Singer Ric Ocasek, who fronted the successful ’70s and ’80s band the Cars, was found dead Sunday in his apartment in Manhattan, according to media reports.
“The New York Police Department said that officers found the 75-year-old Ocasek at about 4 p.m. after responding to a 911 call. They said there were no signs of foul play and that the medical examiner was to determine a cause of death,” the AP reports. “The death comes a year after the Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, followed by an announcement by model Paulina Porizkova on social media that she and Ocasek had separated after 28 years of marriage.”
Ocasek and Porizkova reportedly met while the Cars were filming the music video for the band’s 1984 hit “Drive.”
Formed in Boston in 1976 by singer and guitarist Ocasek and bass player Benjamin Orr, the Cars broke out in 1978 with the hits “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl,” which were followed the next year by “Good Times Roll” and “Let’s Go.”
With Ocasek as its primary songwriter, the band continued to put out hits through much of the ’80s, including “Shake It Up,” “You Might Think,” “Drive” and “Tonight She Comes.”
“They were a decade older than many of their modern-rock compatriots but became one of the most essential American bands of the late 1970s and 1980s with their fusion of new wave, 1960s pop and 1970s glam,” the AP notes. “Ocasek’s minimalist, half-spoken deadpan vocals set made the band’s sound, and his long, lanky appearance formed their lasting image.”
Here’s an interview Ocasek did a while back with Stephen Colbert …