Our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list presents the music of an American singer-songwriter famed for his impact on the new wave scene in the 1970s. Born in 1944, Ric Ocasek rose to stardom as the lead vocalist of the new wave outfit The Cars. The singer guided The Cars into becoming among the groundbreaking new wave bands in the United States. After four Platinum-certified LPs with The Cars, Ric Ocasek started his solo career in 1982.
While his solo career might not have matched his impactful tenure as The Cars’ frontman, Ric Ocasek still enjoyed success with hits “Emotion in Motion,” “Something to Grab For,” and “True to You.” The singer also worked as a record producer, working with prodigious acts like Weezer, No Doubt, Suicide, and Bad Brains.
Ric Ocasek’s Album Releases over the Years
In 1982, Ric Ocasek went on to issue his debut studio album, Beatitude. Beatitude saw Ric Ocasek work with The Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes and former Ministry drummer Stephen George. The album was a success in the mainstream, rising to number twenty-eight on the Billboard 200. “Something to Grab For,” one of the best Ric Ocasek songs from the album, was the singer’s first solo effort to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number forty-seven. Other great songs by the singer from the album include “Jimmy Jimmy,” “Out of Control,” and “Connect Up to Me.”
Ric Ocasek returned in 1986 with his sophomore studio album, This Side of Paradise. The album finds the singer working with Billy Idol’s guitarist Steve Stevens, Adam and the Ants’ drummer Chris Hughes, and fellow co-lead vocalist at The Cars Benjamin Orr. This Side of Paradise went on to peak at number thirty-one on the Billboard 200. The album also graced the Australian Albums Chart, rising to a peak position of number twenty-four. “Emotion in Motion,” “True to You,” and “Keep on Laughin’” are the best Ric Ocasek songs from This Side of Paradise.
In 1991, Ric Ocasek issued his third studio album, Fireball Zone. This was his first studio album issued through the Frank Sinatra-founded Reprise Records. His previous solo outing had been issued through Geffen Records. Fireball Zone failed to make it to the Billboard 200, but entered the Australian Albums Chart, peaking at number one hundred and nineteen. “Rockaway,” “Come Back,” and “The Way You Look Tonight” are the most popular songs by Ric Ocasek from the album.
Quick Change World, issued in 1993, marked the pop/new wave singer’s fourth solo outing. The album featured guitarist Eric Schermerhorn, who has also played with Melissa Etheridge, Iggy Pop, The The, and David Bowie. Unfortunately, the album failed to make it to the charts. Nevertheless, Quick Change World managed to features musical gems such as “Don’t Let Go,” “A Little Closer,” and “Feelings Got to Stay.”
The singer went on to issue his fifth album, Negative Theater in October 1993. Negative Theater was issued as a European-only CD, featuring guitarist Eric Schermerhorn, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, and bassist Darryl Jenifer. Darryl is best known for her impactful career as the bassist to The White Mandingos and Bad Brains. A few of the songs on the album were previously issued by Ric Ocasek on his fourth LP. Some of the best Ric Ocasek new songs from the album include “Shake a Little Nervous” and “Race to Nowhere,” a song penned by Suicide vocalist Alan Vega.
In 1997, Ric Ocasek issued his sixth solo studio album, Troublizing. The album was issued through Columbia Records with production work handled by Ric Ocasek and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. Troublizing featured Ira Elliot and Matt Walker on the drums, Brian Baker and Billy Corgan on the guitars, Melissa Auf der Maur on the bass, and Greg Hawkes on the keyboards. Matt Walker has also served as a session drummer for Morrissey, Filter, and The Smashing Pumpkins. On the other hand, guitarist Brian Baker is best known for his tenure as a guitarist in Bad Religion and Minor Threat. “The Next Right Moment,” “Hang On Tight,” and “Not Shocked” are some of the best Ric Ocasek songs from the singers sixth studio album.
Ric Ocasek issued his seventh and last solo outing, Nexterday in 2005. The album was issued through Sanctuary Records, with the singer handling the production work. Nexterday failed to impress in the mainstream but still managed to feature musical gems such as “Crackpot,” “Silver,” “Please Don’t Let Me Down,” and “Carousel.”
Ric Ocasek’s Legacy
Ric Ocasek has been termed to be one of the idiosyncratic singers in the new wave scene since his impactful outings as a member of The Cars. However, the singer still managed to fuse some pop influences to his signature new wave sound. Ric Ocasek also went down as one of the most reputable producers working with multiple acts including Weezer, Bad Religion, No Doubt, Suicide, and Bad Brains.
Ric Ocasek and other members of The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 by Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Other artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 include Nina Simone, members of The Moody Blues, members of Bon Jovi, and members of Dire Straits. Here we present the ten best Ric Ocasek songs of all time.
#10 – Silver
Opening up our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list is the phenomenal hit “Silver.” The song was penned by Ric Ocasek and featured on his seventh and last solo studio album, Nexterday. “Silver” serves as a soulful tribute by Ric Ocasek following the loss of his collaborator and fellow bandmate in The Cars, Benjamin Orr. Ric Ocasek penned this song some after the death of Benjamin Orr in 2000 as a result of pancreatic cancer.
Ric Ocasek and Benjamin had a fall out which led to the dissolution of their former band. However, they made amends before Benjamin succumbed to his illness. In this song, Ric Ocasek terms Benjamin Orr to have been his right hand, friend, his star, and his “Silver.” The song is a perfect track to eulogize a lost pillar/friend in someone’s life.
#9 – Rockaway
“Rockaway” is an upbeat song by Ric Ocasek that is best remembered for its electrifying groove. The song is featured on the singer’s third studio album, Fireball Zone. Its cognisant lyrical content brings out the true shine in Ric Ocasek’s songwriting skills. “Rockaway” is among the songs by Ric Ocasek produced by guitarist Nile Rodgers of Chic.
Nile’s amazing production skills have seen him work with other artists including Diana Ross, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Laurie Anderson, and Johnny Mathis, and Jeff Beck. You ought to love this song’s accompanying music video for its beautiful feel. “Rockaway” made it to the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at number eleven. The song also graced the Canadian Singles Chart, peaking at the forty-sixth spot.
#8 – The Next Right Moment
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list is the raving hit “The Next Right Moment.” The song is the brightest hit on the singer’s sixth studio album, Troublizing. Brian Baker of Bad Religion and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins rock it out on the guitars while Ira Elliot of Nada Surf handles this song’s drums. On the other hand, Melissa Auf der Maur provides us with the amazing bass lines in this raving hit. Additionally, Melissa sings backing vocals complementing Ric Ocasek’s uplifting vocal delivery.
#7 – This Side of Paradise
If there’s a song that evocative of Ric Ocasek’s tenure as a vocalist of The Cars is “This Side of Paradise.” The song serves as the album title track of Ric Ocasek’s sophomore studio album.
Steve Stevens, Billy Idol’s songwriting partner and guitarist, plays the guitars on this hit. “This Side of Paradise” is a moody yet melodic hit that proves to be a brilliant piece of Ric Ocasek’s new wave sound. It feels almost criminal how this hit didn’t make it to the mainstream charts.
#6 – Jimmy Jimmy
Number six on our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list is the exceptional hit “Jimmy Jimmy.” The song is among the top hits Ric Ocasek issued on his debut studio album, Beatitude. “Jimmy Jimmy” is a radical synth-pop influenced new wave hit that still sounds as fresh as it was three decades ago.
The song’s melody is spectacular and helped fuel the song’s success on MTV. While “Jimmy Jimmy” failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, the song made it to the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, where it peaked at number twenty-five. The song also graced the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, peaking at number sixty.
#5- Feelings Got to Stay
Quick Change World, the singer’s fourth solo outing, is home to the fifth best Ric Ocasek song on our list, “Feelings Got to Stay.” This mid-range tempo song is delivered with a feel that feels quite pacifying. However, “Feelings Got to Stay” is far from a calming song with its lyrics telling more about its poignant nature. Beautiful and emotionally stirring feels like the perfect phrase that fully describe this hit.
#4- True to You
“True to You” is yet another magical cut from Ric Ocasek’s sophomore studio album, This Side of Paradise. Haunting is the one word that fully describes the song’s groove. “Trust to You” is a lyrical masterpiece by Ric Ocasek delivered in an upbeat tune. Ric Ocasek gives us a taste of his remarkable vocal performance joined on the backing vocals by Benjamin Orr, his former co-lead vocalist at The Cars.
“True to You” also features other members of The Cars, Elliot Easton on the guitars and Greg Hawkes on the keyboards. The song is the last solo hit by Ric to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, rising to a peak position of number seventy-five. “True to You” also made it to the Australian Singles Chart, peaking at number 100.
#3- The Way You Look Tonight
The third pick on our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list is the charming hit “The Way You Look Tonight.” Together with “Rockaway,” “The Way You Look Tonight” helped crown Ric Ocasek’s third studio album, Fireball Zone as a minor mainstream success. While this hit never made it to the mainstream charts, the song is a gem to all Ric Ocasek fans. The simple yet elegant delivery of the song makes it quite a masterpiece!
#2- Something to Grab For
“Something to Grab For” is among the top musical gems from Ric Ocasek that received quite some airplay on MTV. The song was issued on his debut studio album, Beatitude. “Something to Grab For” features a short guitar solo by Casey Lindstrom, a member of The New Models.
The song was Ric Ocasek’s first solo hit to make it to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, peaking at number forty-seven. “Something to Grab For” also made it to the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at number five.
#1- Emotion in Motion
Number one on our top 10 Ric Ocasek songs list is the alluring hit “Emotion on Motion.” The song is the best cut off the singer’s sophomore studio album, This Side of Paradise. “Emotion in Motion” was penned by Ric Ocasek with its lyrics alluding to a lady who means everything to Ric Ocasek.
“Emotion in Motion” is Ric Ocasek’s only solo hit to make it to the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number fifteen. The song also topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, rising number eight on the Australian Singles Chart. “Emotion in Motion”
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