The track was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. Written and sung by Cars lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, it was released as the album's third single.
"Good Times Roll", along with the rest of the tracks from The Cars, was recorded in just two weeks. However, the album's chart success was so long-lived that the release of its follow-up, 1979's Candy-O, was delayed.
The song begins with electronic drums and a guitar riff, soon joined by Ocasek's lead vocals and synthesizers by keyboardist Greg Hawkes. Despite the up-tempo-sounding title, "Good Times Roll" is a mid-tempo song, with a beat described as "languid," "psychedelic" and "creepy." The lyrics are similarly described as "withering" and Ocasek's vocal style as "clinical."
Of the nine tracks on The Cars, "Good Times Roll" was the only song for which no demo recording could be found during the compilation of the 1999 The Cars: Deluxe Edition package. Instead, a live version of "Good Times Roll" is included alongside demo versions of the other eight tracks.