Monday, May 4, 2009

The Cars Don't Get Their Deserved Recognition

While driving home from a friend’s house the other night, I tuned into my local classic rock station as I am want to do from time to time. While listening to Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, the Doors, and other classic rock staples, I noticed that they were not playing The Cars. I’m not sure what made me think of them, but once the thought entered my mind, I was curious to know how often I heard The Cars on the radio anymore. The sad answer is, not often at all.

The classic rock stations barely play them. The modern rock stations won’t touch them. The mix stations may play Drive once in a blue moon, and occasionally Just What I Needed, or My Best Friend’s Girl, but even that is only on a rare occurrence.

Why is that? The Cars are a classic band that helped to define a musical movement, had plenty of big hits, and whose songs still hold up today. Where is radio’s love? Over the course of any given week, a music listener can hear endless songs from Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Who, Pearl Jam, Van Halen, and/or many others, except The Cars. And when they are played, it’s almost always the aforementioned songs. Why not something from Shake It Up or Candy-O?

Some little known facts about the Cars: Their nine year career was longer than The Beatles (8 years); their six albums are as many as were released by The Doors; their eponymous debut disc was certified 6x platinum in 1995; the never had a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. And maybe that’s why they don’t get the love they deserve. They never had that coveted number one.

That doesn’t mean they weren’t an amazing band that made amazing music, it just means that they weren’t embraced after their debut disc, just as they aren’t embraced by classic rock stations now. The Cars deserve a better fate. More people need to hear their music and know/reminisce about this band, for they truly are great.

Unfortunately, the chances for a reunion with lead singer Rick Ocasek are slim to none. He didn’t like to perform live when the band was at the peak of their career (which may have hurt albums from going to number one), and he has stated on several occasions that he has no desire to tour now that he’s retried. Hence, a reunion tour seems unlikely. I know, there were the “new” Cars with Todd Rundgren at the mic, but it just couldn’t be the same.

So, if you get a chance, give the Cars a whirl. Stream a few songs on the net. Download a couple to your IPod. Give them a chance. If you’re already a fan, but haven’t listened to them in a while, dust off those records and give them a spin. Pull out those cassette tapes, or grab the Anthology CD. You’ll be glad you did.

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.


g said...

i wore that album out - back in the seventh grade. i still listen to it ocasic-ally

Ryo Vie said...

Ugh! That ocasic-ally joke was seventh grade humor! What would Matt say?