Ric Ocasek, iconic lead singer of The Cars, has died at age 75


Just when rock music fans were still reeling from news of singer Eddie Money’s death, there is more sad news. The New York Times and several other media outlets report that Ric Ocasek of The Cars has died in New York City. No details have been released about a possible cause of death.

Ric Ocasek and The Cars

As part of The Cars, Ocasek became known for his musicianship and mostly for his flexible and quirky vocals. His delivery was unique on such hits as “Moving In Stereo,” “It’s All Mixed Up,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” and several others.

The Cars were often categorized as American New Wave, or more frequently, just a rock ‘n’ roll band. Just last year, the band celebrated 40 years since the release of their self-titled debut album.

The Cars were at turns edgy and humorous. Their success in the 1980s showed more of the band’s humor with songs like “You Might Think.” That song’s video helped to play up the humor in the potentially serious theme of the song about unrequited love.

The sound of The Cars was hard-edged and kinetic. Songs like “Night Spots” highlighted Ocasek’s flexible register and the deep-toned, running mix of guitar and keyboards that gives Cars’  songs a kind of buoyancy.

Cars’ songs contain lyrics that served as poetry for a new age. Walking the line between surrealism and reality, they give the songs an identity beyond what could be called a formulaic rock song. Ocasek’s voice was the guide through a world of interesting people and scenes.

Unfortunately, Ocasek’s death is not the first loss endured by the band. Bassist Ben Orr passed away from cancer in 2000. Orr was also responsible for lead vocals on songs such as “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go” and “Drive.”

Ocasek was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Fans will mourn the loss of Ocasek, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most unique voices and personas.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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