The Cars is an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, drummer David Robinson and lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr. Orr died of pancreatic cancer in 2000. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts, and was signed to Elektra Records in 1977. The Cars were at the forefront in merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synth-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and which would flower in the early 1980s.
“Just What I Needed” was the first single from the band’s debut album, “The Cars,” released in 1978 and reaching #18 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. “My Best Friend's Girl” and “Good Times Roll” soon followed, all reaching the Top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The album would later be certified 6× platinum in the U.S.
The band commissioned famed Playboy artist Alberto Vargas to design the sexy illustration for the cover of their second album, “Candy-O,” released in 1979. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 4× platinum. Hits from that album included “Let's Go,” “It's All I Can Do” and “Dangerous Type.”
A more experimental album, “Panorama,” was released in 1980, charting only one Top 40 hit with “Touch and Go.” The album was certified platinum and peaked at 34 on the Billboard 200. Their album “Shake It Up,” released in 1981, was their first album to spawn a Top 10 single with the title track, and included another hit “Since You’re Gone.” It was certified 2× platinum and peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200.
The Cars released their most successful album, “Heartbeat City,” in 1984 which peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and would go on to be certified 4× platinum. The first single, “You Might Think,” reached #7 on the Hot 100 and was there first #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Other hit singles from the album included “Magic,” “Hello Again” and “Why Can’t I Have You.” Their most successful single, “Drive,” gained particular notability when it was used in a video of the Ethiopian famine prepared by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and introduced by David Bowie at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London .
After the resulting period of superstardom and another hit single, “Tonight She Comes,” a #7 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a #1 hit on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart (their last #1), from their 1985 album “Greatest Hits,” the Cars took time off to pursue solo projects.
In 1987, the Cars released their last album, “Door to Door.” It peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 and contained their last major international hit, “You Are the Girl,” but the album failed to approach the success of their previous albums. They announced the group's breakup in February 1988.
In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren to form a spin-off band, The New Cars, which performed classic Cars and Rundgren songs alongside new material.
In 2010, the Cars confirmed reunited and are recorded their first album in 23 years. “Move Like This” was released in 2011 and featured the singles, “Blue Tip” and “Sad Song.”