Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars, dies aged 75

Ric Ocasek performing at the Rock and Roll induction ceremony in 2018Image copyright
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Ric Ocasek performed at the Rock and Roll induction ceremony in 2018

Ric Ocasek, lead singer of 1980s US band The Cars, has died aged 74.

He was pronounced dead at home in Manhattan after family called to report he was unresponsive, New York Police Department said. The cause of death remains unconfirmed.

The Cars helped kick-start the new wave movement.

The band was formed in Boston in the mid-1970s by Ocasek and band-mate Benjamin Orr after they met at high school.

Merging guitar rock with synthesizer-based pop, their early hits included Just What I Needed, My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll.

Their 1984 ballad Drive was used as background music for footage of the Ethiopian famine, and its re-release as a single after Live Aid helped raise money for the cause.

After the band broke up in the late 1980s, Ocasek embarked on a solo career as well as working as a producer for artists including Weezer, Bad Religion and No Doubt.

Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer.

The remaining members of The Cars re-formed in 2011 to release a final album and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

In 1987, Ocasek told The New York Times: “I’m happy that the pop songs have a bit of a twist. When I’m writing, I never know how it’s going to come out.”

He said he read a lot of poetry, which inspired his “twisted” song-writing.

Ocasek is survived by his wife, the model Paulina Porizkova, and six sons.

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