Shake It Up (The Cars song)

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"Shake It Up"
Single by The Cars
from the album Shake It Up
B-side "Cruiser"
Released November 9, 1981 (1981-11-09)
Format 7"
Recorded Syncro Sound, Boston 1981
Genre New wave, dance-rock, synthpop
Length 3:32
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Ric Ocasek
Producer(s) Roy Thomas Baker
The Cars singles chronology
"Gimme Some Slack"
"Shake It Up"/"Cruiser"
"Since You're Gone"

"Shake It Up" is a song and title track by American Rock band The Cars from their 1981 album of the same name. Although appearing for the first time in 1981, it was actually written years earlier by the band's songwriter and lead singer, Ric Ocasek. The song would go on to become The Cars' most popular party song (peaking at number two on the US mainstream rock chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1982). With the track, "Cruiser" as its b-side, it hit number fourteen on the US dance chart[1] and continues to be a staple of dance parties. In the music video for it, some of the models crossdress. The song is primarily reliant on dance-pop as its main genre, with pop rock elements audible. Elliot Easton's chorus guitar stabs and the guitar solo relate pop rock elements. Add to these keyboardist Greg Hawkes synthesizer lines, the associated instrument of bands labeled "new wave" at the time, and it is a prime example of The Cars genre blending. Kids Incorporated in the episode "Superbike" covered this song in 1984. The Chipmunks and The Chipettes covered this song for the 1985 TV special A Chipmunk Reunion.


"I didn't even want to learn that song!" drummer David Robinson remembered. "We've had it kicking around for years. It never sounded good. We recorded it a couple of times in the studio and dumped it, and we were going to try it one more time, and I was fighting everybody . . . So we thought, let's start all over again, like we've never even heard it—completely change every part—and we did. Then, when it was through and all put back together, it was like a brand-new song."[2]


The song references dance moves, hair styles and having fun. However, bassist Benjamin Orr has stated the song tells the story of how important it is to make a mark in life, to "let them know what you really mean"[3] Thus, the hit song has an existential element as well as a simple message.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 52. 
  2. ^ Toby Goldstein, Frozen Fire: The Story of The Cars, published 1985 by Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago IL. ISBN 0-8092-5257-0
  3. ^ [1]

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