The news of Ric Ocasek’s death left fans and fellow artists mourning the Cars frontman Sunday night (Sept. 15). Ocasek died in New York City, the NYPD confirmed. He was found unresponsive at his Manhattan residence at East 19th Street, according to police.
Upon learning of Ocasek’s death, many artists shared their thoughts and memories of Ocasek and his music on social media.
“So sad. Such a great writer, singer, player, producer. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace,” Peter Frampton wrote.
“Sorry 2 hear about #ricocasek RIP loved his work with the band #Suicide,” Billy Idol tweeted, referring to the band Suicide, whom Ocasek worked with as a solo artist and producer. Canadian rocker Bryan Adams tweeted, “RIP Ric Ocasek. Great songwriter and singer for the Cars,” while a post from Weezer reads, “The Weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek ” Ocasek produced Weezer’s beloved 1994 debut album as well as two other records by the group, who said they were forever indebted to him in a touching tribute. “We will miss him forever,” they wrote.
The Hold Steady shared a concert clip along with the caption “Our walkout: ‘Since You’re Gone.’ RIP Ric Ocasek.” One of Ocasek’s former neighbors, shock rocker Alice Cooper, recalled the musical impact of the band. “We have lost another great in Rock N Roll Hall Of Famer Ric Ocasek of The Cars. Ric and I actually used to be neighbors for a time when we lived in the Hollywood Hills,” said Cooper. “Ric had a very unique voice for rock n roll, there was just nothing complicated about it and that really gave The Cars an edge on the radio. They spearheaded a simplistic new wave of minimalist rock alongside producer Roy Thomas Baker, much to the delight of car stereos and fans everywhere. Condolences to his family and many fans. We’ll miss ya man.”
Actor Rainn Wilson shared his thoughts with a heartfelt message: “I’m stunned and saddened by the loss of Ric Ocasek – he was a visionary who affected the lives and hearts of everyone who listened to music in the 80s. God Speed, Ric! Keep Moving in Stereo!” The Killers‘ Brandon Flowers shared an email he wrote to Ocasek several years ago, calling the singer his “first king.”
Romantics bassist Rich Cole hung out with Ocasek and the Cars a number of times, both in Boston and the Romantics’ homebase of Detroit, where the band once opened for the Cars. Cole recalls the lanky musician as “very tall” but also “a very cool guy, very approachable, mild-mannered, easygoing. He was just sitting, laid back in a chair smoking a cigarette and we just started yapping about how cool the (music) scene was. He was really happy to be a part of it, as were all of us, and he was saying how he felt there was something new on the horizon, that new music was really starting to take off and that people needed something new.” Cole says Ocasek also spoke about the days he and Benjamin Orr spent in Ann Arbor during the late ’60 and early ’70s. “They were into the folk scene there and really liked it,” Cole remembers. “There was just a bedful of artists and musicians that lent itself to that. He definitely remembered it fondly.”
See their reactions, and messages from others, below.
Feeling grateful for Ric. Had the opportunity to send him this email a couple years back. My first king. Thank you, thank you, thank you. pic.twitter.com/h4u8CXDhRg
— The Killers (@thekillers) September 16, 2019
So sad. Such a great writer, singer, player, producer. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace. https://t.co/YfuW7sPgPD
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) September 16, 2019
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) September 16, 2019
Our walkout: “Since You’re Gone”.
RIP Ric Ocasek pic.twitter.com/si1DI7HtOT
— The Hold Steady (@theholdsteady) September 16, 2019
I’m stunned and saddened by the loss of Ric Ocasek – he was a visionary who affected the lives and hearts of everyone who listened to music in the 80s. God Speed, Ric! Keep Moving in Stereo!
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) September 16, 2019
u want to hear 3m 33s of perfection? go put on “since you’re gone” by the cars.
the pocket, elliot easton’s e-bow solo, ric ocasek’s delivery AND HIS LYRICS!! holy. shit. music beamed in from mars.
“Since you’re gone / well, moonlight ain’t so great”
RIP to a 100% original ??
— matt nathanson (@mattnathanson) September 16, 2019
RIP Ric Ocasek ??
— el-p (@therealelp) September 16, 2019
I will never stop imitating the first Cars album. His influence will always stay with me. RIP and Thank You to Ric Ocasek.
— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) September 16, 2019
Aw, man. RIP #ricocasek and thank you for the songs on “Heartbeat City” alone. You were a true original.
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) September 16, 2019
RIP Ric Ocasek. Great songwriter and singer for the Cars #RIPRicOcasek
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) September 16, 2019
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. #RIPRicOcasek #karlscorner pic.twitter.com/JcTXevr6V8
— weezer (@Weezer) September 16, 2019
The Cars were born the same year as I, and I’ve always held them as a quintessential sound of my childhood, and so on. The sound of an era, while also timeless. Ric Ocasek is amongst the all time best. I encourage my younger followers to seek out this music. RIP https://t.co/6HlMb2NakV
— Sal Vulcano (@SalVulcano) September 16, 2019
Ugh. How horrible. The Cars were one of my very first rock loves. One of my most cherished memories is hanging out w Ric back in 2008 while on #ColbertReport w him. He was so gentle (I was a nobody) and tolerated all my qs about @thestrokes sound and him. https://t.co/nnIg3F8hht
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) September 16, 2019
Ric Ocasek, one of the most gifted songwriter/ producers of the post-punk era has passed. He was so kind and his music was a gift to us all. Thank you for the hooks and the music, Ric. https://t.co/XFncilymB3
— Brian Ray (@brianrayguitar) September 16, 2019
Rest In Peace, Ric Ocasek.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) September 16, 2019
“It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, as long as it was deep.” There’s a #ricocasek lyric for you.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) September 16, 2019
just woke to hear about ric ocasek. i’m so sad and thinking of him very fondly, as i have almost every day for 24 years. he was a father figure to me, always kind and true. making our first album with him was a transformative experience. i will miss him and be forever grateful.
— matthew caws (@nadasurf) September 16, 2019
R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, lead singer with The Cars, at 75. A very cool cat. He was the first person to hear my album The Flat Earth from start to finish, in Mutt Lange’s house in Chelsea.
— Thomas Dolby (@ThomasDolby) September 16, 2019
Listening to the Cars’ first album right now: “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Good Times Roll,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Moving in Stereo.”
From start to finish, it’s pretty perfect. #RIP Ric Ocasek.
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) September 16, 2019
Ric Ocasek was awesome. So many incredible songs that will be enjoyed forever. RIP. pic.twitter.com/VasReI2ECt
— John Cohen (@JohnCohen1) September 16, 2019
Last year, while writing, I listened to the first four Cars albums one afternoon in a row and it was pure power pop bliss. Might just have to do it again today. RIP Ric Ocasek. pic.twitter.com/kT0ue43GKx
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 16, 2019
#ripricocasek We had a lot of fun making the album #FireballZone. This was one of my fav songs #TouchdownEasy. Though it was the 90’s we’d not gotten the memo. It’s super 80’s but cool. https://t.co/ptSdrIHqBA pic.twitter.com/vGL1odM0TL
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) September 16, 2019
Our hearts are heavy with the passing of this legend. Ric Ocasek and his bandmates shaped American new wave and paved the way for so many of us to follow. When we were making our Rock Steady album, Ric was on our… https://t.co/LyOYjfC1pf
— Tony Kanal (@TonyKanal) September 16, 2019
RIP Ric Ocasek. A very sad loss. My condolences to his family. https://t.co/0KXmMC0qEi
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) September 16, 2019
RIP Ric Ocasek pic.twitter.com/SqW6BzrY3r
— Alice Cooper (@alicecooper) September 16, 2019