Ric Ocasek, the co-founding singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist of The Cars, producer for bands like Weezer, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, was found dead at his townhouse in Manhattan on Sunday. Various reports have listed his age at either 70 or 75 years at the time of his death, though no official age was declared at the time of the initial report. Additionally, no cause of death was revealed on Sunday.
Throughout The Cars’ initial run from 1976–1988, Ocasek and the band capitalized on the emergence of New Wave as one of the leading pop/rock genres of that era, penning hits including “Just What I Needed”, “My Best Friend’s Girl”, “Good Times Roll”, and “Shake It Up”. The band’s last reunion came in April 2018 when The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Ocasek’s career as a producer for other artists included projects like Weezer’s successful Blue Album (1994) and Green Album (2001), both of which went on to earn Platinum sales status.certifications.
A statement shared to Weezer’s Twitter on Sunday reads, “We will miss him forever, & will forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him. Rest in Peace & rock on Ric, we love you.”
Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan also shared a lengthy statement on Ocasek’s death, noting, “It has brightened my spirit to see how many have posted about Ric, praising his originality, flair, and brilliance. I was blessed to have known him, through friendship and work.
Listen to “Just What I Needed”, The Cars’ first single, below.
The Cars – “Just What I Needed”