Heartbeat City

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Heartbeat City
Studio album by The Cars
Released March 13, 1984
Recorded July 1983 – January 1984
Battery Studios, London
Genre New wave, pop rock, power pop, soft rock
Length 38:41
Label Elektra
Producer The Cars & Robert John "Mutt" Lange
The Cars chronology
Shake It Up
(1981)
Heartbeat City
(1984)
Greatest Hits
(1985)
Singles from Heartbeat City
  1. "You Might Think"
    Released: March 1984 (US)
    November 1984 (UK)
  2. "Magic"
    Released: May 7, 1984
  3. "Drive"
    Released: July 23, 1984
  4. "Hello Again"
    Released: October 15, 1984
  5. "Why Can't I Have You"
    Released: January 1985
  6. "Heartbeat City"
    Released: September 1985 (UK)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]

Heartbeat City is the fifth studio album by American rock band the Cars. Released in 1984, it was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Picking up a positive commercial response, the Cars had many tracks getting airplay, and singles "Drive" and "You Might Think" in particular both became Top 10 hits. The album also received supportive reviews from several critics; for example, Robert Christgau stated that "the glossy approach the Cars invented has made this the best year for pure pop in damn near twenty, and it's only fair that they should return so confidently to form."[4]

Background[edit]

Heartbeat City contains a total of five American Top 40 singles. Of these, "Drive" and "You Might Think" were also Top 10 hits, reaching the #3 and #7 positions, respectively. A number of songs from the album gained significant radio and TV exposure; most notably "You Might Think" and "Magic", which both received heavy airplay on MTV.

The lead vocal on "Drive" was performed by bassist Benjamin Orr. The song's video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton. It features Ocasek arguing with a troubled young woman played by model Paulina Porizkova, whom Ocasek would later marry. "Hello Again" had a video directed by the legendary Andy Warhol, who also appeared onscreen.

The song "Stranger Eyes" was used in the theatrical trailer of the 1986 film Top Gun, but it never made it into the soundtrack. "Looking for Love" was later covered by Austrian singer Falco as "Munich Girls" on his 1985 album Falco 3.

When the Cars performed at Live Aid, they played three songs from the album ("You Might Think", "Drive", plus the album's title track) alongside the fan favorite "Just What I Needed".

The album was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. His commitment to the Cars album meant that he told Def Leppard he could not work on their album, Hysteria. However, due to delays in that album's recording, Lange was eventually able to produce it.

Cover art[edit]

The cover art (including an image of a 1971 Plymouth Duster 340) is from a 1972 piece by Peter Phillips called Art-O-Matic Loop di Loop.[5]

Full cover spread

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ric Ocasek except where noted (Copyright Lido Music). 

Side one
No. Title Vocals Length
1. "Hello Again"   Ocasek 3:47
2. "Looking for Love"   Ocasek 3:52
3. "Magic"   Ocasek 3:57
4. "Drive"   Benjamin Orr 3:55
5. "Stranger Eyes"   Orr 2:35
Side two
No. Title Vocals Length
6. "You Might Think"   Ocasek 3:04
7. "It's Not the Night" (Greg Hawkes, Ocasek) Orr 3:49
8. "Why Can't I Have You"   Ocasek 4:04
9. "I Refuse"   Ocasek 3:16
10. "Heartbeat City" (Titled "Jacki" on original U.S. vinyl and cassette releases) Ocasek 4:31

Personnel[edit]

The Cars[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Andy Topeka: Additional Fairlight programming

Production[edit]

  • Arranged by The Cars
  • Produced by The Cars & Robert John "Mutt" Lange
  • Recorded & Engineered by Nigel Green
  • Mixed by Mike Shipley
  • Mastered by George Marino

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Peak position
1984 Billboard 200 3
1984 UK Album Chart 25

Singles

Year Single Chart Peak position
1984 "You Might Think" Billboard Hot 100 7
1984 "You Might Think" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1984 "It's Not the Night" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 31
1984 "Magic" Billboard Hot 100 12
1984 "Magic" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1984 "Drive" Billboard Hot 100 3
1984 "Drive" Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
1984 "Drive" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
1984 "Hello Again" Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play 8
1984 "Hello Again" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 22
1984 "Hello Again" Billboard Hot 100 20
1985 "Why Can't I Have You" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 11
1985 "Why Can't I Have You" Billboard Hot 100 33

Certifications[edit]

Organization Level Date
RIAA – United States 4x Platinum December 17, 2001

Reissues[edit]

Year Label Edition
2009 Audio Fidelity 24 Karat Gold HDCD

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]