Sep 16, 2019
(CNN) Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the new wave rock band The Cars, died of heart disease, according to the New York City medical examiner’s office.
He was 75.
The New York Police Department received a call around 4 p.m. Sunday “for an unconscious male” at a townhouse on East 19th Street, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information told CNN.
Ocasek died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to a press release Monday from the medical examiner’s office. There was a contributing condition of pulmonary emphysema. The manner of death was natural.
Supermodel Paulina Porizkova, who separated from Ocasek last year, posted on Instagram that he had been recuperating at home following surgery.
She was at the home helping their children care for their father when she found him while bringing coffee. “I touched his cheek to rouse him. It was then I realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on.”
Porizkova shared a photo of flowers outside the home … Read more.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee updated classic sounds
The New York Times – Ric Ocasek, the songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the Cars, was found dead on Sunday afternoon at his townhouse in Manhattan, according to the New York Police Department.
No cause of death was available on Sunday night.
It is unclear what age Mr. Ocasek (pronounced oh-CASS-ek) was. According to some public records and previous articles, he was 70, other reporting suggests that he may have been 75.
From 1978 to 1988, Mr. Ocasek and the Cars merged a vision of romance, danger and nocturnal intrigue and the concision of new wave 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 guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards and David Robinson on drums.
It was the beginning of the punk era, but the Cars made their first albums with Queen’s producer, Roy Thomas Baker, creating songs that were terse and moody but impeccably polished.
In the Cars, Mr. Ocasek’s lead vocals mixed a gawky, yelping deadpan with hints of suppressed emotion, while his songs drew hooks from basic three-chord rockabilly and punk, from surf-rock, from emerging synth-pop, from echoes of the Beatles and glam-rock and from hints of the 1970s art-rock avant-garde.
The five albums the Cars released from 1978 to 1984 each sold a million copies in the United States alone, with ubiquitous radio singles like “Just What I Needed” in 1978, “Shake It Up” in 1981, “You Might Think” in 1984 and “Drive” in 1984.
When the Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, the group’s surviving members reunited, joined by Scott Shriner of Weezer on bass … Read more.
Richard Theodore Otcasek (March 23, 1944 – September 15, 2019), known as Ric Ocasek, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and painter.
He was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the rock band the Cars. In 2018, Ocasek was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cars. That same year, he exhibited a number of his paintings in a national tour.
Ocasek was born on March 23, 1944, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. When Ocasek was 16 years old, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated from Maple Heights High School in 1963. Ocasek briefly attended Antioch College and Bowling Green State University, but dropped out to pursue a career in music.
Ocasek met future Cars bassist Benjamin Orr in Cleveland in 1965 after Ocasek saw Orr performing with his band the Grasshoppers on the Big 5 Show, a local musical variety program.
He reconnected with Orr a few years later in Columbus, Ohio, and the two began booking bands together. They formed a band called ID Nirvana in 1968 and performed in and around Ohio State University.
Ocasek and Orr were in various bands in Columbus and Ann Arbor, Michigan, before re-locating to Boston in the early 1970s. In Boston, they formed a Crosby, Stills and Nash-style folk rock band called Milkwood.
They released one album, How’s the Weather, on Paramount Records in early 1973 but it failed to chart.
After Milkwood, Ocasek formed the group Richard and the Rabbits, which included Orr and keyboardist Greg Hawkes, who had played on Milkwood’s album. Ocasek and Orr also performed as an acoustic duo during this period.
Some of the songs they played became the early Cars songs. Later, Ocasek and Orr teamed up with guitarist Elliot Easton in the band Cap’n Swing.
Cap’n Swing soon came to the attention of WBCN disc jockey Maxanne Sartori, who began playing songs from their demo tape on her show. After Cap’n Swing was rejected by several record labels, Ocasek got rid of the bass player and drummer and decided to form a band that better fit his style of writing.
Orr took over on bass and David Robinson, best known for his career with the Modern Lovers, became the drummer. Hawkes returned to play keyboards and the band became “The Cars” in late 1976.
Ocasek’s breakout success was as a founding member of the Cars, recording numerous hit songs from 1978 to 1988. He played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals for a majority of songs (bassist Benjamin Orr was lead vocalist on the remaining tracks).
After splitting writing duty with Orr in the 1970s, Ocasek became the principal songwriter of the band, and wrote nearly all of the Cars’ material, sharing credit on only a few songs with bandmate Greg Hawkes as co-writer.
In 2010, Ocasek reunited with the surviving original members of the Cars to record their first album in 24 years, titled Move Like This, which was released on May 10, 2011.
Ocasek was married three times. He married early in life, but divorced and was married to his second wife, Suzanne Ocasek, in 1971.
Ocasek was still married to Suzanne when he met 18-year-old supermodel Paulina Porizkova during filming of the music video for the Cars’ song “Drive” in 1984. Ocasek and Porizkova were married on August 23, 1989 on Saint-Barthélemy island.
In May 2018, Porizkova announced she and Ocasek had separated a year earlier.
Ocasek had six sons, two from each of his three marriages. His eldest son, Christopher was a singer who formed the rock group Glamour Camp which released one album in 1989. His other children include Adam, Eron, Derek (b. 1981), Jonathan Raven (b. 1993), and Oliver (b. 1999).
He and co-founder of the Cars Benjamin Orr were close friends who became estranged when the band broke up. Their friendship was commemorated in the song “Silver”, which Ocasek wrote as a dedication to Orr upon his death in 2000.
Ocasek was found dead in his New York City townhouse on September 15, 2019.
Early reports said he had died of natural causes, and had been found by his estranged wife Paulina Porizkova. Sources differed on Ocasek’s age at the time of his death, with some sources and public records stating he was either 70 or 75 years old.
Some obituaries, including that of The New York Times, included both ages.