Drive (The Cars song)
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
|Single by The Cars|
|from the album Heartbeat City|
|Released||July 23, 1984|
|The Cars singles chronology|
"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 and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange with the band. Upon its release, "Drive" became The Cars' highest charting single in most territories. In the United States, it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1. It reached No. 5 (No. 4 on re-entry in 1985) in the United Kingdom, No. 4 in West Germany, No. 6 in Canada 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. Following the concert, it re-entered the UK Singles Chart 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.
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."
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.
- 7" single
- "Stranger Eyes"
- 12" single
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- The song was covered in 1984 by British entertainer Des O'Connor on his album Des O'Connor Now.
- Australian band The Paradise Motel released a cover as a single in 1999. This was used in the 2001 Noah Taylor film He Died with a Felafel in His Hand.
- New Zealand band Strawpeople covered the song in 2000, featuring the vocals of Bic Runga. The song peaked at number 7 on the New Zealand charts.
- In 2001, the German rock band Scorpions covered the song on their live unplugged album Acoustica.
- A cover by Ziggy Marley of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers was featured in the 2004 film 50 First Dates.
- In 2005, American band Deftones recorded an exclusive cover of the song for iTunes, which was featured in the trailer for The Stepfather.
- In 2006 "Drive" was included in Julio Iglesias' album Romantic Classics.
- In 2010, Australian actor/singer Jason Donovan recorded a cover version of "Drive" for his covers album Soundtrack of the 80s. The album went Top 20 in the UK in October 2010.
- The song was covered by US hard rock band Sixx:A.M. on their 2014 album Modern Vintage.
- Stereolove and Matt Alber covered this song as a single in 2014.
- My Morning Jacket covered the song live in January 2015.
- Britta Phillips covered the song on her album of covers Luck or Magic.
- Barrett Baber covered the song for his 2016 album, A Room Full of Fighters.
- In February 2018, Aimee Mann covered the song in Episode 4 of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. The recording was released on streaming platforms and online music stores.
- Kirk Johnston released a licensed remake of "Drive” on Full Circle Deluxe LP in 2016 produced by Mark Younger-Smith (Billy Idol, Charmed Life). The song is available worldwide for digital download and streaming on Apple Music, Amazon Music and on Spotify where Kirk Johnston is a verified artist with over half a million total plays.
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- Cornell, Jeff (August 27, 2014). "Sixx: A.M. Reveal Their Cover of The Cars' Classic 'Drive'". Loudwire Network. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
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