Remembering the Leader of the Band Known for Making New Wave Music Commercially Successful

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CNN reports:

“Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the new wave rock band The Cars, died Sunday in New York City, police said. He was 75.

“The New York Police Department received a call around 4 p.m. “for an unconscious male” at a townhouse on East 19th Street, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information told CNN.
“Ocasek, whose identity was confirmed by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Cars became hugely popular in the late 1970s and early 80s with hits including ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ and ‘Drive.’
The Cars were a mainstay of MTV in its early days. Their video for “Double Life” was the 21st video ever played on the new cable channel, according to VH1.
Ocasek married supermodel Paulina Porizkova after the two met while shooting the video for 1984’s ‘Drive.”‘The couple last year announced their separation. They had two children together.
He was known for his mop of black hair and black sunglasses, which featured in many of the band’s videos, including ‘You Might Think’ in 1984.
“Ocasek and The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.”

The Cars’ music has been described as “new wave and power pop, and is influenced by proto-punk, garage rock, and bubblegum pop. They have also used rockabilly in songs such as “My Best Friend’s Girl”. 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. They have also had hard rock-oriented songs including ‘You’re All I’ve Got Tonight’.”

For many who “came to age” in the 1970s and ’80s, the Cars were seen as an amazing rock group. But the critics see it as one of (if not the most) influential New Wave groups of all time. In fact, it has sold more albums than any group in that genre: “The Cars were named “Best New Artist” in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won “Video of the Year” for “You Might Think” at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. Their debut album, The Cars, sold six million copies and appeared on the Billboard 200 album chart for 139 weeks. As of 2001, the Cars had sold over 23 million albums in the United States.”

If one were to ask most fans of the band who the leader of the band was, most would say Ocasek. But Ocasek and the rest of the band believed that Benjamin Orr was the co-leader. The latter had a profound influence on the song development of the group and was the lead singer in roughly half of the group’s biggest hits.

Critics have often described The Cars as the band that mad New Wave commercially successful.
NBC News with Lester Holt announced that the cause of death was related to complications from a recent surgery. He suffered from both heart disease and emphysema.   

People announces the leader’s passing. 

Drive was one of the most commercially successful songs by The Cars:

Remembering some of the Cars’ Greatest Songs

Candy-O was overshadowed by later hits, but this song put the group on the map. It is one of those songs and videos that, when you watch it, you instantly recall the times it was made in and reflected:

My Best Friend’s Girl captures the unique vocals of Ocasek in a way few songs can:

And who doesn’t remember this:

This story was updated hours after the original report because of information that the cause of death was revealed. 

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