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Ric Ocasek, Lead Singer Of The Cars, Dies At 75
Ric Ocasek, lead singer and guitarist of the Cars, has died. With the Cars, Ocasek created a new sound at the intersection of rock, pop and new wave that helped define the late '70s and early '80s, and as a producer in the '90s, he helped shape the sound of a generation. Ocasek was found unresponsive in his apartment on Sept. 15 in New York City and pronounced dead on the scene. He was 75.
Born March 23, 1949 in Baltimore, Md., Ocasek began playing guitar and writing songs at age 10. After leaving school, he moved to Cleveleand, Ohio, where he met bassist/vocalist Ben Orr. The duo played music together for serveral years and relocated several times before landing in Boston and ultimately forming the Cars in 1976.
It didn't take long for the Cars to build up speed, as their 1977 demo for "Just What I Needed" landed them on the radio and in a deal with Elektra to release their self-titled debut album in 1978. The song became a hit single, along with "Good Times Roll" and "My Best Friend's Girl," and the band was nominated for Best New Artist at the 21st GRAMMY Awards, their first of six career nominations.
The Cars followed their hit debut with 1979's Candy-O, 1980's Panorama and 1981's Shake It Up, whose title track became the band's first Top 10 single.
In 1982, Ocasek released his first solo album, Beatitude, and two years later the Cars returned with the 1984 release of Heartbeat City, which climbed to No. 3 on the album charts on the strenght of singles "You Might Think," "Drive" and "Hello Again." The Cars broke up in 1988 after releasing Door To Door the previous year.
The Cars reunited in 2010 without Orr, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2000, and released Move Like This in 2011. In April 2018, The Cars were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
The weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday. We will miss him forever, & will forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him. Rest in Peace & rock on Ric, we love you. #RIPRicOcasek #karlscorner pic.twitter.com/JcTXevr6V8
— weezer (@Weezer) September 16, 2019
Ocasek's contribution to popular music will continue to permeate long after he is gone. A sonic architect of the highest order, his legacy will live on in the urgent yet timeless music he made.