The Cars were an interesting group that combined album-oriented rock with New Wave keyboards and style to become one of the biggest bands during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Formed by Ric Ocasek (vocals, guitar) and Benjamin Orr (vocals, bass), the group expanded with the addition of Elliot Easton (guitar), Greg Hawkes (keyboards), and David Robinson (drums, ex-Modern Lovers). The group was one of the first groups to popularize the New Wave sound, though ironically they were viewed more favorably by traditional “rock” fans than new wave “hipsters”.

The Cars’ self-titled debut album is one of the best debuts ever. It features nine tracks, all of which received extensive airplay on rock radio. “Just What I Needed”, “Best Friend’s Girl”, and “Good Times Roll” all were top 40 hits, and other memorable songs included “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” and “Bye Bye Love”. The songs blended acoustic rock drum sounds, heavy keyboards, and rhythmic guitar riffs. Lead vocals were split almost evenly by Ocasek (the alien-looking nominal frontman for the group) and Orr. The album went platinum right away and has since sold over six million copies.

The album ended with “Moving in Stereo” and then segues into “All Mixed Up”, which resulted in both songs often being played together on FM radio stations. Both songs were sun by Orr and both featured spacey keyboard intros. “Moving in Stereo” features a strong guitar riff, but heavy solo sections from cowriter Hawkes’ keyboards. The song also features more synthetic sound drum sections, as well as some stereo effects designed to delight listeners with headphones.

“Moving in Stereo” is one of the standout tracks from a standout album, but has since achieved greater recognition thanks to it’s placement in a seminal and oft-parodied scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High featuring Phoebe Cates.

The Cars issued several other albums, all of which were successful. Over the years, Orr’s lead vocals were reduced and Ocasek handled the singing especially on the group’s singles. Their 1984 album Heartbreak City was produced by Def Leppard and AC/DC producer Mutt Lange and contained five top 40 hits, including the top 10 hits “You Might Think” (MTV Video of the Year) and “Drive” (with Orr on lead vocals). But after the mediocre Door to Door album, the group broke up in 1987. Ocasek in particular said he’s never perform again with the group, though they did reunite for an interview in 2000 as Benjamin Orr was stricken with cancer. He died shortly after the recording of the interview. However, the band reunited in 2011 with a well-received new album and is touring once again.