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RIC OCASEK,
1944-2019

Ric Ocasek, the frontman, guitarist/singer and chief songwriter of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Cars, was found dead in his New York townhouse on Sunday. He was 75.

The NYPD confirmed the death to local media.

Fans, as has become the custom, are celebrating the late musician by grabbing his music online; The Cars' Complete Greatest Hits (Elektra) has flown to #1 at iTunes.

Ocasek founded The Cars with Ben Orr, having met each other in Cleveland in the mid-1960s and performing together in the band ID Nirvana and, after moving to Boston, Milkwood.  After meeting guitarist Elliot Easton, they formed the band Cap’n Swing; with drummer David Robinson, they became The Cars in 1973.

The band, which forged a unique combination of guitars and synthesizer-driven rock, developed a strong following in New England and before signing a record deal, their “Just What I Needed” was getting airplay on Boston radio stations in 1977. Elektra signed the band and their debut album would be a multi-million seller and yield the Ocasek-penned singles “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll.” They had their first Top 20 single in 1979 with “Let’s Go.”

“You Might Think,” which Ocaseck wrote and sang lead on, led the hit parade for the their most successful album, 1984’s Heartbreak City, which had five Top 40 singles. The track was named Video of the Year at the first MTV VMAs.

In 1982, Ocasek released the first of his seven solo albums, Beatitude, and followed it up four years later with This Side of Paradise. After The Cars broke up in 1987, Ocasek stayed away from music until 1990 when he released Fireball Zone. He went on only one solo tour, in 1997 after the release of Troubilizing, and last released an album in 2005.

Ocasek was also a producer, working with Weezer, No Doubt, Nada Surf, Jonathan Richman, The Cribs and others. Elektra hired him as an SVP of A&R in 2003 though he lasted less than a year in the job.

Ocasek, who disliked touring, last went on the road with The Cars in 2011 after the release of Move Like This  and his last performance with the group was at last year’s induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

  

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