When music historians and writers talk about the history of New Wave, the mid-seventies scene at CBGB’s night club in New York will always come up. Bands like Talking Heads, Television and Blondie will always be mentioned, and rightfully so. Some will even go back further and bring up names like The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, and The New York Dolls. Anytime you talk about the history of New Wave it should be mandatory that you also have to talk about the first album from The Cars which was released on June 6, 1978.
The band and legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker created a masterpiece that fused rock, pop and synthesizers that perhaps more so than any other record set the tone for the early 80’s new wave heyday. The self-titled debut featured three singles, two of which hit the top forty. All three songs, while never going any higher than #27 on the singles charts in America all became classics. Just what I needed, My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll have never left the airwaves becoming staples of album-oriented and classic rock radio.
Three other songs, You’re All I Got Tonight, Moving in Stereo, and Bye Bye Love, while never being released as singles also became mainstays on rock radio. The eighties classic film Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured Moving in Stereo in a memorable scene featuring Phoebe Cates and Judge Reinhardt. The album went on to become six times platinum.
The Cars should be in the mix of every true New Wave fans music collection. The album was ahead of its time then and still sounds fresh forty-one years later.