1979 The Cars – Let’s Go
In 1962, a group of studio musicians played on a record that has become very familiar thanks to chanting at sports events: Let’s Go (Pony) by the Routers. The single reached #19 on the Hot 100 in 1962.
Many of the musicians who played on the record became members of the Wrecking Crew.
The New Wave band The Cars formed in the Boston area in 1976. The band’s lineup was Elliot Easton on lead guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards, Ric Ocasek on rhythm guitar, Benjamin Orr on bass guitar, and David Robinson on drums.
More details about their early formation can be found in my book Lost or Forgotten Oldies Volume 3.
Ric wrote many of their songs, and he and Benjamin took turns on lead vocals.
The first album from the Cars pushed out three singles that struggled on the charts: Just What I Needed (#27), My Best Friend’s Girl (#35), and Good Times Roll (#41). While those singles may not have succeeded individually, they helped make side one of the album a pure delight. Side 2 started out with You’re All I’ve Got Tonight and Bye Bye Love, so the album actually did better than the singles (and eventually went 6 times platinum in the US despite getting no higher than #18 on the album chart).
The second album from the band finally had a reasonable hit: Let’s Go. The single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in 1979 but failed to reach the rock chart.
There’s little doubt about the inspiration of Let’s Go: about 1:30 into the song we get the sound of some hand-clapping and chants of “Let’s go!” that should be very familiar if you ever listened to the Routers single. Songwriting credit on the song went to Ric.
It would remain their highest charting single until 1981, when MTV playing the video for Shake It Up helped put them in the top five on the pop chart. It also reached #2 on the rock chart, which is where they later had three number-one hits.
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