Special Tribute: Ric Ocasek
“They Want to Crack Your Crossword Smile”
The Cars were one of the first bands to make the leap from a quirky New Wave group to stadium-filling rock stars. Blondie may have transitioned first, but of course, they had a secret weapon with Debbie Harry -- the voice, the look, the hooks. But the Cars didn’t have a glamorous lead singer. Instead, they had the tall, angular, and definitely non-glamorous Ric Ocasek.
As one of the chief songwriters for the band (along with vocalist/bassist Benjamin Orr who passed away in 2000) and its creative leader, Ocasek steered the Cars to fame and glory with guitar tunes heavily laden with synthesizers. Though the band’s first two records were released in ‘78 and 79, the Cars are synonymous wi the 80s,
The Cars were ubiquitous on the radio, with several hits like “Just What I Needed,” “Let It Go,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” and many others. Ocasek and Orr met and played together in Ohio before moving to Boston and forming the Cars with Elliot Easton on guitar and backing vocals, Greg Hawkes on keyboards, and David Robinson on drums. Together, they released seven studio albums, the last being Move Like This, which was recorded after Orr’s death
Ocasek was found dead in his New York apartment on September 15. He was 75. Those of us who grew up with his music (and there are many since the Cars have continuously graced the airways from the early days to present), we’ll remember Ocasek fondly as the kinda weird dude who wrote great pop songs. Rest in Peace, Ric, and thank you.
“Dangerous Type,” penned and sung by Ocasek, was on the Cars’ second record Candy O.