Drive (The Cars song)

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"Drive" by The Cars US vinyl A-side.jpg
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by The Cars
from the album Heartbeat City
B-side "Stranger Eyes"
Released July 23, 1984 (1984-07-23)
Format 7" single, 12" vinyl , Mini Cd
Recorded 1983
Length 3:54
Label Elektra 69706
Songwriter(s) Ric Ocasek
Producer(s) Robert John "Mutt" Lange
The Cars
The Cars singles chronology
"Hello Again"
"Hello Again"
Audio sample
Music video
"Drive" on YouTube

"Drive" is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band's Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. Written by Ric Ocasek, the track was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr[1] and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange with the band.[2] Upon its release, "Drive" became The Cars' highest charting single in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1.[3] It reached No. 4 in West Germany, No. 6 in Canada, No. 5 (No. 4 on re-entry in 1985) in the UK and No. 3 (No. 5 on re-entry in 1985) in Ireland.

The song is associated with the July 1985 Live Aid event, where it was performed by Benjamin Orr during the Philadelphia event; previously, the song was used as the background music to a montage of clips depicting the contemporaneous Ethiopian famine during the London event, which was introduced by English musician David Bowie.[4][5] Following the concert it was re-released in the UK and peaked at No. 4 in August 1985. Proceeds from the sales of the re-released song raised nearly £160,000 for the Band Aid Trust: Ocasek presented the charity's trustee Midge Ure with a cheque for the amount while he was in London in November 1986 promoting his solo album This Side of Paradise.[6]

In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song for being "a gorgeous ballad that matches heartfelt songwriting to an alluring electronic soundscape. The music reflects the lyrical tone with a lovely melody that rises and falls in a soothing yet sad fashion."[7]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton and features model and actress Paulina Porizkova, who would later become Ric Ocasek's wife.[8]

The video alternates between shots of Orr sitting in a disused nightclub, facing mannequins posed at the bar as customers and bartender, and scenes that depict the breakdown of a relationship between the characters played by Ocasek and Porizkova. Ultimately left alone, the woman cries and laughs hysterically for a time before visiting the nightclub. She looks sadly in through a dirty window at the stage, where tuxedo-clad mannequins of the band members are posed with their instruments as if playing a show, and turns to walk away as the video ends.

Hutton later recalled that his directing the video came about because he was living next to Elliot Roberts, the manager of The Cars. They were listening to tracks from the then-unreleased album Heartbeat City and Hutton told Roberts he was particularly impressed by the track "Drive."

At that time, everybody was making videos. It was the height of MTV, and when you made a record, you were also thinking about the video. I talked to Elliott about how much I liked that song “Drive,” and I started describing all the different ways I thought they could go with it, as far as the video. And he said, “You know, everything you’re saying sounds really interesting. Do you mind if… Would you be up for me passing that concept along to Ric Ocasek?” I said, “Sure!” So he got back to me the next day and said, “Ric and I think you should direct the video. We love your idea, your take on it.” So that’s how that happened. And about a month later, I was in New York at the Astoria Studios over two days, filming the video.[9]

Hutton and Ric Ocasek became friends which led to the latter being cast in Made in Heaven.

Track listing[edit]

7" single
  1. "Drive"
  2. "Stranger Eyes"[10]
12" single
  1. "Drive"
  2. "My Best Friend's Girl"
  3. "Stranger Eyes"[11]


Chart (1984–85) Position
Australia (ARIA)[12] 10
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[13] 8
Canada (Billboard Canada)[14] 6
France (SNEP)[15] 9
Germany (Official German Charts)[16] 4
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[20] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 15
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[25] 1
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[26] 9


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

The song was used in a 1984 episode of the American soap opera Santa Barbara and 2013 American TV series The Carrie Diaries.

The song was used in the 2007 film Transformers, playing on the radio in Sam Witwicky's car, Bumblebee.

It was also used in the series Everybody Hates Chris, in the episode " Everybody Hates the Car ".

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drive by The Cars Songfacts". May 12, 1984. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ric Ocasek Rocks CBGB | Music News". Rolling Stone. September 30, 2005. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 49. 
  4. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY | 13 | 1985: Was Live Aid the best rock concert ever?". BBC News. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Geldolf Live Aid". 
  6. ^ NME. London, England: IPC Media: 4. November 15, 1986.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Drive - The Cars | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Video Classics: "Drive" – The Cars". CBS. February 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Timothy Hutton, from Ordinary People and Taps to a Cars video" By Will Harris Random Roles - AV Club Mar 10, 2015 accessed 13 March 2015
  10. ^ "Cars, The - Drive (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Cars, The - Drive (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ " – Cars – Drive". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  13. ^ " – Cars – Drive" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  14. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 41, No. 5". RPM. October 6, 1984. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ " – Cars – Drive" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  16. ^ " – Cars Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Chart Track: Week 43, 1984". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Cars search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  19. ^ " – Cars – Drive". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  20. ^ " – Cars – Drive". VG-lista. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  21. ^ " – Cars – Drive". Singles Top 100. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  22. ^ " – Cars – Drive". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "31, 1985/ Archive Chart: August 31, 1985" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  24. ^ "The Cars – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Cars.
  25. ^ "The Cars – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for The Cars.
  26. ^ "The Cars – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for The Cars.
  27. ^ "British single certifications – The Cars – Drive". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Drive in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  28. ^ "'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand (Music From The Feature Film)'". Discogs. Retrieved April 17, 2016. 
  29. ^ Kritik von Martin Mengele. "Drive von Scorpions – – Song". Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Various - 50 First Dates - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Jason Donovan's Drive cover of The Cars's Drive". WhoSampled. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  32. ^ Fulton, Rick (October 23, 2010). "Jason Donovan reveals how becoming a dad helped him kick cocaine habit". Daily Record. Glasgow, Scotland: Trinity Mirror. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  33. ^ Cornell, Jeff (August 27, 2014). "Sixx: A.M. Reveal Their Cover of The Cars' Classic 'Drive'". Loudwire Network. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ Roberts, Christopher (March 10, 2016). "Watch: Britta Phillips (of Luna and Dean & Britta) - "Drive" Video (The Cars Cover) Luck or Magic Due Out April 29 via Double Feature Records". Under the Radar. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 

External links[edit]