The Cars’ Co-Founder Ric Ocasek Kept it Going ’Til the Sun Fell Down

The legendary singer-songwriter and Cars frontman has left us. 

Over the weekend, songwriter/guitarist/lead singer for The Cars, Ric Ocasek, was found dead in his Manhattan townhouse at the age of seventy-five. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame just last year. It was a tough weekend for ’70s/’80s rock giants, as Eddie Money also passed away on Friday. 

Ocasek wrote pop songs that you never got sick of hearing at the grocery store because they were so infectious, full of pomp and vigor and joy. Although the band released only seven albums total, from 1978 to 2011, the radio singles “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up,” “You Might Think,” and “Drive” were both enormous hits then and ubiquitous earworms now, still spun at every single bat mitzvah you’ll ever attend. Ocasek wrote all of them. He also went on to release seven solo albums after The Cars disbanded, from 1982 through 2005, and produced seminal albums by Weezer, Bad Brains, and Suicide, among others. 

When The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, Brandon Flowers of The Killers described them succinctly, perfectly: “a slick machine with a 340 V8 under the hood that ran on synergy, experimentation and a redefined cool. They had it all: the looks, the hooks, Beat romance lyrics, killer choruses.”

Ocasek’s voice—part deadpan, part droll sex appeal—is irreplaceable (just listen to how he sings “you kept it going ’til the sun fell down…you kept it…going” on “You Might Think”).

Everyone from The Killers to Weezer to Beck have paid tribute to Ocasek on social media. RIP to a real one.  

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