How many people have heard of The Cars? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Quite honestly, their unique style and sound was unlike anything I ever heard before growing up.
I look at what Ric Ocasek, the gone too soon but never forgotten Benjamin Orr, Elliot Easton, David Robinson and Greg Hawkes accomplished and think it’s some of the best music of the late 70’s and 80’s ever produced. What I really love about them is their music was different than anyone else. It had a poppy combination of new wave and rock intertwined. They also had both Ocasek and Orr splitting time as lead singers. What other group would do that?
The thing that sticks out for me is when Ocasek decided to let Orr sing their most popular hit, “Drive,” it showed just how smart and uncanny he was. He knew he wasn’t always the best to be the lead vocalist. I guess it depended on the song and what delivery and sound they were going for. They both were great.
When you listen to any Cars song, they all go together. They have a unique style which is distinct kind of like Tears For Fears, The Cure or Depeche Mode. Three other 80’s acts I loved. Somewhat appropriately, none of them are in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. Or as my Dad refers to it:
“The Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Shame.”
They recently announced the Class of 2017. Yes finally made it and Tupac Shakur did as expected. So did Journey, who even though I like their stuff, I don’t think they’re better than any of the aforementioned 80’s bands who had more staying power. Particularly The Cure and Depeche Mode. Electric Light Orchestra also got in as did Joan Baez. Big 90’s act Pearl Jam is the big headliner. They are great and their music still stands like other big 90’s bands who went in before them. Though I can’t stand Eddie Vedder even though his Cubs Take Me Out To The Ballgame was pretty kick ass during the World Series.
The idea that The Cars aren’t in is ridiculous. They had more talent than anyone. How many hit songs did they produce? “Just What I Needed” is great. Their videos were to die for too with a cartoon feel featuring Ocasek’s model wife Pavlina Porizkova. She was featured in so many videos. Wow. She was a stunner.
“You Might Think” won Video of the Year in 1984. In it, Ocasek plays a bumble bee that invades Porizkova throughout. It’s one of those classics that’ll make you smile and laugh. That’s one of the great qualities The Cars had. They didn’t take themselves too seriously. Their music was amazing and the videos were perfect for Music Television which became a phenomenon when it debuted. Too bad MTV hardly shows any videos and only cares about its silly awards show that really sold out. I can’t even remember the last time it was relevant. Yet I still get sucked into watching. I don’t know why. My brother won’t ever give it the time of day.
Our video feature was their last hurrah. It’s a single released in 1987 called “You Are The Girl.” I can recall listening to it on my Walkman. Remember those things? Yeah. They were pretty cool too before I-Pods and I-Phones. Back in the days when cassettes were huge and vinyl was still a thing. If I did come into any money, aside from getting my own place, I would invest in a record player and buy vinyl. Records don’t get enough play.
“You Are The Girl” is another one of those random whacked out Cars videos that leaves you thinking, “What the hell am I watching.” But halfway through it, you can’t help but laugh at the creativity. They’re in outer space and dressed as astronauts who meet girls from another planet. There’s a part that’s basically sexual but it’s so hilarious that you can’t take it seriously. It just creates laughter.
The song is rather catchy. When it comes down to it, this is who they are. The Cars music always had that cool sound. I would hear this song in middle school thinking of my sixth grade crush in science out of all things. Kinda poetic considering the video and time.
But seriously. Listen to almost anything Cars from their first two albums and you’ll agree they belong in the Hall. Particularly Candy-O which doesn’t get as much air play. There’s not a bad song on it. I can’t think of too many Cars tracks I disliked. It all has to do with the way they played and delivered each song. One day, they’ll get in. It won’t be soon enough to suit me.