RIP, Ric Ocasek of The Cars

Well, this is upsetting.

Two RIP posts in two days (and both from the same era). We’ve lost another rock legend, this time Ric Ocasek.

Alas, as of this post we don’t yet know what happened, but if you don’t know the name, you for sure know the music—one of the most essential new wave rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Ocasek was the founder, main songwriter, singer, and rhythm guitarist for The Cars, a band that marks the end of the ’70s and early ’80s as much as any other band of the time. They were a mainstay of MTV in its early days. Just last year, in 2018, Ric Ocasek and The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The New York Times called him a new wave rock visionary.

“(T)he Cars were the ultimate New Wave dream machine: a hook-savvy super-charged quintet that fused 60s pop, 70s glam and avant-rock minimalism into a decade of dashboard-radio nirvana,” the band’s biography reads on the Hall of Fame website.

As usual in our ICA tributes, I want to post what I believe are among the better songs for an indoor cycling class. But The Cars had so many hits, your favorites might be different than mine. I suggest you do a search on Spotify and find which ones appeal to you. I assure you that unless you teach nothing but high school or college kids, there are going to be some people in your class who have a special place in their hearts and memories for The Cars, so don’t be wary of sprinkling a handful of tracks into your rides this week.

In my suggested tracks below, I also tried to select from a wide range of tempos so you have some choices at different cadences.

Let’s Go, 3:33, 132 bpm (1979)
One of their early hits. Stand on the chorus when he sings, “Let’s go!” Then sit back down for the refrains.

Shake It Up, 3:45, 147 bpm (1981)
This fun track has a medium-fast climbing tempo at 74 rpm. It fits in nicely for a retro or dancing theme ride.

Don’t Cha Stop, 3:03, 158 bpm (1978)
This is one of their faster-tempo, higher-energy tracks (that aren’t 106 bpm and above), making it a fun high-cadence climb (79 rpm). If you want to use this song for a higher-intensity 3-minute interval above threshold (anaerobic), the lyrics also work well as a motivator to keep pushing through until the end. Allow riders to sit or stand as needed—anything to help them get through.

Drive, 3:58, 83 bpm, 1984
The rhythm of this track is very nondescript. It’s a perfect way to end your class for your cool-down. It was also their highest-ranking song, reaching #3 on the Billboard Top 100, and was prominently featured in the 1985 event Live Aid, where it was used as the background song in a montage depicting famine in Ethiopia.

You Might Think, 3:05, 134 bpm (1984)
The driving tempo of this song (typical of the 1980s) works great for jumps. Alternate seated with a standing climb, preferably at an 8-beat count.

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