Five years and counting

5One of the things I neglected to write about during the craziness of 2021 was the fifth anniversary of this blog. I even made a graphic and everything, but then I got swept away with life again. So let’s go for it now!

May 1, 2021, marked the last time I could say, “I can count on ONE hand the number of years I’ve been writing about Benjamin.” (Not that I said that phrase a lot. Haha) I can hardly believe it. What started as an outlet for my personal obsession has grown beyond my wildest dreams, and has led me through more topsy-turvy adventures than even Bilbo Baggins could boast of.

And really, it’s the people that I’ve met over the years that have elevated this digital scribble pad to something more than just a place for me to gush.

  • I’ve had the privilege of interviewing family, friends, and musicians who knew Ben and who were willing to meander down memory lane with me.
  • Others have dug up rare photos, print media, interviews, music and videos for me, some of which had laid dormant for years and years.
  • Many people have been willing to “network” me, putting me in touch with contacts that have helped to fill in gaps, answer questions, and corroborate details.
  • Attentive music lovers have generously passed along tips that resulted in stories of cool and cute Ben encounters.
  • Longtime Cars fans have patiently and repeatedly allowed me to pick their brains for dates and names and obscure tidbits of the band’s history.
  • Encouragement from prominent musicians, including the surviving members of The Cars, has lent credibility and validity to the blog, and has given me confidence to stay the course.
  • Faithful readers have become true-blue friends, challenging me to go deeper, holding me accountable to the facts, and supporting me through the highs and lows of regular, everyday life.

I am sincerely grateful for every single one of you! I always get a thrill when I visit my blog dashboard and check the growing stats, evidence of your steadfast interest in Ben and The Cars. I love receiving comments and emails from new readers sharing their love for the band with me and relating the history of their fan experience. This feeling of community is one of the best things I have gained from this project.

The honeymoon isn’t anywhere near over between me and my little blog. I feel such a deep affection for what I’ve created, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done.  Reading through past articles gives me satisfaction because each word represents my passion for documenting Ben’s personal and musical legacy.

I flatter myself that there is true historical value to many of the pieces I’ve written. I care about illuminating the backstory, connecting the dots, documenting the details. I revel in the research and the fact-finding (the rabbit hole is my favorite place to be!).  I strive to create an accurate record, and if I’m wrong I’ll happily admit it and correct it. It is always more important to me to be accurate than it is to be ‘right.’ I’m not angling to be seen as an expert, I don’t approach the fandom as a competition, and I’m not seeking personal attention.

It’s all about Ben and The Cars for me; it always has been.

And in spite of publishing only 40 articles in 2021 (in contrast to the 160 I wrote in my first year), my devotion to writing about Benjamin and The Cars remains as steadfast as ever. I’ve got a handful of sparkly new things to share with you in the months to come, including endearing photos and personal stories of Ben, never-before-published video footage, and rare audio treasures galore. Let’s check in with the stats, and then we’ll kick off the year with something new down below.


All-time blog stats as of December 31, 2021:

Total posts (including this one): 488

Total views: 375,761

Total visitors: 122,846

Number of countries reached: 157

Total comments: 2,791

Top three “most viewed” posts:

  1. Thank God it’s free! (Rock Goes To College): 4,855 views
  2. In Other Words (Glen Burtnik): 4,780
  3. Behind the Scenes at Viele’s Planet: 4,598

Top three interview articles:

  1. Leo Yorkell: “Play ball, Ben!”: 2,574 views
  2. Joe Milliken: Signature move: 2,088 views
  3. AJ Wachtel: Friend first, fan second: 1,845 views

The post with the fewest views: Let’s Go (VH-1 Classic): 58

Most visitors in one day: September 16, 2019 (the day after Ric Ocasek passed away): 1,921 visitors


Alright, welcome to 2022! Let’s check out this brand new gem that I just uploaded.

To the best of my understanding, “Are You Ready” was originally part of The Cars’ 2011 album Move Like This, and was included on a handful of very early promo copies of the record. For some reason it didn’t make the final cut (obviously), but fortunately for us, a good friend of mine who collects lots of obscure music stuff had it and was happy to pass it on to me. I’m thrilled to discover and share this rare, previously unreleased track!

My $.02: Different than any other composition by The Cars, the song works on its own level. It has sort of a lovely Motown/”My Girl” vibe to it, accentuated by David’s light touch and skippy drum fills.  Greg offers a variety of delightful keyboard embellishments, and all are understated and perfectly suited to the sway. It lacks the punch of an Elliot Easton solo, though you can hear his gentle flourishes throughout. The lyrics are some of Ric’s best, and I can’t help but feel that they pave the way for the reception of this new album after the band’s 24-year absence. It’s a shame it was shelved. The whole thing is bright and lighthearted, and extremely catchy; I can’t get it out of my head.

Do you think it should have been cut from Move Like This? If not, what song would you trade it for? Personally, I would have sacrificed “Drag On Forever.” I’d love to hear your thoughts!

15 thoughts on “Five years and counting

  1. Well we agree. I only have a few songs I would skip. Drag is to me not a well fit. This song would have fit well after SOON.
    BUT Drag is in at best in someways all Greg a Card style familiar.
    Some A&R guy said
    “Hey this Beach Boys song is nice. Side B maybe?”
    And Bada bing Bada boom…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Damn It’s a Cars not card Plus I was finnised.
      Happy Anniversary my dear. It is hard to believe but so much truth insight and fact in the article I know it is also a labor of love.
      Everyone including the Cars appreciate your work.
      5 more .
      B.B

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Donna, keep the blogs coming! I really enjoy every tasty tidbit on all things Benjamin and The Cars. You are so generous to share your knowledge, videos, photos and sheer hard detective work with all of us. I cannot contribute anything but my respect and thanks whilst eagerly devouring your posts of Benjamin! 😀
    Big thanks from Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿💗
    Cat

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on 5+ years, D! Love that you’ve been gushing for that long while also dishing out accurate facts/truths AND being respectful of those who’ve shared those facts/truths with you. Not to mention your ability to decipher some nearly unintelligible lyrics over the years. Now, onward to 10+ ! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Donna, 5 great years, in retrospect for me, as I am one who came on the scene is 2019.
    I don’t mean to give offence, but on hearing of Ric’s death, I immediately thought of Ben, so looked for info on him. I had heard of Ben’s death on the radio, here in Australia, all those years ago, and can remember my emotion, I was totally shocked and felt immense sadness, and can remember thinking ‘oh no, not you!’ – not meaning that I hoped it was anyone else – the effect was just visceral, probably because I knew that he must have been relative young, and what a loss to music., and yes, I remembered how gorgeous he was!
    Anyway, from that sadness, came joy and exhilaration when I found your site with all your wonderful research/articles/photos, etc., etc., etc. Long may it last.Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks so much Donna. I love reading your blog! It is inspiring and reveals so much about the lovely person that you are!!
    You have created a forum that captures that magic of The Cars and keeps Ben, especially, alive in our hearts. What a great tribute. Please keep on writing. We love you.
    Norah

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for your digging (often deep), your insights, nuggets, aha moments, interviews, and just overall joyful personality. For 2022, we all want MORE ORR!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on five years! I remember meeting you in 2016, so that must’ve been around when you started your blog. Also, thanks for helping moderate my DR fan group! I’m not doing good health-wise, so it helps me out a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, May of 2016 was when I jumped in, and we’ve been friends since the beginning. Thank YOU for letting me help with the David page; it’s an honor! I hope your health takes a turn for the better. Please let me know if I can do anything for you! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Donna, just wanted to thank you again for sharing “Are You Ready”. It was quite a pleasant and unexpected surprise, and I just happened to stumble upon it by accident this week while searching for something else on YouTube. I’m sure you’re familiar with that rabbit-hole…lol…anyway, I was fascinated that a song like this could just magically appear after 11 years in obscurity! Maybe you, and other in-the-know fans here, had heard this song and other unreleased Cars demo’s before, but for most, like me, these are rare bits of hidden treasure suddenly discovered! Much like a scavenger hunt, I was curious to know more about “Are You Ready”, and so I took out my 2012 book by Ric, “Lyrics and Prose”, that I refer to often when I’m trying to decipher Ric’s ethereal words. Anyway, much to my surprise again, while skimming through the book, I find the lyrics to “Are You Ready” on page 232 in the “other lyrics” chapter of the book. So this piece of hidden treasure, was actually hiding in plain sight the whole time! I have a question for you. Have you ever considered matching all of the song lyrics in Ric’s book with existing songs that have been released or are otherwise uploaded online, in order to possibly track down other songs that may be in various states of production,…either in a basic acoustic recording form, or a demo, or perhaps a finished song that was never released on an album? I pose this question to you because, you have access to much more “insider” information than most (the latest song upload as a case in point), and certainly more information than I do. I know it would be a lot of detective work, but from the comments I’ve read here, that seems to be something you are very good at. It’s just food for thought. I remember thinking in 2011 how great it was to have another album from The Cars, and truly believing, that once the juices were flowing, another album would soon follow. Sadly, “Move Like This” was probably the last. Or,…was it?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard it, either; totally new to me. In fact, I didn’t even realize it existed until the day before I published it on YouTube, when a friend told me about it and offered to send it to me. I was elated!

      It didn’t occur to me to check Lyrics and Prose (brilliant), but it’s exciting to know it’s there. Your project sounds amazing and it’s definitely something I would love to do! I’ll add it to the list and hope that I can get something going with it soon.

      Just so you know… rumor has it that there is a new release of some kind in the works. I hope it’s slated for a 2022 release; I guess we’ll wait and see.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Dave!

      Like

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