American new wave legends The Cars burst onto the scene in 1978 with the release of their self-titled debut album. Songs like “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll” are now part of the essential power-pop canon thanks to their brilliant singer/songwriter and mastermind Ric Ocasek. Ocasek tragically died late last year, and he would’ve celebrated his birthday today (March 23), though there is some confusion about his exact birth year. You can read Paste’s obituary here.
To celebrate Ocasek and his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band, we’re sharing audio from their New York City concert in 1978, just a few months after their first album was released. Listen to their influential, synth-laced rock sound right when they began to take off, and don’t forget your skinny ties and mullets! Hear “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll,” as well as not-yet-released tracks from future albums Candy-O and Panorama.
Hear The Cars perform live in 1978 via the Paste vault below.