Sadly, we now know who got that other ticket to paradise that the late Eddie Money had. Ric Ocasek, the gentle new wave giant king who, along with The Cars, was responsible for the soundtrack of people’s lives in the 70s and 80s, died yesterday. He was 75.
Page Six says that The New York Police Department got a call about an unresponsive man in a townhouse in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. The man was Ric Ocasek, and shortly after police and ambulances arrived at around 4:14pm, he was pronounced dead at the scene. Ric was reportedly found in bed by his estranged wife Paulina Porizkova. Ric and Paula were married for 28 years before she announced their separation last year. Sources tell Page Six that Ric Ocasek seemed to have died of natural causes, but no official info has been released.
Ric was born as Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore, where he also grew up. Ric’s family moved them all to Cleveland, Ohio when he was 16, and that’s where he later met Benjamin Orr. Ric and Benjamin were in a few bands together before giving birth to the band that would fill ears with new wave/classic rock masterpieces at every mall, school dance, and coke-fueled swinger parties (it was the 70s).
The Cars were born in 1976, and was made up of Ric, Benjamin, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, and David Robinson. Their self-titled debut album came out in 1978, and it had this classic on it:
And this perfect new wave/classic rock rock gem that has held a place in my Top 25 Most Played playlist on iTunes for years and years (I know, what an important achievement for The Cars):
The Cars released six more albums (their last album came out in 2011), and those albums included Shake It Off whose video starred a video goddess that Nicole Kidman has been trying to emulate for DECADES!
And 1984’s new wave love song masterpiece Drive, whose video was directed by Timothy Hutton and starred an 18-year-old Paulina Porizkova.
My first introduction to The Cars came a little later, but it was an introduction that boggled every part of my young mind. The video for You Might Think was my Avatar. It was a magical technological wonder that also gave me night terrors about a Ric Ocasek-headed fly coming at me. It won Video of the Year at the first ever MTV VMAs in 1984, beating Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun.
The Cars broke up in 1988. Benjamin Orr died in 2000 not long after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The Cars reunited for a minute in 2010. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Beyond The Cars, Ric released seven solo albums from 1982 to 2005. He wrote a book of poetry, made art, produced albums for Weezer and No Doubt, and did a cameo appearance as a beatnik painter in the original Hairspray movie.
He’s survived by his five children.
Rest in peace, Ric Ocasek. You are now in heaven where the angels drive YOU home. Although, they may still be a little pissed at you over the nightmare of you as a fly.