Classic Rock Remembers Ric Ocasek

Classic Rock Remembers Ric Ocasek
Ric Ocasek, legendary front man for The Cars, singer, songwriter and producer, passed away on September 15th, 2019.

Born Richard Otcasek on March 23, 1944, (although there has been some dispute over the actual year), in Baltimore, Maryland before moving with his family to Cleveland, Ohio as a teenager. After dropping out of college to pursue a music career, Ocasek met fellow musician Benjamin Orr. The two would perform in various bands throughout the Columbus, Ohio region before eventually moving east to Boston, Massachusetts.

Throughout the early 1970’s, the pair would continue to perform, and eventually added guitarist, Elliott Easton and drummer, David Robinson. In 1976, the line-up, along with keyboardist, Greg Hawkes, would become known as The Cars with Ocasek as the band’s lead singer and songwriter. Eventually signing with Elektra Records, the band’s self-titled debut album, “The Cars”, was released in June 1978.

With the success of their debut album and the hit singles, “Just What I Needed”, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll”, the band soon skyrocketed to fame. The band would reach the pinnacle of success with their fifth studio album, 1984’s “Heartbeat City” which featured the hit single, “You Might Think”. The song, and supporting video, would garner the Cars MTV’s Video of the Year award.

Ocasek released his first solo album, “Beatitude”, in 1982. After the Cars disbanded in February 1988, he would release his second and subsequent albums throughout the ‘90s’s. His solo album “Nexterday” was released in 2005.
Other than singing and songwriting, Ric Ocasek also developed a reputation as a music producer. Ocasek received producer’s credits on albums for Weezer, No Doubt, Hole, Bebe Buell and the Cribs.

Away from music, he wrote poetry, having released a book of poetry in 1993, and painted, his art having been shown in his “Teahead Scraps” art exhibit in Columbus, Ohio. He was also an occasional guest on TV shows and made a cameo appearance in the 1988 movie, “Hairspray”. In 2018, Ocasek was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Cars.

On September 15th, 2019, Ric Ocasek was found deceased due to natural causes at his New York residence.

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