Obits — September 15, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Ric Ocasek, frontman of new wave legends The Cars and famed producer, has died

Ric Ocasek, the pop genius who wrote a string of hits for The Cars, the legendary new-wave act he fronted and played guitar for through the late 1970s through the late ’80s, was found dead in his New York City apartment, according to multiple news reports. He was 75.

Police received a call around 4 p.m. about an unconscious male at a townhouse on East 19th Street who was pronounced dead at the scene, NBC New York reported. The TV station and other outlets said they confirmed with law enforcement that the deceased man was Ocasek.

Page Six cited sources saying Ocasek appeared to have died of natural causes. The Associated Press reported that police said there were no signs of foul play and that the New York City medical examiner ultimately would determine a cause of death following an investigation.

The Cars circa 1978

The origins of The Cars date back to several groups that Ocasek and the late Benjamin Orr formed in the 1960s and ’70s in Ohio and Michigan before relocating to Boston. They’d eventually team up with Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton and David Robinson to form The Cars in 1976.

The band signed to Elektra Records after “Just What I Needed” off its demo tape began receiving airplay in Boston in 1977, and the band released its self-titled debut the following year, landing three singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and generating airplay for several other songs. The band would go on to score hits off its subsequent albums, honing a quintessentially new wave — and completely unique — sound along the way.

After The Cars’ break-up in 1988, Ocasek continued to record solo albums and worked as an in-demand producer, helming hit albums for Weezer (both the so-called “Blue” and “Green” albums), and putting a heavy pop sheen on Guided By Voices’ divisive Do the Collapse in the late ’90s.

The Cars circa 2011

A decade after Orr’s death in 2000, The Cars reunited, recording a new album, Move Like This, that was released in 2011. They thrilled fans by touring for that album, and, in 2018, the band finally was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last year, Ocasek also announced that he’d separated from his wife Paulina Porizkova the year before after decades of marriage.

Below, we’ve compiled some of The Cars’ biggest hits and reactions to news of Ocasek’s death.























  1. Scott Stalcup

    Man, this one hurts. BAD.
    He was a genuine one-off. No one on Earth sounded like The Cars. No one ever will.
    44 year old me needs to hug 9 year old me.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. We lost a legend. Hugs from Austin TX.

  3. I am just heartbroken. Ben and Ric were amazing performers. The Cars was my fav band of all time. Their music meant everything to this teenaged girl in the 80s.

  4. Haunted when the minutes drag

    I loved the cars. Always underrated, but never disappointing. The bigger hits are too many to list. But I’ve always had a special place in my heart for “it’s all I can do.” Sang by Orr, but written by Ocasek. In my opinion, the best opening four words to any song.

    I regret never seeing them in their prime. I will miss him

  5. Andre Stewart

    Wow!! Ric ,& The Cars are part of the soundtrack of my young life! This is a terrible blow & loss as far as music icons go!…He will be sorely missed…✊✌

  6. So long to a Polish legend, Rick added so much strange occult stuff to the cars, a very unique guy!

  7. Wow, this one is as big a shock as Bowie’s passing for me.

    As a kid in my mid teens in 1977, this was THE band that transitioned me from pop & rock to “new wave”, and no one embodied that the way Ric Ocasek did

    RIP sir

  8. Requiescat In Pace, Ric Ocasek…

    Eternal Thanks For Everything, Sir…..<3


  9. About 30 years ago
    Small flat, lots of people.
    Party after party.
    Mono tape player and only two cassettes.
    Just The Cars.
    One of the happiest periods in my life.
    I will never forget it, thank you Ric.

  10. Damn, this sucks.

    Thanks for the songs and the memories, man.

  11. One of the greatest debut albums ever.

  12. Great band and their first album is damn near flawless.

    Grew up watching MTV in the 80’s , and the cars were a part of that oh so wonderful time.

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