New Wave legend and the driving wheel of The Cars, Ric Ocasek is dead at 75

The New Wave band The Cars had a string of hits during the late 1970’s and 1980’s including “Drive”

New Wave legend and the driving wheel of The Cars, Ric Ocasek is dead at 75

News broke yesterday September 15th, 2019, the New Wave legend Ric Ocasek, founder of The Cars was found dead at his New York City apartment just a few months after turning 75. One of the most influential bands of all time, The Cars balanced the perfect fusion between Classic Rock, New Wave and Pop. Despite the worldwide success, The Cars disbanded in 1990 and their last live performance was in 2018 at The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction where Ric Ocasek, as a member of the band was inducted. That least performance already missed one of the band’s key members and co-founder Benjamin Orr, who passed in 2000 and sung lead vocals in one of their biggest hits, “Drive”. 



Richard Theodore Otcasek was born on March 23, 1944, in Baltimore, Maryland. He’s mostly famous for being the being the lead singer and guitarist of the new wave band The Cars, but his career started back in the 1960’s. Ocasek met future Cars bassist Benjamin Orr in Cleveland in the mid-1960’s after Ocasek saw Orr performing with his band the Grasshoppers. Ocasek met future Cars bassist Benjamin Orr in Cleveland in the mid-1960’s after Ocasek saw Orr performing with his band the Grasshoppers. The pair were in various bands in Columbus and Ann Arbor, Michigan before relocating to Boston in the early 1970s. During the mid-1970’s they formed the band Cap’n Swing, but their demo was rejected by several labels. They then re-formed the band and renamed it The Cars in 1976. The band became one of the most successful New Wave groups worldwide and had numerous hit songs from 1978 to 1988, Ric played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals for a majority of songs (bassist Benjamin Orr was lead vocalist on the remaining tracks). After splitting writing duty with Orr in the 1970’s, Ocasek became the principal songwriter of the band, and wrote nearly all of the Cars’ material, sharing credit on only a few songs with bandmate Greg Hawkes as co-writer. He also released his first solo album in 1982. “Beatitude” is a somewhat more experimental variation of the Cars’ new wave rock sound. The Cars disbanded in 1988 and Ocasek disappeared from the public eye for a couple of years. He resurfaced in 1990 with his own album, “Fireball Zone”. One track, “Rockaway,” enjoyed a brief stay on the charts, but his solo albums have seen disappointing sales, especially compared to his success with the Cars. Ric and co-founder of the Cars Benjamin Orr were close friends, and their friendship was commemorated in the song “Silver” which Ocasek wrote as a dedication to Orr upon his death in 2000. Ric Ocasek has been married to model Paulina Porizkova since 1989. In 2010, Ocasek reunited with the surviving original members of the Cars to record their first album in 24 years, titled Move Like This, which was released on May 10, 2011. Among some of The Cars most famous songs are: “Just What I Needed”, “You Might Think”, “Drive”, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Shake It Up”.

Look back at the 1981 music video for “Shake It Up” by The Cars



Watch The Cars performing their hit “She’s My Best Friend’s Girl”




Listen the compilation “Moving In Stereo: The Best Of The Cars” on Spotify

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