Just What I Needed

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"Just What I Needed"
Just What I Needed.jpg
Single by The Cars
from the album The Cars
B-side"I'm in Touch with Your World"
ReleasedMay 29, 1978 (1978-05-29)
Format7-inch single
RecordedAIR Studios, London, February 1978
LabelElektra 45491
Songwriter(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
Music video
"Just What I Needed" on YouTube

"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 rather than usual lead vocalist, Ric Ocasek.


"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]

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. Archived from the original on 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  4. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "The Cars: Just What I Needed". AllMusic. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  5. ^ Pete Prown, HP 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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2015-11-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

External links[edit]