Musical genius Ric Ocasek, founder, guitarist, and co-frontman of the iconic new wave band The Cars, has died.
The NYPD confirmed the music legend’s death after they responded to a call reporting an unconscious man at a townhouse on East 19th Street.
The man, identified as Ocasek, was found in bed and pronounced dead at the scene.
Page Six cited sources saying he appeared to have died of natural causes.
Ocasek formed The Cars in Boston with bassist Benjamin Orr in 1976, after the pair met in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1960s, performing in various bands before heading east.
Ocasek and Orr would enlist Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton, and David Robinson to round out the band, going on to release their self-titled debut album two years later in 1978.
The album featured the hit singles “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Just What I Needed”, the latter of which sung by Benjamin Orr, is one of the band’s most iconic songs, and lead to the bands signing with Elektra Records after it began receiving airplay off of its demo tape in 1977 via on Boston radio stations WCOZ and WBCN.
The band would release another one of their signature singles “Let’s Go” on the 1979 follow-up album “Candy-O”.
Also in 1979 Ocasek would produce Suicide’s single “Dream Baby Dream”, one of the most important tracks in punk and electronic music.
1981 saw the release of the album Shake it Up, whose title track sung by Ocasek was another iconic song of the era.
Following their 1982 tour, the Cars took a short break and went to work on solo projects, with Ocasek releasing his debut album Beatitude.
The Cars would come back together two years later released their most successful album, Heartbeat City, in 1984. The album’s first single “You Might Think” was another hit, and helped The Cars win Video of the Year at the first MTV Video Music Awards.
Other hit singles from the album included “Hello Again”, and “Why Can’t I Have You”, and “Magic”, which was another song fronted by Ocasek, given Ocasek a strong presence as co-frontman on this record.
The band’s biggest international hit “Drive“, also included on Heartbeat City, was written by Ocasek, despite being sung by Orr.
The Cars would call it quits in 1988.
Ocasek continued to perform as a solo artist, having released over seven studio albums, and producing records for other artists until 2011 when he would reunite The Cars to release a new album called Move Like This, more than a decade after the passing of Benjamin Orr at the age 53, in 2000.
The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Last year, Ocasek also announced that he’d separated from his wife Paulina Porizkova after decades of marriage.
More on this story as it develops.
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) September 16, 2019
R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, lead singer with The Cars, at 75. A very cool cat. He was the first person to hear my album The Flat Earth from start to finish, in Mutt Lange’s house in Chelsea.
— Thomas Dolby (@ThomasDolby) September 16, 2019
“Who is gonna drive us home now?
Ric the writer behind one of our favorite American bands of all time. We were truly saddened to hear of his passing. “ – JT pic.twitter.com/qGLDx2ZnqR
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) September 16, 2019
Oh blimey. I see Ric Ocasek from The Cars has died age 75. Very nice bloke from what I can remember. Did a couple of bits and pieces with him, including this one. Magic. My second visit to LaLa. Hung out with him in New York, too. https://t.co/91dmk1T7Zm
— Tim Pope (@timpopedirector) September 16, 2019
Last year, while writing, I listened to the first four Cars albums one afternoon in a row and it was pure power pop bliss. Might just have to do it again today. RIP Ric Ocasek. pic.twitter.com/kT0ue43GKx
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 16, 2019