Tuesday, September 17, 2019

R.I.P. Ric Ocasek

R.I.P. RIc Ocasek, lead singer and founding member of The Cars, who died this week at the age of 75 (!!!). 

Wow, this one hurts. I was a HUGE fan of The Cars in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I had all their albums, memorized every lyric and even saw them in concert. Their unique new wave sound and quirky vocals really spoke to me, and their music was a big part of my high school and college years.

Many's the time when I'd crank up The Cars on the er, car stereo and just drive (no pun intended), singing along to every track. I could even do a passable Ocasek impression!

Ocasek was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1944, and later moved to Cleveland, Ohio. There he met future bandmate Benjamin Orr in 1965. They formed a band called ID Nirvana (?) in 1968, and began performing locally.

In 1976 the two co-founded The Cars in Boston. Ocasek served as lead singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist, while Orr played bass and sang on many of the songs as well. Rounding out the band were Elliot Easton on lead guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards and David Robinson on drums.

Among their many, many hits were You're All I've Got Tonight, Bye Bye Love, Moving In Stereo, Let's Go, Candy-O, Dangerous Type, Shake It Up, Drive and You Might Think, all favorites of mine.

In 1989 Ocasek gave hope to gawky nerds the world over, when he married supermodel Paulina Porizkova, who starred in The Cars' music video Drive. Ocasek was 40 when he met the 18 year old Porizkova (!), and they married four years later. Yow! Sadly, the two separated in 2018.

The Cars disbanded in 1988, but Ocasek continued recording music on his own, as well as painting and writing poetry. In 2010 the surviving members reunited to record a new album.

Ocasek died on September 15, 2019 due to complications from a recent heart surgery. His bandmate Benjamin Orr died in 2000.

R.I.P. Ric Ocasek.

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