01 July 2011

TGIF Rock-n-Roll Oldies: THE CARS - 1984/85

The Cars were a trailblazing pop band who's beat-and-guitar driven rock n roll added synthesizers in a way that created a foundation for the 80s New Wave scene that was to come...

The first album -1978's The Cars- was a smash hit for the Boston-based group that promptly went platinum. That debut has been lauded as a "genuine rock masterpiece" by allmusic, with songs such as "Just What I Needed" "Best Friend's Girl", 
"Let the Good Times Roll", and "Bye Bye Love".

After six albums and four Top Ten hits in the US, the band broke up in 1988. Sadly, singer/bassist Benjamin Orr -a close friend to fellow Cars founder Ric Ocasek- passed away far too young in 2000. Following that, Ocasek often said there would never be a Cars reunion, so by 2005 guitarist Elliott Easton and keyboard player Greg Hawkes instead hooked-up with Todd Rundgren and Kashim Sultan (fmr Meat Loaf/Rundgren's Utopia) to form a cleverly-named spin-off band -The New Cars- who toured with classic Cars and Rundgren tunes in addition to some new collaborative compositions.

But as overplayed as they were for so long, The Cars are still one of the few bands it's hard to tire of hearing, at least in my case. The epitome of power pop... what originality and fun!
If you're a rock fan that can somehow manage to be unhappy when The Cars are playing there's something seriously wrong with you.

Myself, I'll always hold them dear, as this band 
really made that first summer with my Camaro in '79... couldn't play them loud enough, or often enough.

The Cars also ruled MTV in that era, with hugely popular videos like "You Might Think I'm Crazy", which specifically won Video of the Year honors on the cable music channel.

Band leader Ric Ocasek -son of a NASA engineer- also appeared in Jon Waters' cult film Hairspray, has put out a number of solo albums, and today produces bands such as Weezer and No Doubt. He has been married to the ever-lovely Paulina Porizkova for over 20 years, who he met on the set while shooting the video for "Drive" in 1984, in which the supermodel starred. (clip below). 

But to the surprise of many, just last month a new Cars album
-the first in 24 years- was released. Seems that Mr Ocasek had a change of heart last year, and the surviving members began practicing and composing for a new album: Move Like This.
It's been met with a decent critical reception, if not commercially. I myself have only heard one track -Sad Song- really not bad at all, though- and real Cars all the way, right down to the hand claps. The band is touring again, too... dates -here-

Let the good times roll indeed- remember when bands actually had some sense of humor and sang fun songs about cool cars and beautiful women?  What a contrast to most of the caustic rubbish you hear today. Who needs angry pierced-n-stamped 'outcasts' like Pink or Eminem whining about their childhood and what victims they are? To hell with them, if I want to get depressed I'll listen to George Jones-

The Cars: Drive - 1984


Madhat said...

There is something about the bands of the 1980's that seems to be missing from most bands today. There are some that once in a while captures that 80's spark, but in general, they fall flat.

Reaganite Republican said...

Agreed- and no new movement at all, just a blend of things you've all seen before somewhere else

And certainly not rap, it's been around over thirty years and is way past it's shelf life imho

Otis P. Driftwood said...

Door To Door - I think it was their last album, I might be wrong - was an incredible piece of work.

Reaganite Republican said...

New album last month, Otis- linked above!

Amusing Bunni said...

Great blast from the past, RR. The Cars are very fun indeed.
Hard to be depressed when listening to them.

Have a wonderful Holiday weekend!

Matt said...

I agree with the comment about 80's music having something more. I would say they had a bit more originality. Stuff today seems so homogenized, digitized, and fake.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

I am old, that was one of my son's favorite groups.

Reaganite Republican said...

Next week I'll try to get some Andrews Sisters on here for you Odie!

lol- but seriously, I'm a fan, got their Best Hits CD, that's real American music there

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

RR, now that is cold ...

Anonymous said...

The Cars are the best, love that first video RR

Reaganite Republican said...

Wasn't kiddin about the Andrews Sisters... really do love 'em!

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