Friday Nite Retro
ARE YOU READY FOR THE WEEKEND, LEFT IN ABOITERS!??? Eh? Oh, sorry about that! I had these following clips playing pretty damned loud (Like they're MEANT TO BE!) and didn't realize that I was yelling at you! Let's see if they get you fired up as well. . .
Tonight's featured artist is a group from Boston who were at the forefront in mixing 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synth-oriented pop that would take off in the early 1980s. Fronted by Ric Ocasek,and backed by bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson, they were. . .THE CARS!
Most of their singles included an Elliot Easton guitar solo, with the sound filled out by Greg Hawkes's synthesizers and the harmonies of Easton, Robinson, and Hawkes. Lead vocals were split, with Ric Ocasek taking about 60% and Benjamin Orr taking the remaining 40%. While Ocasek was the sole lyricist and main songwriter for the band, Orr would act as frontman in live appearances.
After a long period of local work, the band signed to Elektra Records in 1977. Their demo version of "Just What I Needed" would turn out to be the first single from the band’s debut album, The Cars, released in 1978 and reaching #3 on the Billboard Pop album chart. "My Best Friend’s Girl" and "Good Times Roll" soon followed, charting in the Billboard Top 40.
Just What I Needed
My Best Friend's Girl (Harry Potter video, but real audio - close yer eyes!)
Let the Good Times Roll (Another cheesy video - enjoy the audio)
Following the lead of Roxy Music, the band commissioned famed Playboy artist Alberto Vargas to design the sexy illustration for the cover of their second album, Candy-O, released in 1979. Hits from that album included "Let’s Go" and "It’s All I Can Do", both Top 40 hits.
A more experimental album, Panorama, was released in 1980, charting only one Top 40 hit with "Touch and Go". Rolling Stone described the album as "Ocasek's art record, and not a very good one at all".
Touch and Go
In 1981, the Cars bought their own studio in Boston, Synchro Sound. The only Cars album recorded there was Shake It Up, an album that was recorded in happier times. It was their first album to score a Top 10 hit with the title track, and had another Top 40 hit in "Since You’re Gone".
Shake it Up
Since You're Gone
After a short breakup, the Cars reunited and released their most successful album, Heartbeat City, in 1984. The first single, "You Might Think", helped the Cars win Video of the Year at the first MTV Video Music Awards. Other hit singles from the album included "Magic", "Hello Again", and "Why Can’t I Have You". Their most successful single, "Drive", gained particular notability when it was used in a video of the Ethiopian famine prepared by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and introduced by David Bowie at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London.
You Might Think
After the resulting period of superstardom and another hit single, "Tonight She Comes", from their Greatest Hits, the Cars took time off again to pursue solo projects.
Tonight She Comes
In 1987, the Cars released their last album, Door to Door, but it failed to approach the success of their previous albums. They announced the group's breakup in February 1988. From Door to Door:
You are the Girl
Ocasek continues to perform as a solo artist, having released over seven studio albums. David Robinson has retired from music and spends most of his time with his restaurant. Benjamin Orr died of pancreatic cancer on October 3, 2000. In 2005, Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes combined their talents with Todd Rundgren, Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Utopia), and Kasim Sulton (Utopia, Meat Loaf) in a revamped lineup, The New Cars, to perform classic Cars songs along with selections from Rundgren's solo work and some new original material.
From Benjamin Orr's mid-eighties solo effort, the hit, Stay the Night:
And a couple of Rick Ocasek's solo songs, Something to Grab For and Emotion in Motion:
Something to Grab For
Emotion in Motion
And that's a wrap for this evenings edition of FNR - I hope you had a great time, and we'll see you next week!