15 Apr. 2018
Cleveland, UNITED STATES
Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1970s and 80s hook-heavy hitmakers The Cars, died September 15 at the age of 75. Ocasek, born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore in 1944, met bass player and future band mate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school. The pair joined with guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboard player Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson to form the Cars in mid-1970s Boston. Ocasek was the main songwriter, sang lead vocals on most songs and played rhythm guitar. The band's self-titled debut album, featuring the singles "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll," reached Number 18 on the Billboard album charts and put them on the leading edge of pop rock. The Cars scored their first top-20 single, "Let's Go," in 1979 and launched a succession of hits throughout the 1980s such as "Shake It Up" and "Drive," always identifiable through Ocasek's distinctive vocals.