Heartbeat City (song)

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"Heartbeat City"
Heartbeat City - The Cars song.jpg
Single by The Cars
from the album Heartbeat City
B-side"Why Can't I Have You"
ReleasedSeptember 1985 (1985-09)
Format7", 12"
GenreNew wave
Songwriter(s)Ric Ocasek
Producer(s)Robert John "Mutt" Lange, The Cars
The Cars singles chronology
"Why Can't I Have You"
"Heartbeat City"
"Tonight She Comes"

"Heartbeat City" is a song by American new wave band the Cars. The song, written by Ric Ocasek, is the closing track on the band's fifth studio album Heartbeat City.


Original pressing of the U.S. LP and cassette version listed the title of "Heartbeat City" as "Jacki".[1]

"Heartbeat City" was one of the four songs performed by the Cars during their performance on Live Aid in 1985, along with "You Might Think", "Drive", and "Just What I Needed".


The song is in the key of A minor, with a verse progression of A minor, D minor, and E minor. The synthesizer theme emphasizes the sevenths and ninths of the chords. There is a prechorus of repeating D minor and E minor, leading to the chorus, which is a two-chord sequence of F major seventh and a slash chord, G/F. There is an instrumental break which begins with a bass solo by Benjamin Orr, over a Dsus2 chord, followed by a guitar synthesizer solo by Elliot Easton over the verse progression. The third verse is not followed by a chorus; it repeats as the song fades.


Aside from being released on Heartbeat City, "Heartbeat City" saw release as the B-side to "You Might Think" in America and "Why Can't I Have You" in Britain. The song also saw release in Britain as the sixth single pulled from the Heartbeat City album, where it was backed with "Why Can't I Have You". The song charted at No. 78 in Britain and No. 75 in Australia. The single was not released in America, and no more singles from Heartbeat City were released afterward.


"Heartbeat City" has been described retrospectively as "ethereal" and as a "highlight" from Heartbeat City by AllMusic critic Greg Prato.[2] Donald Guarisco, also of AllMusic, has said the track "was a memorable effort in [the] vein [of 'atmospheric moodpieces'], a hypnotic bit of new wave that mixed impressionistic lyrics with an entrancing electronic soundscape." He went on to say, "The result was probably a little too esoteric to be a hit but it got some exposure as the B-side to 'You Might Think' and provide a fittingly arty finale for the Heartbeat City album."[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 75
UK Singles Chart 78


  1. ^ "Heartbeat City". Discogs.
  2. ^ Prato, Greg. "Heartbeat City". allmusic.com.
  3. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Heartbeat City (song)". allmusic.

External links[edit]