So of all the Cars solo projects (I haven’t forgotten Greg Hawkes’ 1983 effort – but it’s mostly instrumental), whose do you think was the most successful? You’d think the main vocalist and songwriter, Ric Ocasek’s, right?
Wellllll…yeah. While Ric’s first stab at non-Cars success stumbled out of the gate, his second solo release, 1986’s This Side of Paradise scored a #15 hit with “Emotion In Motion”. But that same year, Benjamin Orr, Cars bassist and other vocalist (he sang “Drive” and “Just What I Needed” among others, ‘membz?) released his first solo album, The Lace, and scored a sizeable ballad-y hit of his own with “Stay The Night”.
Surprisingly, The Lace isn’t half bad – it’s very much a product of its time, a showcase of mid-80s radio-friendly rock in the vein of your Mister Misters, et al. I’m a particular fan of the second single, the very Cars-like “Too Hot To Stop”, complete with appearances in the video from Hawkes and Cars drummer David Robinson. While not in the video, Cars guitarist Elliot Easton played on the album. There’s just one thing missing…
That’s right, no Ric. But hey, plenty of hot chicks with extremely feathered hair in flowing robes! And Ben’s “dancing” shows why The Cars tended to stand still in place during live shows. Yikes.
Sadly, Orr died of pancreatic cancer in late 2000, effectively ending any chance for a full-fledged Cars reunion. But the band did come together once more after this solo effort to record their final album…which we’ll look at next time.
“Too Hot To Stop” peaked at #25 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart in 1987.
The Lace has recently been re-released – you can pick it up at Amazon.