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Something To Grab For
by Ric Ocasek
FAST-TRACK: Ric Ocasek (1944 to 2019) was a American musician/songwriter and producer, with 'The Cars'. Ric Ocasek was born Richard Theodore Otcasek on March 23rd 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, but when he was 16 his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the city's Maple Heights High School in 1963, then briefly attended Antioch College and Bowling Green State University before dropping out to pursue a career in music. Ocasek met future 'The Cars' bassist Benjamin Orr in Cleveland in 1965 after seeing him perform with the band 'The Grasshoppers' on the "Big 5 Show", a local musical variety programme. They met again a few years later in Columbus, Ohio, and began booking bands together (they formed their own group called 'ID Nirvana' in 1968 and performed with it in and around the Ohio State University). They moved on to various bands in the Columbus and Ann Arbor areas before re-locating to Boston in the early 1970s, where they formed a tight harmony 'folk-rock' band called 'Milkwood'. That line-up released just one album, "How's the Weather", on 'Paramount Records' in early 1973 but it failed to chart (however, future 'The Cars' keyboardist Greg Hawkes played on the record). Ocasek then formed the group 'Richard and the Rabbits' along with Orr and Hawkes, and also performed with Orr as an acoustic duo during this period. (Some of the songs the pair played became the basis for early songs by 'The Cars'.) After then failing with the band 'Cap'n Swing', he, Hawkes and Orr added drummer David Robinson to their roster to form 'The Cars' in late 1976. They went on to have numerous hit songs during their heyday between 1978 and 1988 - also during this time they pursued various personal solo projects (he himself released his debut solo album in 1982, and soon became a successful songwriter and producer for other people too). Ocasek's solo career proper took off following the release of his 1990 album "Fireball Zone". In 2010 however, the surviving original members of 'The Cars' reunited to record their first album in 24 years - called "Move Like This", it was issued in May 2011. He and the other members of 'The Cars' were inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in 2018, and in that same year a number of his paintings were exhibited in a national tour, showcasing yet another of his talents. A sufferer from cardiovascular disease, Ric Ocasek died from the natural cause effects of that condition in New York on September 15th 2019, aged 75.
Posted: 16th September 2019
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace ✚", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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