Entertainment

Actions

Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, found dead in New York

Posted: 6:52 AM, Sep 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-16 06:52:24-04
Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, found dead in New York

(CNN) -- Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the rock band The Cars, died Sunday in New York City, police said.

The New York Police Department received a call around 4 p.m. "for an unconscious male" at a townhouse on East 19th Street, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information told CNN.

Ocasek, whose identity was confirmed by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was 75, according to news reports .

The Cars became hugely popular in the late 1970s and early 80s with hits including "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Drive."

The Cars were a mainstay of MTV in its early days. Their video for "Double Life" was the 21st video ever played on the new cable channel, according to VH1 .

Ocasek married supermodel Paulina Porizkova after the two met while shooting the video for 1984's "Drive." The couple last year announced their separation . They had two children together.

He was known for his mop of black hair and black sunglasses, which featured in many of the band's videos, including "You Might Think" in 1984.

Ocasek and The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

"(T)the Cars were the ultimate New Wave dream machine: a hook-savvy super-charged quintet that fused 60s pop, 70s glam and avant-rock minimalism into a decade of dashboard-radio nirvana," the band's biography reads on the Hall of Fame website.

The band had 13 Top 40 singles and four Top 10 LPs, according to the biography.

Ocasek founded the group in 1976, the biography said.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine ahead of the band's induction into the Hall of Fame, Ocasek described playing there as "a good cap on the bottle" after so many years.

"It's kind of weird because it's like a lifetime," Ocasek told the magazine, looking back at the history of The Cars. "It is a lifetime. I had three families during that time. They are like lives that go by and millions of people and things and artists and writers and business people and fans. ... It's a lot of stuff. It's been a pretty eventful life, I can say."

According to music site the Pitchfork:

Ocasek was born in Baltimore. He and friend Benjamin Orr played in a number of bands before eventually officially forming the Cars in 1976. They released their self-titled debut album in 1978, which featured the hit singles “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Just What I Needed.” Following five more albums and hits like “Drive” and “Shake It Up,” the group broke up in the late 1980s.

Starting with 1982’s Beatitude and ending with 2005’s Nexterday, Ocasek released a series of solo albums. He was also a producer of albums by artists including Weezer, Bad Brains, Suicide, Guided By Voices, No Doubt, the Cribs, Bad Religion, and others.

The musician and producer was also a pop culture fixture beyond music. He made a memorable appearance in John Waters’ Hairspray as a painter. He was an artist in real life, too, and his work was shown in galleries. He also wrote books, including the 1992 poetry collection Negative Theater. He was a regular guest on “The Colbert Report,” once calling out Todd Rundgren on the show (at a time when Rundgren was fronting the Cars under the name “the New Cars”). He appeared on the John Malkovich album . Ocasek made headlines in 2016 when he pulled his approval of a sample on Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Denial, forcing Matador Records to destroy physical copies of the album.

In 2011, Ocasek and the reunited Cars released a new album called Move Like This. The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.