The Cars – Drive 1984

I always favored the Cars first two albums and those string of hits…but I did like their later output as well. Cars frontman Ric Ocasek wrote this song, but he didn’t sing the lead vocal…their bass player Ben Orr did.

The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and #5 (1984) #4 (1985) in the UK

This was the Cars’ highest-charting US single and their second-highest charting UK single, the highest being “My Best Friend’s Girl.”  In the UK, this hit #5 on its initial release. It was reissued one year later and reached #4. The royalties from its reissue were donated to the Band-Aid Trust.

The song was on the album Heartbreak City released in 1984 and peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts.

From Songfacts

A very melancholy song by The Cars, this is written from the perspective of a guy who’s watching a woman (whom he presumably used to date) “going down the tubes,” trying to get her to take a hard look at what’s going on in her life. 

Orr died of Pancreatic cancer in 2000. When he died, “Drive” was played in his honor at a memorial service at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Orr also sang lead on the first Cars hit: “Just What I Needed.”

The Cars resisted the urge to use automotive imagery in their songs; “Drive” is a rare instance where they did.

At the Live Aid concert, this was used as background music to film clips of famine stricken Africa. The group performed on the Philadelphia stage and included “Drive” in their set.

The video was directed by a 23-year-old Timothy Hutton, who had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Ordinary People. Hutton aspired to direct, so when Ric Ocasek of The Cars suggested he do it, Hutton jumped at the chance.

Hutton cast the Czechoslovakian model Paulina Porizkova as the female lead in the clip. Auditioning for the role was the first time she met Ocasek, whom she married in 1989.

The Cars performed this on Saturday Night Live on May 12, 1984. 

This was used in two 2019 episodes of the TV series Arrested Development: “Saving for Arraignment Day,” and “Check Mates.” It was also used in the movies Midnight Heat (2007), Transformers (2007) and The Squid and the Whale (2005).

After the death of Princess Diana, the UK radio station XFM banned certain songs that might upset people. Their list of barred songs included “Drive.”

The song was covered by Sixx: A.M. on their 2014 album, Modern Vintage. Regarding the decision to record their own version, Nikki Sixx said: “We had started going down the street of [the Elvin Bishop hit] ‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love.’ One day I called [vocalist James Michael] up and just sang the opening line to ‘Drive’, and [he] said, ‘That’s a Sixx: A.M. song!’ I think it was an opportunity to cover a song that is so defined that you have to be very careful not to wreck it. That song is so loved by so many people, including us, that we really wanted to pay a real tribute to it, and I believe we have.”

“It’s such a simple song – the original version was so simple, but that’s what was exciting about it,” Michael added. “In a way, it’s a blank canvas, but you need to respect the simplicity … that’s what was so fun about the version we did, especially when [DJ Ashba] started doing his guitar solo. Even that had to be carefully structured around what the original song was.”



Who’s gonna tell you when
It’s too late
Who’s gonna tell you things
Aren’t so great
You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong
Who’s gonna drive you home tonight

Who’s gonna pick you up
When you fall
Who’s gonna hang it up
When you call
Who’s gonna pay attention
To your dreams
Who’s gonna plug their ears
When you scream

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong
Who’s gonna drive you home tonight

Who’s gonna hold you down
When you shake
Who’s gonna come around
When you break

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong
Who’s gonna drive you home tonight

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “The Cars – Drive 1984”

    1. Their 80s music doesn’t stick with me like the early guitar driven songs did. I came of age in the 80s but I longed for more of a timeless guitar sound through that era of quadraverbs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe they were still married when he passed which is weird to say even now.
      I’m glad you are able to read this…after my Zeppelin post I liked to never get this one to go through.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah. Your first post showed up in my panel and, when I went to read it, it said it was private. So, I just went to your page to get it. This one is in my panel, too. Hinky WP…*sigh*

    I liked The Cars, moderately and I always preferred Orr’s voice to Ocasek’s. Drive is depressing, visually and musically.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hell. I started having the same trouble you had, earlier. I couldn’t get my post, today, to show up. It posted in the Reader but, my site never would update. It wasn’t browser related, either.

        Check your comments in the Admin. every day. I don’t know what they are doing but, they continue to screw with programming.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well I’m glad I’m not alone.
        I have a post do that at least once every month or two…well not show up I mean. I have to copy the data on a new post…then rename the new post to something different…it usually will pop up after that.


      3. I know…you have to wonder that. I have found 5 comments that never showed up in the side panel from today already.


      4. And, this damn phone app… I’ve got unread posts showing up in the Comments column. I had to sign out & sign back in to clear it. 🙄😖

        I wonder if is more stable?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It might be across the board. I’ve never seen it this bad…my problem started Friday


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