Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr joined a series of bands together beginning in the late sixties. They eventually performed as a duo in a coffee house in Boston. Over time, they were joined by Greg Hawkes, David Robinson, and Elliot Easton. David named the quintet The Cars. Ric played rhythm guitar and wrote almost all of their songs.
The group developed the material for their first album while touring in the New England area. By 1977 they had signed with Elektra Records and recorded their first album. Benjamin sang lead on their first single, Just What I Needed. The record peaked at #27 in 1978. Their second single, My Best Friend’s Girl, featured Ric on lead vocals. and only managed to get up to #35. The group actually shot a video where they performed the song live.
Good Times Roll missed the top forty in 1979. The group subsequently recorded their second album and released Lets Go. That record did better, finally reaching the top twenty later that year.
None of their singles after that reached the charts until 1982 when Shake It Up reached number four and number two on the Mainstream Rock chart. That song broke them through to a series of hits, including three records that topped the Mainstream Rock chart.
The group disbanded in 1988 and several of them attempted solo careers. Benjamin died from cancer in 2000.
Greg and Elliot teamed up with Todd Rundgren and formed the New Cars in 2005. The group was active for about two years before it ended.
In 2010, the surviving members of The Cars reunited and recorded a new album and even toured briefly the next year.
The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. The remaining members of the group reunited for what became their final performance together.
Ric died in September 2019.