Some time ago I started work on remixing every track from The Cars debut LP "The Cars". I was just about finished when I got the sad news that Ric Ocasek passed away on September 15, 2019. Benjamin Orr had already left this earth on October 3, 2000. I still remember the buzz I felt when I first heard "My Best Friend's Girlfriend" on the radio and their 8 Track tape never left the in dash car deck except for Lynyrd Skynyrd in mid 1978. Ric Ocasek (née Richard Theodore Otcasek) and Benjamin Orr met in 1965 Cleveland, Ohio in 1965 and then reconnected with him in 1968 forming a band called ID Nirvana and played clubs around Ohio State University and then moved to Boston during the 70's changing their name to Milkwood. They recorded one album in the folk vein of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young that had keyboardist Greg Hawkes as a session player. Again transforming, they renamed the band Richard & The Rabbits but Orr and Ocasek had an acoustic duo gig on the side. Elliot Easton joined the band now named Cap' Swing where drummer David Robinson was also asked to join the band. Hawkes officially joined the band in 1976 and they were set for stardom choosing a new name, The Cars. By this time they were located in Boston and they distinguished themselves from their rock and roll contemporaries by leading the New Wave deluge with a guitar oriented rock seasoned with synths that was the blueprint for the entire New Wave movement. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described the Cars' musical style: "they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend."
Their classic LP sold six million copies and stayed on the album charts for 139 weeks, earning themselves the Best New Artist award in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers Poll. The singles "Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girlfirend" and "Good Times Roll" drove the sales of their debut to 23 million units reached in 2001. I was overjoyed to find the music tracks from that album and had been working on a remix project and was three songs into it when the sad news of Ric Ocasek's death reached me and it drove me to complete the album of remixes which I did on September 23, 2019. More than forty years after their debut, their songs still can fill a dance floor. The critics are in agreement that the Cars helped propel the New Wave sound on radio into commercial appeal that opened the doors for bands like The Knack who came around in 1979. I hope that these remixes meet with your approval. I am in awe of their musical prowess and have opened up the mixes to display their talents. Orr and Ocasek's vocals sent chills up and down my spine and the musicmanship of Easton, Hawkes and Robinson is apparent in the crisp minimalist music tracks that distilled a sound and made it as fine and smooth as the best whiskey you ever had, smooth and warming with a bite that leaves you wanting more. The album is cohesive where the pulse quickens and slows down like the best car rides, never missing a beat. When it's over, I just want to do it again....so the needle goes back to Track one, side one for another ride.