The Cars are an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. The band originated from Boston, Massachusetts, and were signed to Elektra Records by George Daly, then A&R head, in 1977.
The Cars were at the forefront in merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synth-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and which would flower in the early 1980s. The Cars started fresh with their debut album The Cars which went on to go platinum in late 1978, The Cars debut album was called a "genuine rock masterpiece" by allmusic. Probably the most successful and well known song from the album "Just What I Needed", started as a demo in 1977. The song was sent as a mix tape to a local DJ in the Boston area, who played the song in heavy rotation. This soon caught the attention of other DJ's, which led to the signing of the band by Elektra Records in 1977. The Cars have mentioned this numerous times including in their "last" interview in June 2000. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described The Cars' musical style by saying: "they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend."
Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine commented on their style saying "the Cars were nevertheless inspired by proto-punk, garage rock, and bubblegum pop."
The band broke up in 1988, and Ocasek has always discouraged talk of a reunion since then, telling one interviewer in 1997 "I'm saying never and you can count on that." Bassist Benjamin Orr passed away in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren to form a spin-off band, The New Cars, which performed classic Cars and Rundgren songs alongside new material. The remaining members reunited in 2010 to record a new album, titled Move Like This, which will be released May 10, 2011, and a tour to start on the same day.