Cars and Money: Ric Ocasek and Eddie

a brash new wave sound

ric ocasekSome of the comments I read when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting was taking place in the autumn of 2017 puzzled me. There was a loud contingent that seemed to think that The Cars were not worthy. Oh, they had their hits, but they lacked that je ne sais quoi. Owning three or four of their albums, I seriously disagreed.

They did well in the fan voting and was inducted in 2018. The Rock Hall folks wrote: “Ric Ocasek’s hook-savvy songwriting and stylish, modern vocals for The Cars fused garage punk, pop, and Avant-rock to create a brash new wave sound that sparked a decade of rock classics. His later work as a producer drew on his innovative spirit and endeared him to new generations of musicians and fans.”

After Ocasek, lead singer and principal songwriter of the group died in September 2019, my friend Steve Bissette linked to a 1980 Rolling Stone interview. “The Cars Take on Their Critics – ‘You can’t be loved by everybody. I know that, and I’ve really come to accept it. That denial of love, in fact, eases my mind,’ says Ric Ocasek.” That seems to have been a very useful attitude to develop.


A scene from Hairspray

Listen to:

Just What I Needed, #27 in 1978
Drive, #3 for three weeks in 12984
Let’s Go, #14 in 1979
You Might Think, #7 in 1984
Touch and Go, 37 in 1980

Shake It Up, #4 in 1982
Good Times Roll, #41 in 1979
My Best Friend’s Girl, #35 in 1978
Since You’re Gone, #41 in 1982
It’s All I Can Do, #41 in 1979
Three songs that went to #41? That’s just weird.

Whereas I was only familiar with Edward Mohoney, who became Eddie Money, from his radio hits. He too passed in September 2019.

Listen to:

Baby Hold On, #11 in 1978
Two Tickets To Paradise, #22 in 1978
Take Me Home Tonight, with Ronnie Spector, #4 in 1986
Coverville 1279: Tributes for Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek and Springsteen Mini-Cover Story

Chart action per the Billboard Top Pop Singles charts

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