Tributes paid to The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek for his ‘perfect pop songs’

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Billy Idol and Bryan Adams were among those remembering the singer-songwriter.
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Billy Idol and Bryan Adams were among those remembering the singer-songwriter.

Tributes have been paid to The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek after he was found dead in a Manhattan apartment.

Rock band The Cars were known for chart-topping hits in the late 1970s and 1980s including radio favourite Drive, Just What I Needed and Shake It Up.

The 75-year-old, who also had success as a solo artist and producer, was found dead at around 4pm on Sunday after New York City police officers responded to a 911 call.

A medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death, but police said there was no sign of foul play.

The music world paid tribute after news of the US singer’s death broke.

Canadian star Bryan Adams wrote: “RIP Ric Ocasek. Great songwriter and singer for the Cars #RIPRicOcasek”

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, real name Michael Balzary, wrote on Instagram: “Ahh man, say it ain’t so. I loved Ric Ocasek.

“What an interesting, smart, kind, funny man who made incredible records. I loved those Cars albums when I was a teenager.

“Perfect pop songs with those wicked Elliot Easton guitar solos. Absolute candy.

“Then he went and produced Rock For Light by the Bad Brains. As an adult I met him several times and he was gracious, funny and engaging. Ahh man.

“Ahh damn. Bless his soul. R.I.P. Transcend to the other side Ric. So much love and appreciation from me. You’re All I Got Tonight.”

English punk rocker Billy Idol wrote: “Sorry to hear about Ric Ocasek RIP. Loved his work with the band”

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers hailed Ocasek as “my first king”, sharing an email he sent to the late singer some years ago.

In the message he said: “I just wanted to reach out and make you aware of my gratitude for you and your band’s contribution to my life,” before explaining how The Cars’ music had moved him as a teenager.

Alternative US rock band Weezer also paid tribute to Ocasek, who produced their Blue Album and Green Album.

A statement on Twitter said: “The weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday.

“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.”

Punk rocker Courtney Love, who was married to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, shared her condolences on Instagram.

She said: “Rest In Peace #ricocasek I know all of the band hole loved working with you, much love to your family .. #paulina #cars were one of the great bands.”

In May last year, model and actress Paulina Porizkova announced on social media that she and Ocasek had separated after 28 years of marriage.

The pair first met while filming the music video for Drive.

2018 also saw the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Cars helped kick-start the pop-oriented new wave movement of the late 1970s and 80s.

Part of that burgeoning music scene, the band formed in 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The group consisted of singer-songwriter Ocasek, bassist and singer Benjamin Orr, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson.

Their other hits included My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll.

Famously, their plaintive 1984 ballad Drive soundtracked footage of the Ethiopian famine, and was re-released as a single after Live Aid helped raise money for the cause.