Saturday, March 23, 2024

Auto American: Ric Ocasek 80


The Cars - Moving In Stereo

I'm not having a good day but I have to get this up.

For today would have been the 80th birthday of the mastermind of one of our age's most beloved groups, and I can't miss that, can I?

When their first record came out, I was in the 7th grade, and right away they were my best pal's favorite band and he was drawing their logo all over his notebook. And mine.

That first LP of theirs is still a de facto Greatest Hits record now, 45 years on.
It's only in researching this post that I came to know that 100% of their material was written by our b'day hero.

Which is really something when you think about bands and the usual ego battles amongst their members.

That he had the prescience to realize that fully half of the songs -- including ones that would become huge, timeless hits -- were better sung by the bass player, who indeed had a very distinctive voice and way of singing, says a lot about him.

In interviews I've heard him describe what he was trying to do with his music, and how he felt that up to 1977 everything that had happened in music in the last few years had been a result of the iconic 1960s sounds, and how he wanted to break from that influence and attitude.

Which itself is sorta ironic, given that these guys were doing their level best to emulate the vibes of The Kinks and other supermelodic Sixties British bands, right down to the very English way they sing.

It's funny, because parallel to this post I've been trying to do one on Nick Lowe, who is 75 tomorrow and as British as he is, sounds like he wants you to think he's from Chicago or somewhere way more American. Be it ever thus... I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the pond.
Anyway Ric Ocasek -- the late and principal driver of The Cars -- was born on this day in 1944, so let's let the good times roll with a couple of pre-broadcast shows that depict them at the peak of their mileage efficiency.
The Cars
The Summit
Houston, Texas USA

01 Hello Again
02 It's Not the Night
03 Touch and Go
04 Candy-O
06 Moving In Stereo
07 Just What I Needed
08 A Dream Away
09 Cruiser
10 Good Times Roll
11 Drive
12 You Might Think
13 My Best Friend's Girl
14 Magic
15 Let's Go
16 Heartbeat City
17 You're All I've Got Tonight
18 Shake It Up (bonus track @ US Festival, San Bernadino CA 9.4.1982)

Total time: 1:16:49

Ric Ocasek - guitar & vocals
Benjamin Orr - bass & vocals
Greg Hawkes - keyboards & vocals
Elliot Easton - guitar & vocals
David Robinson - drums

Westwood One Superstar Concert Series pre-FM LPs
slightly denoised, commercials removed, and remastered by EN, March 2024
Track 18 is from the 2006 Warner Music Vision DVD "The Cars Unlocked," remastered to stereo from 5.1 Surround by EN, March 2024
579 MB FLAC/direct link

But wait!!!! I hear you protest. He said a couple of shows and that's just one!!!!! He's cheating us again!!!!!

Well, settle yourselves, because the show I did on its anniversary in 2019 has since surfaced from a sweet and superior source, so I went back and re-did it and now it sounds like an official live record, perhaps better. And if you click right here, you'll be taken to the new version's page.

See what you get when you don't go greedily leaping for the clitoris right away, and instead read my drivel all the way through? Why, whole record collections have happened when people did that.

Anyway I will try to do this Nick Lowe thing in a week for its anniversary, because it needs work if it's gonna be fully cruel to be kind. But I would be a broken down wreck if I didn't tribute Ric Ocasek for his architecture of one of history's greatest bands, on his big 8-0. So now it's Saturday night... after the good times roll, who's gonna drive you home tonight?--J.

3.23.1944 - 9.19.2019
let the good times roll
let them turn you around