I was sad to hear of Ric Ocasek’s passing today. The Cars were a band that I spend a lot of time listening to at a couple points in my life. In my mind, they will eternally be mixed with Tom Petty, The Squeeze, and the lesser known David & David as the music I would listen to on my tape deck while driving around and thinking about life, an activity I associate with my late teens and early twenties. Sometimes in my late thirties and early forties, I rediscovered them and they had a second renaissance on my playlist. I was driving then too, although that was mainly my extended commutes from Tucson to Phoenix for work. It is interesting how tastes change over the years, but somehow come back. I sometimes hear newer bands that remind me of The Cars style (Fountains of Wayne comes to mind) and I always welcome it.
It is interesting how music gets tied up with specific times and feelings. The Cars by the very nature of their name, I associate with driving. They are, of course, tied to the eighties and the MTV era as well. Thanks to Ric Ocasek’s marriage to Paulina Porizkova, there’s also that feeling that the nerdy guy sometimes gets the beautiful girl (this was much less of a trope in the eighties than it is now). But all of that is just the feeling on top. In the end it is the music that counts, and there are so many great songs. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight and Since You’re Gone come immediately to mind, and Drive is the ballad that defines the band.