Let’s make a record!

Songs That Didn't Make It To Vinyl 5The discovery of “Looking To See You” from The Cars’ April, 1977, show at The Rat brought to my mind again that the band had a whole cache of great songs that they could have cobbled together into another record. I’m not saying that I wish the debut album was any different — for heaven’s sake, it’s perfection! — but it would have been cool to somehow have my cake and eat it too. They could have done a “lost tracks” compilation, or “road to the record deal,” that kind of thing, don’t you think?

Anyway, that got me pondering which songs I would put on an additional album if I had a say, and in what order. I noodled out my choices, but I want to hear yours! So let’s play a little game: Let’s make a record! All you have to do is:

  1. Look through the list of songs I compiled below. I think I’ve got all of the ones played by The Cars at some point in their career that did not end up on one of the seven studio albums. I’ve added YouTube links in case you need to revisit some of the tunes, and I included the dates in case… well, just because, I guess. Please let me know if I missed a song! (Also, you’re welcome to specify other versions of a song title if you have a favorite; I just grabbed one for each.)
  2. From that list, choose no more than 11 titles that you would include on a whole ‘new’ Cars record. (I capped it at 11 because that is the highest number of tracks on any one of their original studio albums.) You can decide if you want to group them by a time period, or a specific style, or if you want to make a concept album using the songs to tell the story. Or you could compile a ‘greatest hits’-type group, or focus on one of the band members. There are tons of possibilities.
  3. Now make your track list. Think carefully about sequencing. What song would really be a great opener to set the tone for the album? How about a great finisher? Don’t forget to split the list into Side A and Side B — remember, we’re playing with vinyl here!
  4. Brainstorm a title for your record.
  5. For extra bonus points, make a YouTube playlist to share with us!
  6. Overachievers can even go the Robinson route and create some album art. What colors and images would you use? How about photographs? Fonts? Sleeves? Liner notes??? The sky’s the limit! [You can work with any format, but if you’d like to monkey around with graphics, try exploring Canva. It’s free and very user friendly.]
  7. Share! Submit your track list (and/or your YouTube playlist, album art, liner notes, etc.) by posting in the comments below, sharing on Facebook, or by sending me an email through the blog if you don’t want to throw it all out there. 😉

Then… let’s see… should we put everyone’s records up for a vote? I say YES! I’ll gather everyone’s ideas and then organize a little poll here and on social media. I’ll keep all the entries anonymous to avoid personal popularity votes; every record will stand on its own merits. Ooo, I can even have several categories, like Best Track List, Best Cover Art, Best Overall Album, that kind of thing… Oh man, I’m already getting carried away, I can tell.

I’m cooling my jets now, but let’s set a deadline of April 15 for entries if you want to be part of a vote. I’ll see if there’s enough interest in going further. Regardless of if we end up doing that part of it, I really want to hear everyone’s ideas! You can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. It’s your record!

Okay, here’s the list of titles (with links):

Here’s a playlist of all of the songs together in the same order, if that’s easier:

Aaaaand…. GO!


13 thoughts on “Let’s make a record!

  1. Hey Donna- I actually have Funtime and Little Black Egg on vinyl. It’s on a Bebe Buell EP that I bought back in ’81. Great tunes for sure. Thanks. Leo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, and “That’s It” was also a B side, I think. When I say ‘didn’t make it to vinyl’ I’m referring to the fact that these songs were not chosen to be on any of The Cars’ full studio albums. 🙂


  2. I absolutely love this idea. Imagination is the saving grace for humanity.

    Thank you Donna for poking me into action. I have been in a slump.
    The best cure for any ill is Ben! I could listen to Funtime over and over.
    And having these song versions all in one place! You are a gem.

    What is it about this band that affects me like no other band ever? And I love hundreds and hundreds of songs of all kinds. But The Cars…..

    What a superior level of musicality they had right from the beginning.

    I have only heard the Cap’n Swing version of a handful of these songs.

    Strawberry Moonlight.
    Personally I prefer Ben’s singing on the cap’n swing version…however this version is so much fuller musically and faster. Just Knowing Ben’s on bass and David is on drums makes it different and better.

    Come Back Down – I really enjoy his vocals better on Cap’n Swing – to me it’s more emotional, but David’s drumming is so great!
    Also this version Ben made a bit more raunchy IMHO – but I am NOT complaining 🙂

    Looking to See You – my first time hearing it too..not a fan. I put this in the Twilight Superman category.

    Wake Me Up and Take Me Now demo.. .just so beautiful….Take Me Now has to be my most beloved song. (After Bye Bye Love)..sigh

    Cool Fool omg,!!!

    Sweetly Wasted – again I love love Ben’s singing on the Cap’n Swing version but the fullness of the arrangement and Ben’s unique bass playing makes this a treasure. I think the addition of Elliott’s harmony made it much more fun live.
    That’s It – how much do I love this song – no words
    SlipAway – did not hear this one before – I imagine Ben really enjoying playing this song. Really like it!

    Based on only Cars version for my album – Here is my Record


    Side A
    Slip Away 1979
    You Just Can’t Push Me 1977
    Cool Fool 1977
    Don’t Go to Pieces 1977
    Take What You Want 1980
    Wake Me Up 1977

    Side B
    Hotel Queenie 1977
    Lover and a Holiday 1977
    That’s It 1979
    They Won’t See You 1978
    Take Me Now 1977

    Liner notes:
    Destiny ~ Talent ~ Intent ~ Control ~ Drive
    These are what made The Cars the band made famous for carving out a niche and
    creating a new genre in music – just in time to save us all from the same old Rock and Roll & Disco.

    Advanced technology has re-awakened original fans and drawn in new ones to appreciate and enjoy of the band’s multi-layered arrangements, up-beat tempos, straightforward vocals & versatility.

    With the formation of The Cars good friends, Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr, realized their dreams along with Elliott Easton; adding Greg Hawks and David Robinson was the Magic Sauce that set it all stone.

    This collection of songs – both live performances & demos from 1977-1980 – demonstrate the fun, unpolished
    side of the band as they were reaching their stride prior to making music & and music video history.


    I am not going to go for any over achiever points – (fonts and graphics) just glad to have the opportunity to play along. I look forward to checking out what everyone came up with.

    I just want to add, as I was lurking about I found this:
    “Benny 11 letters, as he is nicknamed, loves shrimp cocktail, sweaters, but not snow.”
    Article from 1965 about Cleveland’s Grasshoppers

    (Ahh shrimp cocktail, the beginnings of a love for hot sauce)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is terrific! You really put some thought into it, and I love hearing your thoughts on each song. And the liner notes are great! I’ve got your entry saved for the contest. Thank you so much for doing this with me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Donna!

    I really love their early songs, so I think it would be awesome to have an album with all the ones from 1977 (how uncanny there are exactly 11!)

    I’m not all that great at coming up with names or titles, but I was thinking something along the lines of…’77 Model: The Early Tracks. Although thinking on it some more, their album titles are often one of the songs on the album, so perhaps You Can Have ‘Em could make a good title as well (as in “yes — we will gladly have a new Cars album!” 😊)

    Side A:
    1. Strawberry Moonlight
    2. Lover and A Holiday
    3. Take What You Want
    4. You Can Have ‘Em
    5. Hotel Queenie

    Side B:
    6. Come Back Down
    7. Looking to See You
    8. Take Me Now
    9. You Just Can’t Push Me
    10. Cool Fool
    11. Wake Me Up

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate!

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought I had heard all the Cars songs, but to my surprise “Midnight Dancer” was new to me and I quite like it so I had to include it in my list.
    Side A
    Wake Me Up 1977
    Take What You Want 1977
    Take Me Now 1977
    Hotel Queenie 1977
    You Just Can’t Push Me 1977

    Side B
    They Won’t See You 1978
    Lover and A Holiday (See Through My Eyes) 1977
    Don’t Go To Pieces 1980
    Cool Fool 1977
    Midnight Dancer 1983
    Funtime 1981

    Liked by 1 person

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