Heartbeat City

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Heartbeat City
The Cars - Heartbeat City.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 13, 1984 (1984-03-13)
RecordedJuly 1983 – January 1984
StudioBattery, London
the Cars chronology
Shake It Up
Heartbeat City
Greatest Hits
Singles from Heartbeat City
  1. "You Might Think"
    Released: March 13, 1984
  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 7, 1985
  6. "Heartbeat City"
    Released: September 1985 (UK)
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[2]
Mojo4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[6]
The Village VoiceB+[7]

Heartbeat City is the fifth studio album by American rock band the Cars. It was released on March 13, 1984, by Elektra Records. The band produced the album along with 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 reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album also received favorable 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."[7]


Heartbeat City contains five US top-40 singles. Of these, "Drive" and "You Might Think" reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at numbers three and seven, respectively. A number of songs from the album gained significant radio and television exposure; most notably "You Might Think" and "Magic", which both received heavy rotation 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 Ric Ocasek arguing with a troubled young woman played by model Paulina Porizkova (whom Ocasek would later marry). "Hello Again" had a video directed by Andy Warhol, who also appeared onscreen.[8]

The single "It's Not the Night" reached number 31 on the rock charts. 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.


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.[9]

Full cover spread

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ric Ocasek except where noted.

Side one
1."Hello Again"Ocasek3:48
2."Looking for Love"Ocasek3:52
4."Drive"Benjamin Orr3:55
5."Stranger Eyes"Orr4:24
Side two
6."You Might Think"Ocasek3:04
7."It's Not the Night" (writers: Ocasek, Greg Hawkes)
  • Orr
  • Ocasek
8."Why Can't I Have You"Ocasek4:04
9."I Refuse"Ocasek3:16
10."Heartbeat City" (titled "Jacki" on the original US cassette release[10])Ocasek4:31
2018 expanded edition bonus tracks
11."Hello Again" (remix version)Ocasek5:57
12."Drive" (demo)Orr4:45
13."One More Time" (early version of "Why Can't I Have You")Ocasek3:59
14."Baby I Refuse" (early version of "I Refuse")Ocasek3:52
15."Jacki" (early version of "Heartbeat City")Ocasek4:16
16."Breakaway" (B-side of "Why Can't I Have You")Ocasek3:47
17."Tonight She Comes" (from Greatest Hits)Ocasek3:58

"Heartbeat City" is titled "Jacki" on the U.S. vinyl release as well.


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Heartbeat City.[11]

The Cars[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Andy Topeka – Fairlight CMI programming


  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange – production
  • The Cars – production
  • Nigel Green – recording engineering
  • Mike Shipley – mixing engineering
  • George Marino – mastering
  • Andy Topeka – production assistance
  • David Heglmeier – production assistance
  • Steve Rance – production assistance


  • Peter Phillips – cover painting
  • HSU – art direction
  • Cathy Henszey – art direction
  • Doris Kloster – photography
  • George Holz – photography
  • David Robinson – cover design



Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[28] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Heartbeat City – The Cars". AllMusic. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  3. ^ Blake, Mark (May 2018). "The Cars: Heartbeat City". Mojo (294): 104.
  4. ^ Soto, Alfred (March 31, 2018). "The Cars: Shake It Up / Heartbeat City". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  5. ^ Shewey, Don (April 26, 1984). "The Cars: Heartbeat City". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Cars". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 140. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (September 25, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  8. ^ http://www.openculture.com/2012/10/watch_the_uncensored_andy_warhol-directed_video_for_the_cars_hit_hello_again_nsfw.html
  9. ^ "1972 The Cars "Heartbeat City" Album Cover". Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Heartbeat City". Discogs.
  11. ^ Heartbeat City (liner notes). The Cars. Elektra Records. 1984. 60296-1.CS1 maint: others (link)
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 8605". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Cars – Heartbeat City" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 1 no. 34. November 19, 1984. p. 16. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved June 12, 2019 – via American Radio History.
  16. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved June 12, 2019. Select "The CARS" from the drop-down menu and click "OK".
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Cars – Heartbeat City" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  18. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41 no. 17. January 5, 1985. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved June 12, 2019 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  24. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1984". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  25. ^ "Top Pop Albums". Billboard. Vol. 96 no. 51. December 22, 1984. p. TA-17. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 12, 2019 – via Google Books.
  26. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. Vol. 43 no. 16. December 25, 1985. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved June 19, 2019 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  27. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1985". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  28. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Recorded Music NZ. September 30, 1984. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Cars – Heartbeat City". British Phonographic Industry. September 25, 1985. Retrieved June 12, 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Heartbeat City in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Recording Industry Association of America. December 17, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.