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Cars

The Cars were an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. The band originated from Boston, Massachusetts, and were signed to Elektra Records in 1977.

The Cars were at the forefront in merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synth-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and which would flower in the early 1980s. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone described The Cars’ musical style by saying: “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.”

The band broke up in 1988, and Ocasek has always discouraged talk of a reunion since then, flatly telling one interviewer in 1997 “I’m saying never and you can count on that.” Bassist Benjamin Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren to form a spin-off band, The New Cars, which performed classic Cars and Rundgren songs alongside new material. The remaining members reunited in 2010 to record a new album, titled Move Like This, which was released May 10, 2011, and a tour to start on the same day.

History

Early years (1973–1975)

Before The Cars, the members of the band began coming together in several early forms. Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr met in Columbus, Ohio, where they began performing as a duo, covering rock and roll classics as well as performing their own material. After deciding that Boston would be a better place to break into the music business, Ocasek and Orr relocated there. It was there that they met Greg Hawkes, who had studied at the Berklee School of Music, and the three, along with lead guitarist Jas Goodkind, formed a folk band called Milkwood. They released an album titled How’s the Weather on the Paramount label in 1973 that failed to chart.

After Milkwood, Ocasek and Orr formed the group Richard and the Rabbits, whose name was suggested by Jonathan Richman. They were a local club band for a while. Soon after, Hawkes temporarily left Ocasek and Orr and joined up with groups including Orphan, a soft-rock band, and Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture, a musical comedy act in which Mull played a variety of instruments. Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr then performed as an acoustic duo called simply Ocasek and Orr at the Idler coffeehouse in Cambridge. Some of the songs they played became the underlying music in early Cars songs.

Later, Ocasek and Orr teamed up with future Cars guitarist Elliot Easton (who had also studied at Berklee) in the band Cap’n Swing. Cap’n Swing also featured drummer Kevin Robichaud and a jazzy bass player, which clashed with Ocasek’s more rock and roll leanings. Benjamin Orr acted as frontman, did not play an instrument, and sang the bulk of Cap’n Swing’s demos. Ocasek soon got rid of the bass player, the keyboardist, and the drummer and decided to form a band that better fit his style of writing. Kevin Robichaud was replaced by David Robinson. Robinson said that he should really have a regular job instead, and that the Cars would be his last band. Best known for his career with the Modern Lovers, Robinson had also played in DMZ and the Pop! It was Robinson who came up with the name “The Cars,” which led to automobile-related puns. Ocasek said of the name, “It’s so easy to spell; it doesn’t have a ‘z’ on the end; it’s real authentic. It’s pop art, in a sense.”

Discography

Studio Albums

1978 The Cars – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/the-cars-the-cars/

1979 Candy-O – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/cars-candy-o/

1980 Panorama – Coming soon 17/11/2017

Compilations

Greatest Hits – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/cars/cars-greatest-hits/

Unofficial Live Albums (Bootlegs)

Live at the Palladium 1978 – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/cars-live-at-the-palladium-1978/

Live at Brighton University 1979 – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/cars/cars-live-university-of-brighton-1979/

Live Tokyo 30/10/1980 – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/cars-live-tokyo-30102980/

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