Heartbeat City

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Heartbeat City
The Cars - Heartbeat City.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 13, 1984
RecordedJuly 1983 – January 1984
StudioBattery Studios, London
GenreNew wave, pop rock, power pop, soft rock
ProducerRobert John "Mutt" Lange, the Cars
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. 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."[7]


Heartbeat City contains five American Top 40 singles. Of these, "Drive" and "You Might Think" were Top 10 hits, reaching the No. 3 and No. 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 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.

The single "It's Not the Night" reached No. 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.[8]

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"Greg Hawkes, OcasekOrr / Ocasek3:49
8."Why Can't I Have You" Ocasek4:04
9."I Refuse" Ocasek3:16
10."Heartbeat City" (Titled "Jacki" on original U.S. cassette release[9]) Ocasek4:31
2018 reissue bonus tracks
11."Hello Again" (Remix version from "Hello Again" 12-inch single #0-66929)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, 1985)Ocasek3:58


The Cars[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Andy Topeka: Additional Fairlight programming


  • 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



Chart (1984) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[10] 15
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[11] 41
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[12] 15
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 26
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 20
UK Albums (OCC) 25
US Billboard 200 3


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


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


Year Label Edition
2009 Audio Fidelity 24 Karat Gold HDCD

See also[edit]


  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.
  6. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Cars". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. 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. ^ "1972 The Cars "Heartbeat City" Album Cover". Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "Heartbeat City". Discogs.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Cars – Heartbeat City" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  12. ^ "Officialcharts.de – The Cars – Heartbeat City". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  13. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  14. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.

External links[edit]