Cars – You’re All I’ve Got Tonight ….Power Pop Friday

I started this post and it’s still hard to believe Ric Okasek is gone…him and The Cars left behind some great songs and history.

The band’s guitarist Elliot Easton was one of the most underrated guitarists of his generation. The guy played perfect pop/rock/country guitar fills and solos.

This song like many other of their best known songs was on their debut album The Cars. To these ears it hast to be one of the best debut albums by a pop/rock band. The album was released on June 6, 1978.

The album featured 3 charting songs Let The Good Times Roll, My Best Friend’s Girl, and Just What I Needed. It also contained songs that would remain staples on rock radio such as Bye, Bye, Love and You’re All I’ve Got Tonight.

The Cars sold one million copies by the end of 1978 and remained on the charts for nearly three years. It only peaked at number 18, Billboard ranked it number 4 on their “Top Albums of the Year” countdown. Critically, the album has been labeled “a genuine rock masterpiece”.

In the next decade the Cars would climb higher in the charts with singles and albums before they disbanded in the late eighties.

You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

I don’t care if you hurt me some more
I don’t care if you even the score
You can knock me and I don’t care
You can mock me and I don’t care
You can rock me just about anywhere
It’s alright

‘Cause you’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
I need you tonight
I need you tonight

I don’t care if you use me again
I don’t care if you abuse me again
You can make me I don’t care
You can fake me I don’t care
You can love me just about anywhere
It’s alright

Cause you’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
I need you tonight
Said I need you tonight

I don’t want to feel sorry for you
You don’t have to make believe it’s you
You can pump me I don’t care
You can bump me I don’t care
You can love me just about anywhere
It’s alright

You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
I need you tonight
Said I need you tonight

You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
You’re all I’ve got tonight
I need you tonight
I need you tonight
I need you tonight

Cars – Let The Good Times Roll

This song was on The Car’s great debut album that just keeps giving. “Good Times Roll” was released as the third single from the album.

Ric Ocasek wrote and sang lead on this song. None of the songs were huge hits but 6 songs off of the album still get played on radio today. Rolling Stone also ranked the album No. 284 in its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

This song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 and #74 in Canada in 1979.

Ric Ocasek:  “I just remember when we did ‘Good Times Roll’ in the studio in England on the first record, and we heard back the vocals. I told Roy that I thought it was way, way too much. … But you know, it grew on me later and it sounded so smooth. It was a nice process to do it because Roy, you know, was fortunate enough to have a 40-track machine … so he could do layering of vocals a lot.”

Good Times Roll

Let the good times roll
Let them knock you around
Let the good times roll
Let them make you a clown

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair

Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll

Let the stories be told
They can say what they want
Let the photos be old
Let them show what they want

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll-oll
Won’t you let the good times roll

Good times roll

If the illusion is real
Let them give you a ride
If they got thunder appeal
Let them be on your side

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Won’t you let the good times roll-oll
Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll
Won’t you let the good times roll
Well let the good times roll
Let ’em roll (good times roll)

Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Ooh let the good times roll
Let ’em roll (good times roll)

Let the good times roll
(Let the good times roll)
Let the good times roll
Good times roll
(Let the good times roll)
Let the good times roll
Let ’em roll

Ric Ocasek found dead today

Sad news from New York tonight. Ric Ocasek was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday, law enforcement confirmed. Some reports say he was 75 and some say he was 70.

Ric wrote some of the best pop hits of the late seventies and eighties for the Cars. The Cars were a big part of my teenage years.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Ric-Ocasek-Cars-Singer-Dead-in-NY-at-75-560430391.html

https://pagesix.com/2019/09/15/the-cars-frontman-ric-ocasek-found-dead-in-manhattan-townhouse/

 

The Cars – Just What I Needed

Ric Ocasek wrote this in a basement at a commune in Newton, Massachusetts where he lived. Benjamin Orr the bass player sang it. The 2-track demo recorded by the band became the most-requested song by a local band in the history of WBCN, a popular rock station in Boston.

The song peaked at #27 in the Billboard 100, #17 in the UK, and #35 in Canada in 1978. The song was on their self-titled debut album that peaked at #18 in the Billboard Album charts in 1979. The Cars set the bar high with their debut album with two songs (My Best Friends Girl, Just What I Needed) in the top 40 and one song (Let The Good Times Roll) just missing it at #41. At least 6 out of the 9 songs on the album is still being played on classic radio.

From Songfacts

This established The Cars as one of New Wave’s leading hitmakers and helped get them a deal with Elektra Records.

Lead vocals were by bass player Ben Orr, but it was written by lead singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek. Orr died of Pancreatic cancer in 2000.

This was the group’s first single. The Cars evolved from a trio called Milkwood.

The group’s manager took the Cars’ demo tape to two Boston radio stations and got it regular airplay before the group re-recorded it and released this as a single.

Seven years after it was first released, this made its second appearance on a single – this time as the B-side of the Cars’ last Top 10 hit, “Tonight She Comes.” >>

This song was used in the opening credits of the Oscar-winning film Boys Don’t Cry starring Hillary Swank. 

This was used in Circuit City ads when the electronics store used the slogan, “Just What I Needed.”

Just What I Needed

I don’t mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
’cause when you’re standing oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It’s not the perfume that you wear
It’s not the ribbons in your hair
I don’t mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
I don’t mind you hanging out
And talking in your sleep
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been
As long as it was deep
You always knew to wear it well
You look so fancy I can tell
I don’t mind you hanging out
And talking in your sleep
I guess you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to feed
I guess you’re just what I needed
I needed someone to bleed

The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl

This song is off of The Cars great debut album. The song is full of catchy hooks. What makes this song to me is guitarist Elliot Easton’s Rockabilly licks flowing through it. The song was written and sung by Ric Ocasek. The song peaked at #44 in the Billboard 100, #3 in the Uk and #55 in Canada in 1978.

Ric Ocasek

Nothing in that song happened to me personally. I just figured having a girlfriend stolen was probably something that happened to a lot of people.

I wrote the words and music at the same time: “You’re always dancing down the street / with your suede blue eyes / And every new boy that you meet / he doesn’t know the real surprise.”

The “suede blue eyes” line was a play on Carl Perkins’s “Blue Suede Shoes.” When I wrote, “You’ve got your nuclear boots / and your drip-dry glove,” I envisioned the boots and gloves as a cool ’50s fashion statement.

As for the last lines—“And when you bite your lip / it’s some reaction to love”—they were an emotional gesture. I was reading a lot of poets then.

At some point, I realized my lyrics didn’t include the words “My Best Friend’s Girl.” So I pulled out the lyrics someone had typed up and added a chorus in the margin in pen: “She’s my best friend’s girl / she’s my best friend’s girl / but she used to be mine.”

I liked the twist. Up until that point, you think the singer stole his best friend’s girl based on how good he feels about her: “When she’s dancing ’neath the starry sky / she’ll make you flip.”

With the last line of the chorus, “But she used to be mine,” you realize the guy didn’t steal his best friend’s girl—his friend stole her away from him.

My Best Friend’s Girl

You’re always dancing down the street
With your suede blue eyes
And every new boy that you meet
He doesn’t know the real surprise
Here she comes again
When she’s dancing ‘neath the starry sky
She’ll make you flip
Here she comes again
When she’s dancing ‘neath the starry sky
You kinda like the way she dips
She’s my best friend’s girl
She’s my best friend’s girl
And she used to be mine
You’ve got your nuclear boots
And your drip dry glove
And when you bite your lip
It’s some reaction to love