Ric Ocasek is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Cars. The group was inducted into the Hall in 2018 thanks to a catalog of era-defining albums and hit singles that included "Good Times Roll," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Just What I Needed." Ocasek died on Sunday at his New York townhouse. He was 75 years old.
According to the New York Post, Ocasek was found unconscious and unresponsibe at his home in Gramercy Park around 4:14 p.m. Sources said he died of natural causes.
The Cars were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, alongisde Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, Nina Simone and The Moody Blues. Ocasek and the other surviving members of the group reunited for the ceremony in Cleveland. They were inducted by The Killers' Brandon Flowers.
"Founded in Boston in 1976 by singer-guitarist-songwriter Ric Ocasek and singer-bassist Benjamin Orr, the Cars were the ultimate New Wave dream machine: a hook-savvy super-charged quintet that fused 60s pop, 70s glam and avant-rock minimalism into a decade of dashboard-radio nirvana," reads the group's page on the Rock Hall site.
The group was made up of Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson and Benjamin Orr. Orr, the group's bassist and singer on "Just What I Needed" and "Let's Go," died in 2000 at age 53.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2017, after the group's induction was announced, Ocasek opened up about how important being inducted in Cleveland was.
"Cleveland is pretty dear to me since it was a launching pad for a lot of things," the Baltimore native said. "The first time I ever saw the Velvet Underground was in Cleveland. I went to a party at somebody’s apartment with the Velvet Underground. La Cave was a great new-music kind of place in the 1960s. Ohio was good for that. Back then, it was wonderful. Of course, the 1960s were a very vibrant time anyways. Everything was going on between 1963 and 1969 or something. It was pretty exciting."
In that same interview, Ocasek said he would not be interested in doing another Cars album without Orr. The only album they made without him was 2011's Move Like This, made 23 years after their first break-up.
"Before all this, I was planning on writing a record this year. I don’t know whether I would have put it out myself or asked the Cars to come along," Ocasek told Rolling Stone. "We all live far from each other. I don’t know. Maybe so. Maybe this will be a good reason to do it again, though I really miss Ben as part of the thing. As much as I want it to be the Cars and I love everyone so much in the Cars, without him it just feels different. It feels different."
Ocasek recorded a handful of albums outside The Cars and scored a hit with the single "Emotion in Motion" in 1986. His final solo album was 2005's Nexterday. He also produced three albums for Weezer, the Blue and Green Albums and Everything Will Be Alright in the End.
"It was wonderful," Ocasek said of the induction in an interview with The Vinyl District earlier this year. "I was pretty happy we were asked to be in it. I wasn’t really expecting it. When we first were nominated two times before that, it was a big shock."
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