper says:

    @JWR:

    never was into the cars, but their songs are catchy as all fuck and ocasek was a hell of a producer.

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Wow, a Naismith Award and a rock&roll drummer? didn’t know he was so talented.

  39. 39
    Rob says:

    @dexwood: That’s a great story!

  40. 40
    dexwood says:

    @piratedan:
    The Cars were in heavy rotation in all the bars in this town in 78 and 79. Local bands covered them faithfully. Yup, dance floors were crowded.

  41. 41
    Kent says:

    Food for thought from Atrios today. I’m the original MTV generation and was rather taken back by this. Would never had guessed.

    I was a young music listener when The Cars were popular. The funny thing is that Led Zeppelin was by that time, while still popular, a Dinosaur Rock band, and The Cars were a hip MTV band, and Robert Plant was born in 1948 and Ric Ocasek in 1945. Led Zeppelin is just an example. All those dinosaur rock guys just got popular before the ones that followed them did, even though the ones who followed them were often about the same age.

  42. 42
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Heartbeat City was one of the first albums I bough. Got it on cassette tape the summer it came out and played it for a week straight on my Walkman. Agree that some of their other albums we’re better but I was in 7th grade and newer was better at that age. They are indeed a band I’ve always really liked though that’s the only album I had. A friend had greatest hits and their hits are really great hits.

  43. 43
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Kristine:

    My favorite song is “Dangerous Type.”

    Oh, you and me both!

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    The Cars were part of the soundtrack of my teen and young adult years. I was in Boston for college and they were much loved there. The rock, alternative, punk, and college stations all played them. I don’t think I ever went to a dance or party in those years that didn’t have some Cars songs in the mix.

    Ric was quite an artist, too. His kids did a sweet tribute to him, posting the last doodle he drew.

    RIP Ric and thanks for all the fun times.

  45. 45
    Rileys Enabler says:

    Oh man. Wag’s got it right – Moving in stereo/ segue into All Mixed Up – best pair of songs from that entire decade. I loved The Cars – loved them, and mourned deep the day Ben Orr died because I knew it was the end of all hopes of one more song, one more tour. I also saw them with The Motels. So good. My first concert.
    RIP, Ric. What a glorious noise you made.

  46. 46
    Blake says:

    They were a great band. Ric Also was a great producer.

  47. 47
    JWR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @JWR: For dislike, I am talking about the appropriate reaction to REO Speedwagon from that time. Or Creed from a few years later.

    REO. Now there’s a band I really disliked. (And don’t get me started on Creed!) But my musical tastes are on the odd side. For instance, I really liked the first Cheap Trick album, and disliked all the rest. (Go figure.) I also liked Uriah Heep, one of the cheesiest rock bands ever, but also loved bands like Gong and Gentle Giant. But to each, his or her own, I always say.

  48. 48
    khead says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Fun fact: Toto, Elvis Costello AND The Cars came up short for the “Best New Artist” Grammy in 1979. Losing to….. A Taste of Honey. The Cars are right in my wheelhouse though. I’m in the age group that has them on vinyl, cassette, and CD.

  49. 49
    JWR says:

    @chopper:

    their songs are catchy as all fuck

    I totally, wholeheartedly agree.

  50. 50
    MomSense says:

    @JWR:

    Creed is the worst – and that’s saying something considering how much I much I hated REO Speedwagon. Man that was singer loved to close his mouth and hold those consonant sounds with that nasally hum of his. My middle son and I used to do this whole spoof of Creed’s song With Arms Wide Open where we changed the lyrics to “I’ve got toothpaste in my mouth and I need to spit”. It went on from there with both of us improvising. If you listen to him, it does sound like he’s singing with a mouth full of toothpaste.

  51. 51
    Elizabelle says:

    @khead: The Grammy strikes again. LOL. Boogie Oogie Oogie OMG.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mike S: Yeah, that’s brilliant. Loved the instrumentation.

    I loved how we could just pick up the arm and put it back just where we wanted to hear again, with vinyl and [the now infamous] record players.

    But how convenient for you to put up that link and it’s right on the laptop. Listening to it without having to move many muscles.

  53. 53
    JWR says:

    @MomSense:

    Ha ha! Look Ma! I got Cweed toofpashte in mah mouf! (There are times I wish I’d had kids.)

  54. 54
  55. 55
  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    A blast from the past. R.I.P. Mister O.

  57. 57
    Keith P. says:

    @MomSense: Creed and REO are station-changers but I’ll throw Fleetwood Mac in there too….I haaaaate Fleetwood. Even Stevie Nick’s solo stuff f’n sucks IMO

  58. 58
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Aleta: Thanks for the link. I caught the tail end of Warren’s speech.

    I apologize because this is off-topic and petty, but I just realized this and it’s eating at me.

    Warren has got to branch out fashion-wise.

    She looks comfortable and ready to spring into action in her uniform of black spandex and a solid, bright colored jacket — it’s sort of a superhero costume.

    But it doesn’t read as “presidential.” It’s too casual. Is that what she is going to wear to her inauguration? A state dinner? To meet Queen Elizabeth and the Pope?

    I realize what to wear is problematic for women politicians. Men definitely have it easier, there’s only a couple of real options, rolled up short sleeves or suit and tie.

    Pelosi manages to be both chic and business-like. Maybe she could be a good model for Warren? But how to segue from her established look to another? Has Warren painted herself into a corner? Now I’m worried about her political instincts.

  59. 59
    Nicole says:

    Excellent comments everyone, much appreciated, as I’m down here in Washington Square, Park in a mass crowd of people hoping for selfies and no one has any idea where the line is. I’m gonna try to last it out, but it’s bedlam and I suspect I may be here for three hours if I try.

    That said, the entertaining music opinions and memories are much appreciated as they help pass the time.

    It was a good speech by the way. I couldn’t see any of it, but I could hear it. 😀

  60. 60
    Bobby Thomson says:

    As an old, I learned one evening that the beginning of Side A of The Cars syncs up pretty well with the third act of the 1981 movie Ghost Story.

    They were a fun band. I really hated Heartbeat City but their early stuff still holds up. By all accounts Ric was a good guy and it appears his end was peaceful.

  61. 61
    MomSense says:

    @JWR:

    You don’t need kids to be silly! I still act silly half the time.
    @raven: I didn’t realize he died. I always associated him with the college band sound.

    @Keith P.: I liked early Fleetwood when Peter Green was in the band and they were more bluesy. But oh god Gypsy and Don’t stop Thinking About Tomorrow – all that stuff was such garbage.

  62. 62
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mike S: OK, that was so good I am listening to it again. Just found another desert island disc.

    Like the yoots will know what that means.

    @Nicole: Yea you, for being there.

  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    @Elizabelle

    another desert island disc

    Don’t forget to pack the wind-up Victrola.

    ;)

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    @NotMax: And the Depends. Sigh.

    ETA: Meanwhile, you have a mother — parents — who went to Woodstock, right? For the actual concert?

  65. 65

    @JWR: Man you hit the trifecta there. I saw Cheap Trick, Uriah Heep, and Gentle Giant all as opening acts for bands they really shouldn’a been. The worst case was when Gentle Giant opened up for J. Geils. My cousin Marty, who was a Chicago cop, was tripping and they freaked him out so bad he had to leave and missed Geils completely.

  66. 66
    Mary G says:

    @Ohio Mom: I have to disagree. She’s transitioned from $13 sweaters she whacked inches off herself to custom jackets from a designer who’s patronized by Pelosi and a lot of other female politicians. I like the casual; she does a lot of running through train stations and airports where a suit and heels wouldn’t work. She stands for three hours after every speech taking pictures with everyone who wants one – not sure she’ll be able to keep that up and it’d be impossible in heels except for Nancy SMASH. She’s relatable. I don’t want a Sarah Palin in $150,000 worth of clothes in four days. I’m sure she has plans for more formal occasions like her inauguration.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @Elizabelle

    Still have (somewhere) a quite attractive Lucite paperweight advertising Attends (Procter & Gamble’s version of Depends) given out to us who labored in the trenches at the ad agency.

    Not as nice as the 10″ tall, 22-minute* brass and glass hourglass promoting ABC’s Nightline which remains on display in the living room.

    *the length of the show sans commercials

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ohio Mom: You really think she’d dress like that to meet the Queen or the Pope? Really? Petty is right; you’d have to work overtime to come up with a worse take.

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Elizabelle

    Yup. Have never come across another of my generation who can say the same. I was busy working, in a different state entirely.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    She dresses just fine. She should be comfortable, she’s traveling – a lot. And I know from traveling a lot, comfort is a lot better than style. Maybe it’s that clothes don’t really impress me and I owned my own tux for work award banquets. It’s not a fashion show, it’s a job. Sure she’ll have to dress better for occasions but the concept that only certain clothes are acceptable just rankles me. She’s not in tatters, she’s fully clothed, not grunged out, what’s important is what she says, what she means and does she understand the job/work. After that it’s all fluff. And it really doesn’t matter, someone is going to complain no matter what she wears, she doesn’t look presidential, she look old, she looks weak, she looks……. blah, blah, blah. Fuckem.

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    Now flashing back to the whole “Obama wears mom jeans” flap.

    :)

  72. 72
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The most 80s pop of 80s pop bands. Even though they started in the 70s. Maybe BECAUSE they started in the 70s.

  73. 73
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    But it doesn’t read as “presidential.” It’s too casual. Is that what she is going to wear to her inauguration? A state dinner? To meet Queen Elizabeth and the Pope?

    She totally should. We should take the current moment as an opportunity to regard all conventions of what is “presidential” as officially obsolete and start over.

  74. 74

    @Ohio Mom: I, for one, am pleased that Elizabeth Warren does not torture her feet with five-inch stilettos.

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Matt McIrvin

    Had to be better than the piece o’ crap actual cars being made in America during that time.

    “K-cars. Buy ’em today, curse ’em tomorrow.”

    ;)

  76. 76
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @khead: and a few years later Madonna lost to Michael Penn

  77. 77
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Cheryl, way O/T and I don’t want to hijack this thread, but are you planning to do a post later about this story?

    https://thebulletin.org/2019/09/an-explosion-rocked-a-russian-research-facility-known-for-housing-the-smallpox-virus/

  78. 78
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Duran Duran is holding on line 2 for you

  79. 79
    Yarrow says:

    Always really liked The Cars. RIP, Ric. Thanks for all the great music.

    (Marshall Crenshaw comes to mind)

    Love Marshall Crenshaw. I’ve always loved You’re My Favorite Waste of Time.

  80. 80
    Ohio Mom says:

    I guess I wasn’t clear. I worry that Mr. and Mrs. Average Don’t Pay All That Much Attention are going to look at Warren and have a vague feeling that this isn’t what a president looks like.

    That a president looks formal and “fancy.” And if she switched looks, they’ll take it that she’s fickle and phony.

    She’s my favorite. I don’t want anything getting in her way.

  81. 81
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Keith P.:
    The quality of Fleetwood Mac’s classic repertoire varies: Christine McVie is simply not on Stevie Nicks’ or Lindsey Buckingham’s level of creativity as a songwriter or musician or singer, and her songs tend to MOR pop more than I would like. That said, their best stuff — at the level of The Chain, Gold Dust Woman, Silver Spring, Go Your Own Way — really is classic.

  82. 82

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m currently watching Twitter coverage of Trump’s visit to my state and the reaction.

    Good turnout at Tiguex Park for speeches by two of our Democratic Representatives – Deb Haaland of Laguna Pueblo and Ben Ray Lujan of Espanola. Lots of empty seats at Trump’s arena. ACLU put up signs like “In New Mexico, we like red and green [referring to our chile]. Hold the white supremacy.”

    Here’s what I wrote on Twitter about the explosion.

  83. 83
    RAVEN says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sheet, now when they were a blues band. . . oh well.

  84. 84
    Amir Khalid says:

    @MomSense:
    Bill and Hillary love Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, and they used it in their campaigns for many years.

  85. 85
    Just One More Canuck says:

    I find it stunning that he was 75. Same age as Jimmy Page

    RIP

  86. 86
    Raven says:

    @MomSense: Seems he ended up homeless and not in good shape. Did you know of the Finchley Boys?

  87. 87
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I hate the way stilletos look, and the awkward way women walk in them.

    They are the opposite of everything Warren is about, I never expect to see her in them.

  88. 88
    Zinsky says:

    So true, Cole. Simple, straightforward, feel-good rock music. Fifty years from now, kids will still be getting high, drinking brewskis and listening to “Magic” by The Cars at full volume. Timeless.

  89. 89
    piratedan says:

    @Steve in the ATL: and U2 is on line 3…

  90. 90
    Elizabelle says:

    @Ohio Mom: Hugs. Don’t overworry.

    I realize that a lot of what drives comments about any of the candidates is fear for our country (legitimate) and anxiety about the election.

    In the meantime, back to The Cars and the late great Mr. O.

  91. 91
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yes, I can never hear Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow without seeing in my mind’s eye candidate Bill Clinton walking up to a podium, smiling broadly and waving.

  92. 92
    JWR says:

    @John Revolta:

    I saw Cheap Trick, Uriah Heep, and Gentle Giant all as opening acts for bands they really shouldn’a been

    I never saw Cheap Trick or Heep, but I did see GG at one of those stadium shows headlined by Yes, (I have a friend who was really into Yes, so I ended up seeing them 5 times!), Peter Frampton was there as well, (I liked him way more when he was with Humble Pie), and that Dreamweaver guy, and many, many others. But GG really took the show.

    BTW. I was at the first California Jam, which took place in April of 1974. ELP, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, BOA, Rare Earth….. etc etc and on an’ on… Fun Times, especially considering how young I was. (Ahem, 16.)

  93. 93
    Another Scott says:

    The Cars were good. Kinda simple, but there’s elegance in simplicity.

    “Let the good times roll
    Let them knock you around
    Let the good times roll
    Let them make you a clown”

    RIP.

    In other news, Maybe Vlad did it?:

    Russia is ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with leaders of Turkey and Iran in Ankara, and proposed Russian weapons for purchase.

    “We are ready to provide respective assistance to Saudi Arabia, and it would be enough for the political leadership of Saudi Arabia to make a wise government decision – as the leaders of Iran did in their time by purchasing S-300 and as (Turkish) President (Tayyip) Erdogan did by purchasing the latest S-400 ‘Triumph’ air defence systems from Russia,” Putin said.

    These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added.

    Hmm…

    Higher oil prices to help Mother Russia’s economy, and more weapons sales to help Mother Russia’s economy, and yet more gravel in the gears of US foreign relations.

    What’s not to like??

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (“Who is only half kidding…”)

  94. 94
    frosty says:

    @Amir Khalid: And let’s not forget everything on Then Play On and Kiln House. One of my favorite bands in any incarnation. They went through guitarists like Spinal Tap did with drummers.

    RIP Ric. Lots of memories being brought up just from reading the names of their songs.

  95. 95
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    I myself have never worn stilettos, nor do I care to. When I see them on a woman, I don’t think, “Sexy!”; I think, “Ankle injury waiting to happen.”

  96. 96
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Almost 2.5 hours into this thread and no one has mentioned their best song, “Let’s Go”, or second best, “My Best Friend’s Girl”. Lesser known from their earlier days, check out “All I Can Do”.

  97. 97
    piratedan says:

    @Yarrow: his other albums post Field Day still hold up too… but the again I’m a power pop guy… so ymmv

  98. 98
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: Love that song. Marshall Crenshaw is so humane, and really likes women. Even the cynical girls.

  99. 99
    NotMax says:

    @piratedan

    Francis Gary Powers?

    :)

    @JWR

    Saw a concert at the Spectrum in Philly. Opening act for Emerson, Lake & Palmer was some then unknown group, so unknown they weren’t even mentioned on the posters – turned out to be Yes.

  100. 100
    piratedan says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I was always more partial to a couple of songs off a Panorama… Cruiser and Think It Over but as an overall effort their debut album simply smokes…

  101. 101
    Mike in NC says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: If Senator Warren showed up at some function in clothes designed by Ivanka Trump, wouldn’t it totally blow our minds?

  102. 102
    JWR says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    Same age as Jimmy Page

    Hey now. No mentions of Jimmy Page in threads about rock stars dying, m’kay? ;-)

  103. 103
    piratedan says:

    @Elizabelle: well I never settle for The Usual Thing…

  104. 104
    Mohagan says:

    When the Cars first album came out, I had almost stopped listening to current music radio and was transitioning to the local NPR station (I graduated from college in 1973), but I remember really liking their songs and buying their first album, which was a rare thing for me to do by then. RIP Ric.

  105. 105
    Elizabelle says:

    @piratedan:

    And if I didn’t think you were a little bit out there too
    Now I just wouldn’t bother with you

  106. 106
    frosty says:

    @RAVEN: Or before that, when they started out (sorry ‘bout the naked link): Dust My Broom
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UeYCXcJJU4M

  107. 107
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    “My Best Friend’s Girl”.

    Love that song so much.

  108. 108
    Jager says:

    I’m so old I remember The Cars as a local bar band. We lived in the Back Bay and we’d see RIC and family all the time.

  109. 109
    Another Scott says:

    @Amir Khalid: I saw Fleetwood Mac two nights in Chicago – they opened the Rosemont Horizon stadium. (I went twice so that I could write about it for some class on community (“Community at Fleetwood Mac Concerts” or something – the crowds were quite different the 2 nights).)

    They were touring to support Tusk. Lots of people didn’t know how to react to it after Rumo[u]rs was such a gigantic monster of a hit.

    Rumo[u]rs is a fabulous album. It’s really not their fault that it was played to death. ;-)

    It would have been a really good show, but the acoustics there were absolutely horrid. Every note echoed about 5 times. It was so bad that Springsteen later demanded that they fix it before he played there.

    I still am amazed the The Green Manalishi is from the same band. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  110. 110
    JWR says:

    @NotMax:

    some then unknown group, so unknown they weren’t even mentioned on the posters – turned out to be Yes.

    Oh wow! Very cool! I read somewhere that one of the first Yes shows was opening for some “Supergroup” called Cream.

  111. 111
    Jay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Are all Government buildings in Russia built out of recycled WWII explosives?

  112. 112
    MomSense says:

    @Raven:

    Yeah my parents had a record someone left at our house and it was kind of a mashup of garage band and psychedelic. I haven’t thought about it in a long time, but I used to play all the albums on my Fisher Price record player and crack my parents up singing to them. I think it was called Tribute.

    They kept pushing Pete Seeger on me , which was fine, but I loved Woody Guthrie more. Not sure why. I also loved Hawaiian guitar music, Fiddler on the Roof, and my grandmother and mom playing piano and violin concertos. They were really good musicians.

  113. 113
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Thanks, good point about broken windows not signifying security. But if you feel so inclined, I’d still welcome a FP about this event and its possible ramifications. (Maybe it’s a nothing, but for my taste we’ve had far too many explosions at geopolitically-sensitive locations recently.)

  114. 114
  115. 115
    NotMax says:

    Linky fix.

    @JWR

    White Room had been a gargantuan hit for Cream.

  116. 116
    raven says:

    @MomSense: They are good friends. Michael Powell, the drummer just passed away. C-U was rockin in those days!

  117. 117
    MoxieM says:

    I was lucky to be from Boston in the ’70s, and have a fake ID. Oh! the shows you could go to!

    Just the venues: The Paradise, Cantones, The Club (and other iterations), the Channel, the Performance space at the top of the garage, that weird mobbed up place in Saugus where the NY Dolls used to play, Landsdowne St (Avalon-Axis-Whatever) in all its incarnations, the Causeway near the old Garden. Then the Middle East in Cambridge, TT the Bears, even Bunratty’s and Green St. Station, as some of the other clubs went down… Golly, decades of joy. I’m surprised I can hear a damned thing. And the Cars were such an important early breakout band. Many thanks to them for much.

  118. 118
  119. 119
    MomSense says:

    @raven:

    Oh I didn’t know he passed. My parents were always having parties at our house for their college students. My mom worked in student affairs when I was little and my dad had campus ministry groups that morphed into anti war / social justice activist groups. The parties were fun, though. Lots of music and dancing.

  120. 120
    James E Powell says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    I worry that Mr. and Mrs. Average Don’t Pay All That Much Attention are going to look at Warren and have a vague feeling that this isn’t what a president looks like.

    Americans don’t really have an image or a look for a female president. That’s why some of them will vote for just about any man over just about any woman, irrespective of party, experience, policy proposals, etc.

  121. 121
    J R in WV says:

    We’re going to lose so many great, gifted performers over the next few years. When an early death like this one brings that to my mind, I get really sad. We’ve already lost quite a few, but some of them seem to be going on and on like the energizer bunny.

    The Rolling Stones! Who could have imagined they would still be making good music in the 21st century? I guess all the exercise bounding around the stage really pays off!!

    RIP, Ric. I had no idea he worked with Black 47!! Wife spent several months in NYC working for her union, came back a huge Black 47 fan, her union president was an Irish radical, loved them, they would to out to hear them after sessions with the company sucks. Rowdy marxist Irish R&R!!

  122. 122
    piratedan says:

    @MoxieM: I also liked The Atlantics from that same time frame but outside of Boston they couldn’t get much traction…. must have been wicked times with having both Boston and The Cars promoting the Boston scene (although Cleveland is where Ocasik and Orr hooked up IIRC)…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpTOfr5TeOQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjAmBgCGGzE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B4veJffPR4

  123. 123
    Keith P. says:

    Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money deaths got you down? Take a sip of Sean Spicer living his most fabulous life.

  124. 124
    jk says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    very, very few dislike.

    Count me among those who deeply disliked the Cars almost as much as Aerosmith, Journey, Styx, Devo, The B52’s, and Blondie.

  125. 125
    MomSense says:

    @Raven:

    It’s on Spotify! Wow, that’s the album I was thinking of.

  126. 126
    NotMax says:

    OT.

    Ad just played announcing a limited series of new episodes with the original cast of the show Mad About You, one of those sitcoms which was popular for no discernible reason. All I remember of it (not at all a regular stop on my TV watching circuit at the time) is that the married couple who were the focus of the show displayed less physical and sexual chemistry than, say, husband and wife Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.

  127. 127
    raven says:

    @MomSense: Red Herring?

  128. 128
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MoxieM: I was more a Pall’s Mall and Jazz Workshop kind of guy then; TT the Bear’s was for the chili and not the music.

  129. 129
    NotMax says:

    @J R in WV

    Not sure I’d classify 75 as an early death. YMMV.

  130. 130
    jk says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    Behold the killing fields that lie before us: Bob Dylan (78 years old); Paul McCartney (77); Paul Simon (77) and Art Garfunkel (77); Carole King (77); Brian Wilson (77); Mick Jagger (76) and Keith Richards (75); Joni Mitchell (75); Jimmy Page (75) and Robert Plant (71); Ray Davies (75); Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74); Roger Waters (75) and David Gilmour (73); Rod Stewart (74); Eric Clapton (74); Debbie Harry (74); Neil Young (73); Van Morrison (73); Bryan Ferry (73); Elton John (72); Don Henley (72); James Taylor (71); Jackson Browne (70); Billy Joel (70); and Bruce Springsteen (69, but turning 70 next month).

    h/t https://theweek.com/articles/861750/coming-death-just-about-every-rock-legend

  131. 131
    Raven says:

    @MomSense: You aren’t Sophie are you?

  132. 132
    JWR says:

    @NotMax:

    White Room had been a gargantuan hit for Cream.

    Ah yes. Now I remember! Good choice, too. Disraeli Gears was a great album, but as a guitarist, I’ve always found EC, post that album, to be rather, well, boring. (Drops head, runs away!)

    (Also, the show where Yes opened for Cream was at the Royal Albert Hall.)

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amir Khalid: In their post-Greene days, Buckingham was the creative force in the band. His stuff didn’t always work (Tusk, anyone?), but he was trying things.

  134. 134
    Amir Khalid says:

    @jk:
    Springsteen turns 70 next week, on the 23rd.

  135. 135
    MomSense says:

    @Raven:

    No, but there was a Sophie who was also a preacher’s kid. Our parents were friends but we only saw them in the summer.

  136. 136
    RAVEN says:

    @MomSense: I worked at the Urbana Park District from 78-84. Is that where you live (d)? Did I know this?

  137. 137
    Raven says:

    @MomSense: Off to beddy bye, I’ll check this in the am.

  138. 138
    Shana says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’d say that something else that gave them cred with the college radio crowd in the 80s was that they were cool but not pretty in the way that Duran Duran was during the early days of MTV. There was a point where it seemed you had to be photogenic to be a hit on MTV which was taking over as the arbiter of whether or not something was worthwhile. Of course there was the “I’m not selling out to MTV” attitude which was exemplified by REM until they realized it was useless to fight it and came out with Everybody Hurts and Losing My Religion. Saturday night rant/ramble over.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax:

    All I remember of it (not at all a regular stop on my TV watching circuit at the time) is that the married couple who were the focus of the show displayed less physical and sexual chemistry than, say, husband and wife Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.

    Damn. That’s cold.

  140. 140
    Another Scott says:

    @J R in WV: It’s sad when great talents leave us. But there are great talents all around us all the time.

    She’s pretty good. ;-)

    In Zappa’s book he says what really matters about music is composing. Machines will eventually be better than any human at playing the notes, but what makes us special is coming up with new music. (And that anyone who brings their own interpretation to a piece is acting as a composer.)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  141. 141
    Jeffro says:

    Wow, the Cars. I think (as some have already said upthread) that HEARTBEAT CITY was one of the earliest albums I bought on cassette way, waaay back in the day. The first being Journey’s FRONTIERS (which, sorry haters, I still love ;)

    Motels. Men At Work. A lil’ REO. Just a few Culture Club songs. I can’t wait to see The Legwarmers next month!

  142. 142
    MomSense says:

    @RAVEN:

    No, we were in Ohio. Hmmm. My mom worked for Hiram and then Kent State and she traveled to colleges and high schools, mostly in the Midwest.

  143. 143
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:
    It was all right as 1990s sitcoms go. But the great fictional small-screen couple of those times was Mulder and Scully.

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shana: If you want anti-MTV videos, it is hard to do better than The ‘Mats.

  145. 145
    Shana says:

    @Rob: What were the other albums that got you through your tough time?

  146. 146
    NotMax says:

    @jk

    Janis Ian (68), Ginger Baker (80), Steve Winwood (71), Dave Mason (73), Bonnie Raitt (70), Yoko Ono (86), Willie Nelson (86), Todd Rundgren (71), Bobby Vinton (84), Sly Stone (86). Tina Turner (80), Neil Sedaka (80), Peter Noone (71), Yusuf Islam [Cat Stevens] (71), Dave Clark (80?) and on and on and on.

    Not meant to be a comprehensive list nor any comment one way or another on quality, just on being some more among widely known names.

  147. 147
    trollhattan says:

    @jk:
    Lumping the B52s and Devo with the rest assures you no exit from purgatory.

    Now you know.

  148. 148
    trollhattan says:

    @NotMax:
    Don’t look up John Mayall.

  149. 149
    jk says:

    @NotMax:

    The next 10 – 15 years will have a lot of major bummers.

    Then there’s also actors like Gene Hackman (89), Donald Sutherland (84), Jack Nicholson (82), Al Pacino (79), Robert DeNiro (76)

  150. 150
    jk says:

    @trollhattan:

    I’m ok with that.

  151. 151
    Shana says:

    @Yarrow: OMG, Marshall Crenshaw is criminally underappreciated by the world. Fabulous songwriting.

    I’m seeing Billy Bragg doing songs from his first 3 albums on Friday with my daughter. Beyond excited.

  152. 152
    NotMax says:

    @trolhattan

    Nor Little Richard.

    ;)

  153. 153
    apocalipstick says:

    @geg6: Some years ago Elliot Easton mentioned (in a Guitar Player interview) that the Cars didn’t really fit in with the rest of the punk/post-punk/New Wave scene due to their “classic” ambitions. He had to hide the fact that he actually had a good amp (a Fender Twin) and either a Strat or Tele, since the scene was so “anti-muso”. Make me laugh.

  154. 154
    hilts says:

    @NotMax:

    Roger McGuinn (77) Because I love the Byrds, I was disappointed to read on Wikipedia that Roger gave money to Ben Carson’s presidential campaign.

  155. 155
    OGLiberal says:

    @Amir Khalid: I love Lindsey’s guitar in “The Chain”. I thought the Christine/Lindsey harmonies were close to perfect. Better than Lindsey/Stevie, which were good. All three together was wonderful.

  156. 156
    hilts says:

    @trollhattan:

    Remember to give John plenty of room to move
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLp0AsKXMEs

  157. 157
    Elizabelle says:

    Youtube: 1978: Live performance on The Midnight Special: The Cars with Just What I Needed. The late, great Benjamin Orr, in perfect voice.

    It’s such a good single. Just perfect power pop.

  158. 158
    Shana says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Classic FU. Thanks for reminding me.

  159. 159
    apocalipstick says:

    @Amir Khalid: Lindsey Buckingham lighting his amp on fire in “Go Your Own Way” is outstanding.

  160. 160
    OGLiberal says:

    @Elizabelle: By chance, I stumbled upon this the other day, pre-Ric’s death. Despite how great it was I had a hard time comprehending Larry Gatlin introducing The Cars. Ben is perfect and it’s actually live….we used to play this in my 7th grade class (on vinyl…on one of those public school turntables…the ones you could close up and latch closed) to make fun of our teacher (who loved the good-natured ribbing…my fave teacher of all time), who used to often ask, a la Mr. Hand, “Why are you wasting my time?”

  161. 161
    burnspbesq says:

    The Cars were an excellent band that had the great misfortune to come along at the same time as Talking Heads.

  162. 162
    mvr says:

    I completely get the sadness here even though I was never a fanatic. (The deaths of both Joe Strummer and Tom Petty each hit me harder than I would have expected for people I didn’t know.) And then you said Marshall Crenshaw and I thought, wow, it’s really cool that Cole likes MC and also the comparison is apt. I still have a guitar pick he threw out the the audience at a PDX show in the 80s at Key Largo, a music club.

  163. 163
    Elizabelle says:

    @burnspbesq: Hey there. There need not have been only one.

    The Cars were more accessible. The Heads were critical favorites. They are both good in their own way.

    The Cars kind of stayed in their time. They were over and out in 1988, except for a last album in 2011 that I would bet almost none of us have heard of. The members moved on to other things; sounds like drummer David Robinson (who still looks astonishingly good at the induction ceremony — a hipper version of the Most Interesting Man in the World) put his drums in storage in 1988 and is not recognized on the street now. He makes jewelry and lives in a smallish Massachusetts town.

    Learned from the induction ceremony that keyboardist Greg Hawkes married around the time the group got together, raised two kids, still together with his wife. That is way cool.

  164. 164
    mvr says:

    @raven: You mean coffeehouse? I used to work there in 1977.

  165. 165
    Nicole says:

    I did it! Three and a half hours and one selfie later. I had a lovely chat with two women waiting in front of me; it ended up being pretty fun. The transit gods are kind; the train is running local for me tonight so I’ll be home soon.

    (Note: Thanks to the sheer number of people, it’s less a selfie than someone taking a pic on your phone for you, but it’s all good.)

  166. 166
    Another Scott says:

    @Nicole: Excellent. Thanks for the report!

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  167. 167
  168. 168
    J. Squid says:

    My Ric Ocasek story.

    In the 80s there was a clothing store on W 8th St called Flip. Every year, for 3 or 5 years running, a couple of times each summer, either I would be walking past flip as Ric walked out of Flip or I would be walking out of Flip as Ric walked by. We’d physically bump into each other and both say, “Oh! Excuse me. I’m sorry,” and be on our way.

    A couple of years after the last of those semi-regular meetings, I was crossing 8th Street on the east side of Broadway when a car came whipping around the corner and screeched to a stop. I froze, turned and there were Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova sitting in this little sports car. I smiled and waved and he shrugged and smiled.

    I never saw him again but I always wondered if he ever told that story from his point of view.

  169. 169

    I was really saddened to hear of his death, too. I don’t like to see people whose music I grew up listening to die of old age. That’s just wrong. People like that should always be 25-35 years old, ’cause that’s how old they were when I first began listening to them.

    Tonight She Comes was always my favorite Cars song, followed by You Might Think and Hello, Again.

  170. 170
    MoxieM says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I saw Bob Marley at one or the other — sat about 10 feet away. Needless to say I went back for the second night! (Serious contact high). Still and now two of the best shows ever. This was just after Catch a Fire came out–the album cover was like a zippo lighter (the record, you know, for record players. heh.) Civilized clubs. You could sit down, and your feet didn’t stick to the floor!

  171. 171
    MoxieM says:

    @piratedan: I remember the Atlantics! They perennially opened for other bands, it seems. They almost made it national with Lonelyhearts, eh? I still hear the Cars in the context of all that.

  172. 172
    NotoriousJRT says:

    I will just say that I found the first album great fun to listen to and sing along with. Listened to it on a drive all the way from Maine to Florida for spring break and back again. Good times.

  173. 173
    Rob says:

    @Shana: I am just seeing your query now (good morning). The second and third Talking Heads albums (More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music), Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces, Planet Gong’s Floating Anarchy Live 1977 were all on my turntable a whole lot.

  174. 174
    debbie says:

    These many years later, life still stops for that first single.

  175. 175
    Rob says:

    @debbie: Poetic, and true.

Comments are closed.