Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr formed a band named ID Nirvana in the Ohio State University area in 1968. They moved to the Boston area in 1971 and formed a folk band called Milkwood. That group released an album, but poor sales and charting resulted in the group disbanding. Two more groups followed, Richard and the Rabbits and Cap’n Swing before the right combination of musicians formed the Cars in 1976. The six members of the group remained constant until they disbanded in 1988.
The Cars consistently hit the charts for four years beginning in 1978. After their 1982 tour ended, the group went on hiatus to allow members to pursue solo interests. Ric and Greg Hawkes each began work on solo albums. Ric’s album contained his first solo single, Something to Grab For. The single only reached #47 on the Hot 100 but was a top-five Mainstream Rock hit.
The group reunited in 1984 and recorded their most successful album, Heartbeat City. Soon after the excitement died down, the group again took a break. Benjamin and Elliot Easton each released solo albums. Ric recorded his second solo album with help from Benjamin and Greg. The first single from the album was Emotion In Motion, which reached topped the Mainstream Rock chart and reached #15 on the Hot 100 in 1986. Since the single was more a ballad than a rock song, it also reached #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The Cars reformed and released another album in 1987, but in 1988 they disbanded for over a decade. Ric released four more albums in the nineties and one last album in 2005. Todd Rundgren replaced Ric in a reunion with Greg and Elliot that created the tribute band The New Cars in 2005.
Ric reformed the Cars in 2010, but that reunion ended the next year after a single tour. The remaining living members of the group reunited for a single set in 2018 when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
In 2019, Ric had surgery at age 75. He died after he went home to recover from the surgery.
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