The Cars “The Cars”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#481 in the Series) the debut album from The Cars

You’re a new band. You begin by putting pencil to paper as your first tracks take shape. Maybe you get a gig here and there.  You write a few more songs and then the gigs get more frequent and hopefully in a little bit better houses.   You think, maybe if things go well you’ll get noticed.  Heck, if things really go well, maybe a real label will give you a record deal!

That’s how it often rolls. I don’t know exactly if this was the scenario of Boston’s The Cars, but I’m guessing it wasn’t all that different.

So all that happens and you get that deal.  You hope and pray that radio and the general public like what you have done.

Early Cars Promo Pic

Now I ask, how could any band have even hoped for or expected anything like what would happen with this debut?  How does 139 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart sound? How does three hit songs sound and even more when you figure in the FM AOR rock stations. Of the nine songs on this album, at least six or seven became classics on the airwaves. I think it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most successful debuts of all time.  And that’s not even getting into topics like helping create the new-wave genre and its influence on acts to follow.

The three hit songs that charted were “Just What I Needed *which peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, “My Best Friends Girl,” #35 and “Good Times Roll,” #41.  I bet you thought they charted higher? I know I did.  I think this is one of those deals where they were more well-known as they years went on.  Once again, remember this was a debut.

It did better as an album, peaking at #18 on the Top 200 chart.

Other songs I know you know are”You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love” and “Moving in Stereo.”   Speaking of “Moving in Stereo,” you have to love director Any Heckering’s using it in a “famous scene” from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  How many people caught the ‘Moving In Stereo” meaning? If you did, you have as warped a mind as many other people I know! Let’s just say that they were definitely moving in stereo.

One last thing, bassist Benjamin Orr lost his battle to cancer in 2000.  When the band reformed this last year surviving members, Elliot Easton, David Robinson, Rick Ocasek and Greg Hawkes decided not to replace him. They pick up his vocals and bass in other parts.  Good for them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a band handle a situation in that way before.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs written by Ric Ocasek except where noted.

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Side one

  1. “Good Times Roll” – 3:44
  2. “My Best Friend’s Girl” – 3:44
  3. “Just What I Needed” – 3:44
  4. “I’m in Touch with Your World” – 3:31
  5. “Don’t Cha Stop” – 3:01

Side two

  1. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” – 4:13
  2. “Bye Bye Love” – 4:14
  3. “Moving in Stereo” (Greg Hawkes, Ocasek) – 4:41
  4. “All Mixed Up” – 4:14

Personnel

  • Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, lead
  • Elliot Easton – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Greg Hawkes – keyboards, percussion, saxophone, backing vocals
  • Benjamin Orr – bass, lead vocals
  • David Robinson – drums, percussion, electronic percussion, backing vocals

Links

Posted by Larry Carta


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