Ric Ocasek of The Cars has died suddenly. Sad, sad news. He was 75. The Cars were one of the best and greatest bands of my childhood – and I kept listening to them. Why wouldn’t you? So many pop gems. Such a great singles band. Good albums too. But those hit singles. The original Cars’ Greatest Hits album is one of the all-time greatest Greatest Hits records I reckon. Not much around to beat it. No duds. All killer, as they say. No filler
Ocasek was the frontman – a lead singer and songwriter for the cars and as such he contributed to many of their best songs.
He released a few solo albums – some of them are even quite good. He also produced two of the best Weezer albums – but what matters, really, is that he produced their debut album. Which really is the only Weezer album that every household needs. Anything else is a bonus, and its mostly a case of diminishing returns/reruns.
But Ocasek also wrote a book of poetry, contributed to the soundtrack for The King of Comedy and had a walk on in the original of Hairspray. If you’re collecting up bonus gigs and appearances these are all pretty cool things. There were other acts he produced – including Jonathan Richman, Hole and No Doubt.
But what matters most is that work with The Cars. Tremendous work. Some of the best pop singles of the 1970s and 1980s.
And yes there was a reformation and various new reunion/comeback albums and some of those were even quite good too – Ocasek wasn’t much interested in the reunions. But he didn’t block the band members from carrying on without him. He had other work to pursue. I always admired that about him too. But go revisit The Cars’ very best work. It’s sublime.
R.I.P. Ric Ocasek