In other words:

“Ben. What a goddamn great singer and total rockstar! I really miss him, his great sense of humor, his deep musicality and above all, his friendship.” — Elliot Easton, public Facebook post, September 4, 2018

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Photo by Justin Thomas Photography, taken at The Lyceum in London, 11.24.1978
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It reminds me of him.

It’s no secret that some of Benjamin’s songs move me deeply. “Wake Me Up,” “Take Me Now,” “Do You Know What it Feels Like”… The combination of poignant lyrics and the emotion in Ben’s voice somehow reaches in and twists my achy heart until I sob. Crazy, I know, but I am not the only one who has felt this way about a vocalist.

Listening to this terrific version of such a beautiful narration reminds me of the power Benjamin’s gift can have over me.

 

“Strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words

Killing me softly with his song, killing me softly with his song

Telling my whole life with his words… killing me softly with his song…”

 

— Fugees, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel)

Lyrics: When You’re Gone

When You’re Gone (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page ©1985)

Rain keeps pounding without a break
Competing with a heart awake… even now
I can’t imagine what you’re doing when you’re not around
A shaky thought to wrestle down… I need you now

(When you’re gone) You gotta know that everything is turning me upside down
(For so long) You gotta see that confusion’s spinning me around
(When you’re gone) You gotta know that the feeling is that everything is lost, you see
When you’re gone

Shadows reaching long across the floor, wishing you were at the door
You know it’s insanity… you always keep leaving me
Walking around one room to the next, remembering the very best
It’s starting to get to me… you always keep leaving me
(When you’re gone) You gotta know that everything is turning me upside down
(For so long) You gotta see that confusion’s spinning me around
(Can’t imagine, when you’re gone) You gotta know that the feeling is that everything is lost, you see
When you’re gone

And ’cause it’s so strong it’s that much harder
I’m feeling so alone
Well, I need to hold you and feel the magic
You’ve been away so long
Yeah, yeah

Well, if it isn’t enough how can I make it more?

Thought we’d been through this all before… here we go one more time
And rain keeps pounding without a break

Competing with a heart awake… I need you now

(When you’re gone) You gotta know that everything is turning me upside down
(For so long) You gotta see that confusion’s spinning me around
(Can’t imagine, when you’re gone) You gotta know that the feeling is that everything is lost, you see
When you’re gone

So long

(When you’re gone) You gotta know that everything is turning me upside down
(For so long) You gotta see that confusion’s spinning me around
(Can’t imagine, when you’re gone) You gotta know that the feeling is that everything is lost, you see
When you’re gone

Quoting Benjamin

On how solo work is different than his work with The Cars: “I had a lot more to do, basically (laughs). It was like, constant… you know… 13-hour shifts in the studio, where, more or less,  the other Cars’ albums I’d be there for oh, three or four hours a day.” — “Rock Of The World” interview with host Phil Harvey, 1986

Episode 36: Album Dissections: Panorama

episode36

The non-scientific studies continue as Dave and Donna tackle their third album dissection. Considered by some to be the ‘dark horse’ of The Cars’ varied catalog, Panorama offers an intriguing look into a band that has not only managed to stay relevant for 40 years, but to stay true to themselves, as well.

Following their usual protocol, Dave and Donna start with facts and visual observations abour the album, and then dive into the meat of it, layer by layer, investigating what the critics didn’t like about it — and if those opinions were really justified. Because really, how can you NOT love this album? Even John Lennon was a fan, and after all, this record saved ‘teenage Davy’ from a pummeling by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend (“Panorama makes peace!”). And you’ve got Benjamin laughing, Ric screaming, and video game noises before there were video games. This record has it all!

What do you think? Is David physically playing those relentless cymbals in “Panorama” or is it a drum machine? Do you think Benjamin is a natural vocal ad-libber? Is Panorama a self-centered album lyrically? How in the world did “Don’t Go To Pieces” NOT make the track list? Are Ric’s younger years reflected in “Misfit Kid?” Which song off of this album would YOU choose to be your personal ‘grand entrance’ soundtrack?

bufordThere are other shenanigans worked into this episode, too. Dave compares Donna to Buford T. Justice from Smokey and The Bandit, causing her to explain why she censors herself verbally. There’s a plug for the hilarious film Turbocharge: The Unauthorized Story of The Cars, written by David Juskow — don’t forget to like that Turbocharge Facebook page! Another great film (and just in time for Halloween!) is Dante Tomaselli’s re-released horror masterpiece, Desecration. Warning: it’s not for the faint of heart! Dave and Donna wrap up the show on a light note as two sweet friends send their thoughts to the Midnight Scroll, and Rico delights us with an inspired poem contemplating the holy depiction of the members of the band.

Now don’t forget… We want to connect with you! Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @TheCarsPodcast  (individually we’re @night_spots  and  @sweetpurplejune ), and subscribe to our audio outlets! You can listen by clicking the Youtube link below, or visit us on iTunes or Soundcloud. Wherever you connect, be sure to subscribe, share and comment. Let us know your thoughts — email us at nightthoughtspodcast@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy!

In other words:

Regarding honoring Benjamin Orr during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony: “I feel like he definitely was represented. I think we all made mention. Just because we didn’t do ‘Drive,’ I don’t think there’s any disrespect meant towards Ben. If anything, I almost think the opposite, that as far as Ben’s vocal there, you can’t really replace the guy, so why attempt it?” — Greg Hawkes, NiGHT THOUGHTS: The Cars Podcast Episode 31, June 8, 2018

jeffkravitz

It reminds me of him.

Marc Anthony is one of my favorite vocalists ever, and really, he’s the reason I know any Spanish at all. 🙂

The lyrics here (using the best translation I can find), and the determination in the way Marc sings them, brings Benjamin to my mind, as I often wonder what he was thinking and feeling during the later years of his journey.

Aquí me ven tratando de limpiar los restos que quedaron del fracas

Here you see me trying to cleanse the remains that were left of failure

Creyendo que tal vez podré recoger todos mis pedazos y recuperar mi vida

Believing that maybe I can pick up all my pieces and recover my life…

Aquí estaré y como un hombre asumiré que voy a retomar mis pasos

I’ll be here, and as a man I will assume that I’m going to resume my steps

Que lo que nunca pudo ser es cosa ahora del pasado

That what could never be is now a thing of the past

Y quiero amar sin mentiras… sin mentiras

And I want to love without lies… without lies

 

— Marc Anthony, “Amar Sin Mentiras”