It is with a heavy heart we publish here at mxdwn that Ric Ocasek, the frontman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group the Cars, has passed away today at the age of 75. The founder of the iconic power-pop band was found unresponsive in bed by the New York City Police Department earlier today according to Pitchfork. The singer-songwriter was pronounced dead at the scene, leaving behind a respected legacy and a void too difficult to fill in the music world. It was in 1976 that Ocasek, along with friend and Cars bassist Benjamin Orr, founded the group that would go on to champion power pop’s resurgence in the late ’70s and early ’80s, alongside groups like Cheap Trick they brought the tough-pretty sound to life again. With major hits like 1978’s “Just What I Needed” and 1984’s “Drive” forever etched in rock music’s lore, Boston’s the Cars cemented their place among the greats.
The Cars’ last album titled Move Like This was released in 2011; the band remained active for over 40 years. Ocasek released a few solo albums throughout his career such as 1986’s This Side of Paradise and 2005’s Nexterday; the singer-songwriter’s sincere and warm vocal delivery was ever-present in all of his work. Ocasek was a personality far beyond the music and was never shy about expressing himself: Ocasek made regular visits on shows like “The Colbert Report” and had roles in films like 1988’s Hairspray to name a few appearances. The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 and will forever be cited as an influence and inspiration for many in music and beyond; Ric Ocasek may rest in peace knowing he has left the world a lasting legacy. We are streaming “Drive” via YouTube below.