The Cars

Although even some of their most loyal fans accused The Cars of “just standing there” in concert performances, they sure bought up their albums, especially the self-titled 1979 debut on Elektra, an early example of American New Wave. The band’s first incarnation was the folk group Milkwood, with Ben Orr and Greg Hawkes. After many stylistic changes, and the addition of Elliot Easton and David Robinson, they were called Cap’n Swing. Robinson came up with The Cars name. A spate of platinum discs and Top 20 singles, along with inventive videos that made them MTV darlings, made The Cars an A-list pop group until it dissolved in 1987. Ocasek and Orr enjoyed some success as solo artists but never came close to The Cars’ popularity. Orr passed away in 2000. In 2006 the New Cars (Easton and Hawkes, joined by Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton and Prairie Prince) had a successful national tour and released an album that included live versions of the original line-up’s hits along with new studio tracks. Turn on any classic rock station any day, and you’ll likely hear “Just What I Needed.”
(by Ed Symkus)

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