Monday, September 16, 2019

Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Singer and guitarist Ric Ocasek of The Cars died in New York City on September 15 at the age of 75.

Rolling Stone reports New York Police Department officers responded to a 911 call at Ocasek’s home at 140 East 19th Street in Manhattan at approximately 3 p.m. ET.; officers discovered the musician unconscious and unresponsive and he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Ocasek “died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to a press release Monday from the medical examiner's office,” notes CNN. “There was a contributing condition of pulmonary emphysema. The manner of death was natural.”

The rocker was found by his third wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, whom he married after the two met while shooting the video for 1984's "Drive." Having separated from Ocasek last year, she posted on Instagram that he had been recuperating at home following surgery. Porizkova was at the home helping their children care for their father when she found him while bringing coffee: "I touched his cheek to rouse him. It was then I realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on."

Born in Baltimore, MD in 1944, Ocasek and his family moved to Cleveland, OH when he was a teenager; he teamed up with future bandmate Ben Orr in a series of bands in the region during the mid-60s before the pair relocated to Boston, MA.

Ocasek and Orr recorded and released an album, “How’s The Weather”, under the banner Milkwood in 1973; the set featured keyboardist Greg Hawkes, who would join the pair in their next band, Richard And The Rabbits, before Cap'n Swing, which included guitarist Elliot Easton.

The Cars lineup came together in 1976 with the addition of Hawkes and drummer David Robinson from local band The Modern Lovers.

The Cars broke onto the scene in 1978 with their self-titled debut; produced by Roy Thomas Baker and recorded in just two weeks, the album brought rock’s new wave into the mainstream with hits like “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll.”

“The Cars” sold more than a million in its first 6 months, placing the band on the Rolling Stone cover six months after its release with the headline, “Best New Group.” The album would go on to sell more than 6 million copies.

Led by the lead single, “Let’s Go”, 1979’s “Candy-O” was a US Top 5 smash, reaching sales of 4 million copies as new wave continued to impact the charts.

More hits and studio albums followed, including 1980’s “Panorama” and 1981’s “Shake It Up”, before MTV’s arrival and the band’s videos would help propel 1984’s “Heartbeat City” to the sales levels of their first two records. 1987’s “Door To Door” would be the last release in the Boston outfit’s original era before they disbanded in 1988 after selling more than 23 million albums in the US alone.

Orr died from pancreatic cancer in 2000; the surviving original members reunited in 2010 to record a new album, “Move Like This”, which was issued the following year and supported by a short tour.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018; the event featured the band’s final live performance.

Ocasek released seven solo albums throughout his career, starting with 1982’s “Beatitude” and ending with 2005’s “Nexterday.” As a producer, the rocker worked on projects by Weezer, Hole, Romeo Void and former Modern Lovers leader Jonathan Richman, among others.

See also:

VIDEO: The Cars perform at 2018 Rock Hall induction
The Cars stream Shake It Up demo
The Cars stream previously unreleased song from Shake It Up reissue
AUDIO: The Cars stream Drive demo from Heartbeat City expanded reissue
Search The Cars at hennemusic