The Cars

When I was kid, real young, about four or five years old for a couple summers my family spent a lot of time partying on a river near our home. At the time the area was pretty desolate pretty much anything went when we were up there. My older brothers were about 18 years old and used to do all sorts of crazy things, sinking canoes, setting up rope swings, driving their cars in the woods, all the while being surrounded by plenty of friends, alcohol and recreational drugs. Of course due to my age I didn’t play any part in the chaos and debauchery, my parents sheltered me from that but I did observe these things from a distance with a keen interest. Perhaps it wasn’t the specific activities that enthralled me but it was the carefree nature they had towards all of these things. They seemed to make everything fun and adventurous. Not a worry was to be had, even if someone had to go to the hospital they’d show concern on the way there but usually were laughing on the way back. This was all going on when The Cars were at their height of popularity and practically being looped on the radio. As a result I can’t help but think of those days when I listen to The Cars, those were happy days.
The Cars were like totally rad dudes man, like wow.
The Cars are perhaps one of the most successful bands to come out of the New Wave era. A comprehensive greatest hits collection of theirs will fill up two compact disks, that’s a lot of hit singles. One of the reasons they achieved such fame, besides good song writing, was their ability to meld a primarily rock sound with elements of new wave and what was considered punk at the time. This hybrid music was accessible to about as wide an audience as any band could get and their sales showed it. One of my favorite things about them is their use of the synthesizer. It’s not abused, but just the right amount to keep the tracks interesting. Tasteful synth is a wonderful thing.

The Cars were founded around 1975 in Boston, Massachusetts. The band had a steady lineup since it’s inception, Ric Ocasek, Benjamin Orr, Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton and David Robinson with the primary contributors being Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr. Ric and Benjamin had a relationship when they lived in Columbus, Ohio prior to moving to Massachusetts. The band existed for about 13 years, breaking up in 1988. In that thirteen years they put out six full length albums, a pretty modest amount for that much time invested. This was partly due to the individual members putting out their own solo records in between Cars releases. While this may have been great ego strokes for the members themselves it didn’t really benefit the fans too much as nothing really came of their solo albums. At this point I’m gonna pull my cop-out again and say I don’t actually own any of The Cars albums. I have a two disk anthology that Rhino put out in 1995. It’s a great collection but I think I’m gonna checkout some of their albums too. The first one and Candy-O look pretty cool.

1) The Cars [1978]
2) Candy-O [1979]
3) Panorama [1980]
4) Shake It Up [1981]
5) Heartbeat City [1984]
6) Door to Door [1987]

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