Ric Ocasek, frontman for Rock Hall of Famers The Cars, has died at the age of 75. According to multiple reports, the musician was found by the NYPD in his home in New York today. Ocasek led The Cars to a series of massive hit singles in the ’70’s and ’80’s, including “Drive,” “Just What I Needed,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Shake It Up,” “You Might Think” and many more.
Ocasek formed the group with bassist Benjamin Orr (who passed away in 2000) in 1976, after having played in a number of other bands together. The Cars released their hit self-titled debut record in 1978. The band melded the keyboard sounds of the New Wave era with a sleek pop sensibility and went on to have a series of hit singles and albums over the next decade, with a series of multi-platinum records to their name. Their biggest hit, 1984’s “Drive,” reached #3 on the Billboard 200, though Orr sang lead vocals on the song. The band split in 1998, but Ocasek reunited the surviving members for one more Cars album in 2011, titled Move Like This.
Ocasek also released multiple solo records throughout his career and became a successful producer as well. Most notably, he produced Weezer‘s self-titled debut release (aka “The Blue Album”), as well as albums from Nada Surf, Guided by Voices, Bad Religion and others. He reunited with Weezer for their comeback “Green Album” in 2001. Ocasek famously married model Paulina Porizkova, who he met on the set of the “Drive” video, in 1989, though the pair separated in 2018.
The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, with Weezer’s Scott Shriner filling in on bass for their performance.
Ocasek is survived by six sons, two from each of his three marriages.
Update: in a statement via the Cars’ Twitter account, Ocasek’s family said the following:
— The Cars (@thecarsband) September 16, 2019