Top Ten Memories for The Cars Songs (RIP Ric Ocasek)

Hello readers –

Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the rock band The Cars, died Sunday at the age of 75.

This post is dedicated to Ric – and to the band. Condolences to his friends and family.

The Cars Tribute Post

#1) Here is one of my favorite songs from The Cars. Hard to pick one, but this song, It’s All I can Do,” has layers for me:

2) Clapping part in “My Best Friend’s Girl”

The song “My Best Friend’s Girl” (here) reminds me of high school friends (like Shannon) 

3) An Ex-boyfriend comes to mind with The Cars

4) The “Moving in Stereo” song has been parodied many times and most recently made it into season 3 of Stranger Things (which I have yet to watch).

5) The song “Magic” will always bring me back to the sweet summer of 1984. When I was so young, but learning about life and friendship. The opening line to Magic, “Summer, turns me upside down – summer, summer….” – well it puts me right there with the 1980’s lace-ruffled trim cotton socks and crisp white sneakers.

6) The song “Just What I Needed” connects to family laughs

When I was pregnant with Son2, it was SUCH welcome news. 

Another way that the Son2 was needed –  connects to the way he soothed my MIL. She had gone through a nasty divorce and a new grandbaby was able to pierce the darkness. 

Okay – so the only part of the “Just What I Needed” song that fits my family memory is the chorus – let’s not make it weird – hahahah. –

son 1 and son 2 at Long Beach
Son 2 and Son 1 (BOTH were just what I needed..)

7)Remember being at a party, late 80’s, when “Let’s Go” (here) played –  people would sing along as the drum beat rolled into “When she says…” – and then the singing would pickup and become group harmony as we all chimed in: “Let’s go 
I like the nightlife, baby”
She says, “I like the nightlife, baby”
She says, “Let’s go”

Also, you know how so many songs have lyrics that we mess up – two come to mind from the “Let’s Go” song:

“She’s got wonderful eyes and a risque mouth” – sang it as “whiskey mouth” 

“She’s winding them down on her clock machine” sang it as “pac man sheen” 


8) No specific memory for “Let the Good Times Roll” (here) but it is a jam! 

These two Cars’ fans help the good times roll:

  • Steve Peake at Liveabout (here) has a nice Cars post featuring 1980’s albums –
  • Musictherapia  (here) has CD and album art. 


9) Only recently did I appreciate the song “Drive”

“Drive” (here and below) was a tune I never cared for when it was played 500 times a day on the radio.

However, one day – think it was 2012 -Drive was playing and the acoustics were so tight in the courtyard of a water park – and I felt the simple strummin’, crisp vocals, and bit of angst in the mood that was woven into  the song. Maybe even had some hippocampus connections firing up.


Notes for Drive (which was the band’s highest-charting single):

  • The band’s bass player, Ben Orr, sang lead vocals on this song (the bassist also sang lead on “Just What I Needed” and “Let’s Go”) I guess Orr died from cancer in 2000. 
  • Ric met his wife, supermodel Paulina, while filming the song Drive.  Paulina was a Czechoslovakian model and she and Ric were married for 28 years (separated in 2018). I am sure she is torn up with this loss. Thoughts and prayers to her especially. 

10) Bye Bye Love

The “Bye Bye Love” song seems a fitting close for the passing of this key bandmember.

I just played the song and it makes me laugh to think that I know every single word to so many old songs… like…. I whipped out this part: 

“Substitution, mass confusion
Clouds inside your head
Were fogging all my energies
Until you visited
With your eyes of porcelain and of blue
Could shock me into sense
You think you’re so illustrious
You call yourself intense”

Goodbye Ric Ocasek

– and thanks for the music. 

What about you?

Any memories connected to The Cars songs?

Do you have a top song?

Or do you NOT even know this band?









60 thoughts on “Top Ten Memories for The Cars Songs (RIP Ric Ocasek)

    1. hahah = laughing pretty good with that = oh my goodness did you grab something with the SIX speakers – not like the subwoofers that would come –
      and do you recall the “shuttle radios” – I had an Alpine one – lol

      Liked by 1 person

  1. They were pretty pop, but they were also on the edge of the New Wave scene. That whole minimalist thing, after the intense, over the top 70s rock and all of the prog stuff, it’s were they fit. Sometimes 😉 Strangely, for years I thought Drive was OMD ( very much a new Wave group!) no The Cars. But then again, when i heard Gary Numan (the king of synth pop) doing the song Cars for the first time, I thought it was the group The Cars (After I started listening to Gary, I changed my mind- nothing alike, but that song was so much more pop than his earlier work)… Anyway, great post. RIP Ric Ocasek

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I was hoping you would chime in Trent – and sometimes think or our past comment sharing when Bowie comes on
      and that was interesting to see the context of how The Cars fit coming into the music scene – I remember being very young and just know their music – and recall seeing them on the cover of Cream magazine – (having older brothers meant music education – ha)
      and what does OMD mean???

      OMD: Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement (French) OMD: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (UK band; also seen as OMITD) OMD: One More Day: OMD: Optical Master Disk: OMD: Optical Magnetic Disk: OMD: Ozark Mountain Daredevils (band) OMD: On-line Medical Dictionary: OMD: Office of Mobile Design (Jennifer Siegal company) OMD: Oriental Medicine Doctor:

      Liked by 2 people

      1. OMD: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – an elctro-pop/new wave band in the late 70s and eary-80s. I first heard The Cars (and the song Cars…) on the radio on the bus on the way to junior high school.

        Recently I read something about the term “New Wave” – in the mid to late 70s there were a lot of really small genre around, like the post-punk, the elctro-pop, the CBGBs scene (B52s, Talking Heads, Blondie, etc that played the club CBGBs), etc. Dozens of these splinter genre that had zero to do with each other except that they were new. The term New Wave was first used to describe the British version of these bands (each wave of British Bands to come across to the US had a name in journalism back then) but later was used for all of the new bands, including US bands, as long as they weren’t part of the already established genre, like disco, heavy metal, hard rock, pop, prog, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A few years ago I started to spend more time listening to the music of this period again. Because of the Internet and such, I quickly discovered the names of all the bands that I loved but never knew who they were 😉 And I did a little research, mostly Wikipedia, into the origins. I listen to a huge mix of music, but the New Wave, from about 77 to 85, still has a special place in my musical heart (not as special as Pink Floyd, of course 😉 ) And, of course, in that I include The Cars, though they weren’t at the top of my list.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for sharing that and how awesome to have had that music research –
        And here is a Cars song I added to a playlist this week ((but I have to monitor how much secular music I listen to because it can start to weigh me down – hard to explain – but do monitor it ))
        Here is one more time

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Yvette and Trent,

      I very much enjoyed your conversation here. Of the several songs included here, I like “BYE BYE LOVE” (1978) the best, probably because it is the least repetitive and has the most interesting chord progressions. Somehow, it reminds me of Kenny Loggins.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. oh wow – you lucky duck to have seen them in 79 – or anytime really –
      and we jammed to Candy-o earlier (and a few songs from that album) and my hubs remembered when Ric Ocasek was singing on The Colbert Report – think it was 07ish – and we were like “wow – he is still around” – well he had a good run and I heard he was a nice man

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I spent much of the time when this music came out as an engineering student, the music is familiar but I never knew the name of the group, or even that the songs came from the same group. It was fun to hear the songs again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. thank you so much for chiming in Xingfumomma
      that is how it is for so many songs for me – I know them – they are part of the fabric of my memories – but I might not always know the names or the band (although many times I know the year of a song – or I used to….)


  3. Such sad news! My cousin used to work at a boutique in Georgetown, Washington DC called Commander Salamander. Ric Ocasek and his girlfriend, a famous fashion model whose name now escapes me, showed up. He says that they were very down-to-Earth, friendly and eager for his assistance in getting Mr. Ocasek into some new clothes and more importantly, new shoes. In contrast to his cool, reserved onstage persona, the real life Mr. Ocasek turned out to be just a nice and unassuming guy. They don’t make them like that anymore. As for the music, all I can say is, “Let the good times roll!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Russell – thanks for chiming in!
      and I heard Ric and his wife were down to earth – and cool – so your cousin’s experience adds to that 🙂

      and here is the quick scoop I had on his wife – the supermodel – Paulina Porizkova – went by the single first name – and I think she was the face of Estee Lauder

      in #9 in this post – had this:

      “Ric met his wife, supermodel Paulina, while filming the song Drive. Paulina was a Czechoslovakian model and she and Ric were married for 28 years (separated in 2018). I am sure she is torn up with this loss. Thoughts and prayers to her especially.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, the memories and feelings music can trigger… A wonderful tribute, Yvette! Thank you for sharing those beautiful moments and songs with all of us (it was nice to listen to “Drive” again, I haven’t heard it in so long…).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Ana – thanks for chiming in – and I almost passed over the idea with this post for the cars – but the reason I did it was because I did not make a Tom Petty post when I had the idea and later sorta regretted it –
      Plus – the cars might not be music I listen to now in life –
      But as you write to deeply and eloquently about the memories humans bring with them – the cars music was part of my past –

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, I’m glad you wrote the post after all (hopefully, so are you). As for the songs, like you said it’s not music you listen to every day, but it’s fun hearing some these blasts from the past once in a while, the throwback can be so pleasant sometimes.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Your post just took me on good times roll! So many memories from the songs in the ’80s! I loved the cars and driving around in the car to listen to them on the radio. Thank you for sharing. The photos of the kiddos at the beach and the heart-soothing moments with MIL are very touching!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for takin the time to read – and my MIL had her ex hubs do something very nasty to her – ugh! But she has a seeet hubby now and waited 15 years for J
      And imagining you cursing in the car jamming was in sync with memories this band conjures up…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The Cars were not my go to band back in the day, but that didn’t matter because they were stapled to countless moments. The eighties feels as if it was one big soundtrack, and Ric Ocasek presided over things in as big a way as any artist.

    And umm, that wouldn’t be a cigarette, would it?

    Wonderful tribute, Yvette.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh yeah, I know this band! Maybe not as well as some of my other favorites, but their song “Drive” (1984) meant a lot to me back when it came out. A lot of kaka poopoo was goin on in my life that year and that song helped me make it over a few hurdles. Nice tribute Prior.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Oh, and by the way, when we sometimes get confused when we hear “kiss this guy” instead of “kiss the sky” in Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower, and other such misinterpretations it’s known as a mondegreen.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I was telling someone else that I used to work for a family-owned business, a factory with two plants. The youngest brother (he was close to 30, I think) had a band that would practice in an empty storeroom after hours. I think the only song they knew was “Just What I Needed.” They did it pretty well, as I recall…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thanks for this Yvette. The Cars was A band that always seemed to just be there in my life. Without realising it, I know much more of their music than I would have thought. I’m sad to hear of Ric Ocasek’s death — another music legend gone.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Sorry about Ric Ocasek. Didn’t know him. I must confess most of the music of 80’s went by without my noticing. I was born in the 50’s so my references are different. (Tell me about Clapton…) 😉
    Still it is always a shame. Human life is too damn short, ain’t it?
    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for chiming in – the first part of the 1990s music feels a little like that for me – went by without me noticing (or caring) – and so I know what you mean!
      And human life can feel like that vapor –
      Also – Clapton is an artist I appreciate more now than before

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I once did a study for a music company. EMI. Focus groups. The participants started talking about vintage music. Moderator asked: ” from when?”. Oh, the 80’s. My clients had a fit. It was “their” music”!
        And Clapton… seen him in concert several times. He now looks like a CPA. 🙂 (Also have a Cream LP from ’67!)

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I remember the Cars, didn’t listen to their music alot and knew of Ric’s name more because of his marrage to Paulina and I remember when they married – how amazing it was 28 years ago … time is going by way too fast Yvette. I was surprised to hear they split.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I read they separated quietly last year. I was surprised at the time and I remember when he married her, The original account of his death was that he had a heart attack but then I read he was recovering from recent surgery and Paulina and his family were staying with him to take care of him. They didn’t mention the type of surgery though.

        Liked by 2 people

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