Just What I Needed

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This article is about the song. For the compilation, see Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology.
"Just What I Needed"
Single by The Cars
from the album The Cars
B-side "I'm in Touch with Your World"
Released May 29, 1978 (1978-05-29)
Format 7"
Recorded AIR Studios, London, February 1978
Genre Power pop
Length 3:44
Label Elektra 45491
Writer(s) Ric Ocasek
Producer(s) Roy Thomas Baker
The Cars singles chronology
"Just What I Needed"
"My Best Friend's Girl"
The Cars track listing

"Just What I Needed" is a song by American rock band The Cars, released as their debut single from their self-titled debut album, released in 1978 on Elektra Records. After achieving exposure as a demo, the song became a successful single for The Cars, hitting the top 30 in America.[1] Appearing on numerous compilation albums, it has become one of the band's most popular songs.


"Just What I Needed", like many other tracks on The Cars, originated as a demo tape recorded by the band in 1977.[1] This song first appeared in 1977 on Boston radio stations WCOZ and WBCN from the said demo tape, along with its future follow-up single "My Best Friend's Girl".[1] Shortly thereafter, it became one of the stations' most requested songs.[2]

The opening riff of "Just What I Needed" was borrowed from "Yummy Yummy Yummy", a song by the Ohio Express.[1] It also features a prominent keyboard riff performed by Greg Hawkes. The song was sung by the Cars' bassist Benjamin Orr.


"Just What I Needed" was released as a single in 1978 prior to the release of The Cars, backed with "I'm in Touch with Your World". The song peaked at number 27 in the US and number 17 in the UK. It also reached #38 in New Zealand.[3] The single was the Cars' most successful of the songs on The Cars in America, with follow-up singles "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll" resulting in slightly worse chart positions.

"Just What I Needed" appeared on multiple compilation albums, among them being Greatest Hits, Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology, Shake It Up & Other Hits, Complete Greatest Hits, The Essentials, and Classic Tracks. It also appeared on the soundtracks for the films Over the Edge and 200 Cigarettes.


AllMusic reviewer Donald A. Guarisco praised it as "a clever pop song", commenting that "Elliot Easton's fiery guitar leads duel with Greg Hawkes' icy synth lines over a throbbing pop/rock backbeat while Benjamin Orr lays down a fey, detached vocal that captures the sarcastic edge of the lyrics with skill."[4] The song has a minimalistic power pop sound, although has been described as having a hard rock punch by Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists when talking about the band's lead guitarist Elliot Easton, and his notoriety as a rock guitarist.[5]

Other appearances in media[edit]

  • The now-defunct electronics store chain Circuit City used this song in their commercials from 1998 until their demise in 2008.
  • Along with the entire The Cars album, this song was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series May 27, 2008.
  • Featured during the end credits of Item 47, a short film that is part of the Marvel One-Shots DTV series that was packaged with the release of The Avengers on Blu-ray.
  • In 2014 the song featured in an advert to EDF Energy.
  • Sung by Chris Evans in the film What's Your Number?
  • Featured during the end credits of Bob's Burgers episode "The Hormone-iums", sung by Tina Belcher (Dan Mintz).

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Milano, Brett. Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology. Rhino. 
  2. ^ Scott, Jane. "The Cars take off fast in record derby" The Plain Dealer June 9, 1978: Friday 28
  3. ^ "Just What I Needed". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  4. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "The Cars: Just What I Needed". AllMusic. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ Pete Prown, Harvey P. Newquist, Jon F. Eiche. "The essential reference of rock's greatest guitarists". Books.Google.com.
  6. ^ "The Cars - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X. 
  9. ^ "Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1970s". 

External links[edit]