Ric Ocasek, songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the Cars, was found dead on Sunday afternoon at his townhouse in Manhattan. The New York Police Department confirmed the death but did not give a cause.
From 1978 to 1988, Mr. Ocasek (pronounced oh-CASS-eck) and the Cars merged a vision of romance, danger and nocturnal intrigue as well as the feel of new wave music with the sonic depth and ingenuity of radio-friendly rock. The Cars managed to please both punk-rock fans and a far broader pop audience, reaching into rock history while devising fresh, lush extensions of it.
The Cars grew out of a friendship forged in the late 1960s in Ohio between Mr. Ocasek and Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000. They worked together in multiple bands before moving to Boston and forming the Cars in the late 1970s with Elliot Easton on lead guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards and David Robinson on drums. Despite being the beginning of the Punk era, the group made their first albums with Queen’s producer, Roy Thomas Baker, to create their special blend of moody but polished music.
Ric Ocasek will be missed by many who listened to his music, but his legacy will live on through the memories that were made with and due to him.