Ric Ocasek, frontman and songwriter of the new wave band The Cars, dies at 75

Ric Ocasek

Cars lead singers Ric Ocasek, seen at a 2015 MusiCares event in Los Angeles to honor him, died Sunday.Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP

Ocasek co-founded the band in Boston in 1976 and recorded more than a dozen top 40 singles.

By Tim Stelloh

Ric Ocasek, a co-founder and lead singer of the new wave band The Cars, was found dead in New York City on Sunday, authorities said. Ocasek was 75.

The New York Police Department said his body was found in a Manhattan townhouse on Sunday afternoon. Ocasek, who was unconscious and unresponsive, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

Ocasek’s cause of death wasn’t immediately clear, but police said no criminality was suspected.

Ocasek co-founded The Cars in Boston in 1976 with bassist and singer Benjamin Orr. The band’s sound merged classic guitar-oriented rock with synthesizer-driven pop sounds of the late 1970s and early 80s.

>The band recorded more than a dozen Top 40 anthems, including “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Good Times Roll,” and “Just What I Needed.”

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.


The Cars broke up in the late 1980s, but Ocasek would go on to become a noted producer, working with influential punk and rock bands like Bad Brains, Weezer and Bad Religion.

Ocasek split with his wife, Paulina Porizkov, last year in what the Czech-born supermodel called a peaceful separation.

On Sunday, fans and musicians mourned Ocasek’s death, recalling the Cars’ sound as seminal — and Ocasek as an “architect of modern guitar pop,” as one observer put it.

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