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Ric Ocasek & The Cars’ Biggest Billboard Chart Hits

Ric Ocasek was one of the most influential and revered new wave and power pop musicians of all time. His solo catalog and his work as frontman for The Cars also made an impressive dent on Billboard's…

Ric Ocasek was one of the most influential and revered new wave and power pop musicians of all time. His solo catalog and his work as frontman for The Cars also made an impressive dent on Billboard’s charts.

As previously reported, Ocasek died Sunday after being found unresponsive in his Manhattan townhouse, New York City police confirmed to Billboard.

The Cars tallied 18 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, all between 1978 and 1988. Of those, four reached the top 10 and 13 reached the top 40.

Here’s a look at Ocasek’s biggest Hot 100 hits, combining his solo entries with his hits with The Cars. (The lone Ocasek solo track in the top 10 is No. 6’s “Emotion in Motion.”)

Rank, Title, Peak Date
1. “Shake It Up,” No. 4, Feb. 27, 1982
2. “Drive,” No. 3, Sept. 29, 1984
3. “Tonight She Comes,” No. 7, Jan. 11, 1986
4. “You Might Think,” No. 7, April 28, 1984
5. “Magic,” No. 12, July 7, 1984
6. “Emotion In Motion,” No. 15, Nov. 15, 1986
7. “You Are The Girl,” No. 17, Oct. 24, 1987
8. “Let’s Go,” No. 14, Sept. 8, 1979
9. “Hello Again,” No. 20, Dec. 22, 1984
10. “Why Can’t I Have You,” No. 33,  March 30, 1985

Ric Ocasek’s Biggest Billboard Hot 100 Hits are based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 through the chart dated Sept. 21, 2019. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.

Ocasek also notched two additional solo Hot 100 entries in his career: “Something to Grab For” hit No. 47 in 1983 and “True to You” peaked at No. 75 in 1987.

Looking at The Cars’ albums catalog, the group notched 10 albums on the Billboard 200 during Ocasek’s lifetime, including five top 10 efforts.

The act’s 1978 self-titled debut entered the chart on July 1, 1978 — two weeks after the group logged its first Billboard hit on any list with the single “Just What I Needed” on the Hot 100.

The success of the self-titled album (which reached No. 18 on the March 24, 1979 chart, and was a fixture on the list through early 1981) and its trio of Hot 100 hits (“Just What I Needed,” “Good Times Roll” and “My Best Friend’s Girl”) helped earn the band a Grammy Award nomination for best new artist.

The Cars’ second album, 1979’s Candy-O, would scale higher on the Billboard 200, reaching No. 3. The Grammy-nominated effort — sporting an iconic pinup cover image illustrated by Alberto Vargas — launched the singles “Let’s Go” and “It’s All I Can Do.”

Panorama (No. 5) followed in 1980, and the group’s fourth effort, Shake It Up (No. 9), arrived in 1981. The latter sported The Cars’ first Hot 100 top 10 hit — and biggest hit ever — with the title track, reaching No. 4.

After Shake It Up, Ocasek issued his first solo effort, 1982’s Beatitude, which peaked at No. 28. The set featured his first solo hit single “Something to Grab For” (No. 47 peak).

The Cars’ fifth album, Heartbeat City, premiered in 1984 and topped out at No. 3. The set was the band’s most successful in terms of generating hits on the Hot 100, as the album yielded a whopping five top 40 singles: “You Might Think” (No. 4), “Magic” (No. 12), “Drive” (No. 3), “Hello Again” (No. 20) and “Why Can’t I Have You” (No. 33). “Drive” also spent three weeks atop the Adult Contemporary Songs airplay chart. The album generated four Grammy nominations: best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal (“Drive”), best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal (Heartbeat City), best video album (Heartbeat City) and producer of the year (non-classical) for the band and Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The music video for “You Might Think” also took home the inaugural best video of the year trophy at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 (beating Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” among others).

After Heartbeat City, the band issued its first Greatest Hits album in 1985 (No. 12). The set offered up a previously unreleased track in “Tonight She Comes,” which marked the group’s last top 10 Hot 100 hit, peaking at No. 7 in January of 1986. Later that year, Ocasek dropped his second solo set, This Side of Paradise, reaching No. 31 on the Billboard 200. It nabbed a pair of Hot 100 hits, including the top 20 single “Emotion in Motion” (No. 17). Ocasek released five more solo studio sets through 2005’s Nexterday, though none of them charted.

The Cars’ sixth studio effort, Door to Door, opened in 1987 and reached No. 26 on the Billboard 200. It contained three Hot 100 hits: “You Are the Girl” (No. 17), “Strap Me In” (No. 85) and “Coming Up You” (No. 74).

The band’s seventh and final studio album, Move Like This, was released in 2011. It returned the act to the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart, debuting and peaking at No. 7.

Billboard estimates The Cars’ catalog of albums have sold over 15 million in the U.S., based on a blend of Recording Industry Association of America shipment certifications before 1991, and Nielsen Music point-of-sale data from 1991-onwards.

–Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield