Revisit the magic the recent RRHOF inductees brought to commercial radio at a truly ugly time in rock radio.
"Once they're on paper, they're gone. I like to do as much with the words, as far as image goes." – Ric Ocasek, principle songwriter for The Cars.
Typically, this is the part where I speak to you of the artist or theme we are focusing on in this show by detailing a little bit of history and statistics. After seeing a great deal of negative press this last week concerning the artist we are featuring on this particular program, I have decided instead to share a story.
I was 10 years old when The Cars released their debut LP, and was immediately hooked on the variety of their sounds coming out of my very small, one speakered radio. I had no idea what the tracks were about initially; in fact, it really didn't matter that I often flubbed the lyrics. All I remember was that they sounded like nothing else on the radio at the time, which was becoming more and more segregated. As I grew older, so did my love for this band. This was a time when rock bands didn't write songs you could dance to, which ironically was how the whole thing started out back in the 1950's.
The Cars: (l-r) Elliot Easton, David Robinson, Ric Ocasek, Greg Hawkes and Benjamin Orr, 1984. Photographer Andy Warhol. Courtesy of Elektra/WMG.
As my interest in music become more technical, and I was able to upgrade to stereo speakers courtesy of my Sony Walkman, and I discovered just how sophisticated the band was. They were definitely more clever than just about anything else on Top 40 or Rock radio, and they knew it, but never looked down at others because of it. As I grew older, I revelled in hearing their music on Solid Gold, watching grown men and women in gold lamé attempt to "interpret" their sounds visually by leaping around on stage. I remember not being embarrassed when I would play my Cars mixtapes at parties, because everyone seemed in on the fun. I remember entering a goofy MTV contest in the hopes of having the band play my local high school, being severely bummed out that I didn't win.
When two of the band's vinyl albums came through at my job recently, I once again held copies of Candy-O and Shake It Up and just smiled from ear to ear. I hadn't listened to the band for a while when their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was announced last week. As I complied this mixtape for you, I find myself listening to it non-stop, being thoroughly amazed at just how much joy they brought me, what amazing musicians they were and how much I still loved to dance to their music.
If that isn't what Rock and Roll is really all about, then let me live in my ignorance, and trust me, I will again dance to this on the very busy street near where I live tomorrow morning, waiting for the bus, not giving a rat's ass if anyone is watching.
Our tracks this week are presented in a continuous sequence: Title, Source, Year
Cassette Side One
1. Let's Go, Candy-O, 1979
2. You Might Think, Heartbeat City, 1984
3. Gimme Some Slack, Panorama, 1980
4. Shake It Up, Shake It Up, 1982
5. Since You're Gone, Shake It Up, 1982
6. Bye Bye Love, The Cars, 1978
7. Tonight She Comes, Greatest Hits, 1985
8. Door to Door, Door to Door, 1987
Cassette Side Two
9. Drive, Heartbeat City, 1984
10. You're All I've Got Tonight, The Cars, 1978
11. It's All I Can Do, Candy-O, 1979
12. Funtime, unreleased Iggy Pop Cover, 1981
13. Candy-O, Candy-O, 1979
14. Cruiser, Shake It Up, 1982
15. Just What I Needed, The Cars, 1978
Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX