The Cars

Skinny ties and slip-on Vans are back! One more crucial element to those halcyon days of the late '70s / early '80s is the sound—and if it's '80s music, it's gotta be the Cars! Mixing arena-sized power pop with artsy angularity, the Cars became the top selling act of the American punk/new wave movement. Their glossy, mod-esque image and futuristic, ambient textures leant themselves well to the burgeoning medium of music video—all helping the band to basically define the look and sound of mainstream music in the "Me Decade."

The Bostonian quartet was led by the brilliant singer/guitarist/songwriter Ric Ocasek. The original line-up never changed through their career with Benjamin Orr (bass), Elliiot Easton (lead guitar), David Robinson (drums), and Greg Hawkes (keyboards, synthesizer) flanking their frontman. All of the members provided backing vocals.

The boys scored big with their eponymous 1978 debut, as well as their next two albums Candy-O and Panorama. Though so many of their songs have been in heavy radio rotation for nearly 30 years ("Just What I Needed," "Let's Go," and "Shake It Up"), there are also many fantastic, obscure Cars tracks, such as the raucous "Gimme Some Slack" and the eerie "Moving in Stereo" (remember that scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?).

By the dawn of the '90s, the Cars had disintegrated under the increasing demand of outside projects, but not before leaving an indelible mark on the face of popular music. Even with all the crazy synth noises and funny haircuts, there is something timeless about this music. So listen in, and (here it comes) Let the Good Times Roll!

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