Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
September 8 marked the 73rd birth anniversary of The Car’s co-founder, singer & bassist, Benjamin Orr. And while I do not normally like to acknowledge the date we lose an artist as I prefer to focus on their life & music, because today marks one year since fellow co-founder, lead singer & rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek died, I decided a tribute to both was in order.
They met while each was playing music in different bands in the 1960’s in Cleveland after Ocasek dropped out of college. Orr eventually joined his band and soon the two men became a duo. They spent the next several years playing wherever they could until Ocasek moved to Massachusetts with his second wife around 1971. The next year he joined a folk duo, convinced Orr to join them to form the band, Milk Wood (after the Dylan Thomas play, “Under The Milkwood”). They released one record together in 1973 on Paramount Records, “How’s The Weather?” The album did not sell and the trio broke up. But Ocasek and Orr worked together on several projects, meeting the other three members of The Cars along the way: Greg Hawkes on keyboards, David Robinson on drums and Elliot Easton on lead guitar. Together they burst on to the music scene with their debut eponymous album in 1978
I enjoyed their sound enough to pay attention when their songs came on the radio, even though I was not a fan of new wave or synth-rock, as they became known for. The one song in particular that I could not get enough of was “Good Times Roll”. It had such a seductive opening guitar riff aided by a fabulous drum beat.and a funky synthesiser line. It remained my favorite song of the group’s until today’s song came out six years later.
Written by Ocasek but sung by Orr, I have swooned over this tune since my first listen to it. His vocal is subtle yet strong, direct yet in a private language only the person he is singing to would understand. And since 1984 was prime MTV territory, a very unique and somewhat heartbreaking video came out to accompany the song. It was directed by actor Timothy Hutton, featured a somber looking Orr, an 18 year old model named Paulina Porizkova and introduced her to her future husband, Ocasek.
The band broke up by the end of the 1980’s. Orr died of cancer in 2000. Ocasek’s song “Silver” from his 2005 album, “Nexterday”, is in honor of Orr. In 2018 the remaining band members reunited to perform at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Ocasek died a year later. The Cars made many memorable songs and videos together, but this one will be my favorite forever.
The Cars in 1984. L–R: Benjamin Orr, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson, Ric Ocasek, and Elliot Easton. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
The Cars: “Drive” ( 1984, written by Ric Ocasek).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.