Personalities | The Cars | Eighties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1976–88)

Songwriter Ric Ocasek (vocals, guitar) joined original members Benjamin Orr (bass), Elliot Easton (guitar) and Greg Hawkes (keyboards) to form a powerful unit. They drove The Cars up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with their self-titled 1978 debut. The band cleverly mixed classic rock melody with a smattering of new wave edge. The deliciously catchy ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ from the first LP was a No. 3 hit in the UK. Follow-up collection Candy-O (1979) repeated the formula, but Panorama (1980) and Shake It Up (1981) were a little less immediate, the latter going for a more synth-oriented sound. 1984’s Heartbeat City was quintessential American AOR; radio-friendly, big tunes and polished production. The evocative ‘Drive’, the big single from the album, was used on a Live Aid documentary soundtrack on the Ethiopian famine. It went Top 5 in both the US and UK.

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
Personalities | Nick Cave | Eighties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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