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Ric Ocasek of the Cars remembered for ‘biggest sweetest heart in the industry’

Ric Ocasek of the Cars has died
Ric Ocasek of the Cars performs during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on April 14, 2018.
(Associated Press)

Ric Ocasek, the founder and frontman for new wave pioneers the Cars, is being remembered by his peers and fans on social media as an incredible singer and songwriter and an all-around nice guy.

The 75-year-old, who delivered songs including “Just What I Needed,” “Moving in Stereo” and “Good Times Roll,” was found dead in his apartment on Sunday afternoon. No foul play was suspected and no cause of death has been revealed.

“The whole weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday. Ric meant so much to us,” the band Weezer said Sunday on Instagram.

“He produced 3 key weezer albums, Blue, Green and 2014’s ‘Everything...’, and taught all of us so much about music, recording and songcraft. But more importantly he taught us that one can be in a respected position of great power and yet be absolutely humble and have the biggest sweetest heart in the industry.”

Obituary: Ric Okasek, the singer, guitarist and songwriter for the Cars, helped define the sound of the angled-haircut 1980s with songs including “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up” and more.
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Martha Quinn, former MTV veejay, said Monday on Twitter that Ocasek and the Cars set the tone of the ’80s before the ’80s even started. Their self-titled debut album came out in 1978.

Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Peter Frampton, Terri Nunn of Berlin, Paul Stanley of KISS and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers were among the music heavyweights weighing in with heavy hearts.

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Back to back “one-two punch” for rock music in one weekend, damn. Eddie Money & just now, Ric Ocasek of The Cars . Full disclosure: In high school, my friends & I always gravitated more towards music that offended & defied convention: The screaming guitars of Van Halen & Ozzy, the screaming (literally) of Halford & Dio, the shock of Kiss & Alice, the complexity of Yes & Rush, the sexual boundary-pushing of Prince (& for that matter, Plant) the weirdness & cultural critiques of Zappa etc etc...But what’s interesting about both these guys’ work is that despite its relative “safeness” (it fit none of the above descriptions, was generally accepted by mainstream gatekeepers, was never threatened with censorship, didn’t cause concern by parent/teacher groups or DC Congressional Committees), it somehow occupied that safer space while being liked by those of us into the more unconventional (even dangerous, if you will) side of music. No, my friends & I didn’t wear Eddie Money or The Cars T-Shirts; we didn’t hang up their posters; we didn’t run out to buy their albums or attend their concerts..But you know what else we didn’t do? We didn’t turn the dial when they came on the radio (and these guys were ALL over the radio)! It may have been “safe” sure, but the songs were undeniably good, the hooks incredibly strong - so strong, in fact, that I can’t even look at titles like “Just What I Needed” & “Let The Good Times Roll” or “Shaken” & “Two Tickets to Paradise” without the songs getting stuck in my head! And I can only imagine their pressure to do some stupid gimmick or rely too much on image in their area of radio friendly rock, but they did not. Even after MTV, they kept it real, just a couple dudes who happened to make super-catchy, fun to listen to music. I met Eddie once - a former guitar tech of mine worked with him for many years - he struck me as down to Earth funny and a great guy. I have heard the same about Ric, though we never met. These two may be more associated with early mid 80s , an era long past, but they were great guys and true artists who will be missed & remembered for many years to come. RIP #eddiemoney & #ricocasek #Thecars

A post shared by Alex Skolnick (@alexskolnick) on


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