Lyrics: “It’s Not The Night”

“It’s Not The Night” by The Cars

It’s not the night for foolin’

It’s not the night for crazy eyes

I get the feeling you wanna stay

I get the feeling you’re giving it all away

But I know, I know you take it well

And for you, for you I always fell

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

For sweet revenge

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

To spend

The time is right to take it out

The time is right to tango

I got the feeling you’re running out

Before your last fandango

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

For sweet, sweet revenge

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

To spend

It’s not the night for sticky boots

It’s not the night for tango

I get the feeling you’re the spark that’s dancing in the dark

I get the feeling you’re the one rushing on the run

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

For sweet revenge

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

To spend

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

You can find sweet, sweet revenge

It’s not the night (it’s not the night)

To end

It’s not the night

Lyrics: “Stranger Eyes”

“Stranger Eyes” by The Cars

When you took the fall and then you floated down

And then you took the jump and you fell through clouds

Yeah, then you watched the world beat the crowd

 

C’mon, ride me high (stranger eyes)

Well, ride me high (stranger eyes)

 

Yeah, you took the fall and then you landed soft

You thought to yourself, ‘well, I’m not alone’

You with your dark red soul and your chaperone

 

C’mon, ride me high (stranger eyes)

Won’t you ride me high (stranger eyes)

C’mon, ride me high (stranger eyes)

Ride me high (stranger, stranger eyes)

Stranger eyes

 

Well, I need your touch

It means so much

Oh, I need your touch

Because it means so much

 

Ride me high

 

C’mon and ride me high (stranger eyes)

Yeah, ride me high (stranger eyes)

Ride me high (stranger eyes)

Oh, come on and ride me high (stranger, stranger eyes)

Stranger eyes

Lyrics: Drive

“Drive” by The Cars

Who’s going to tell you when it’s too late?

Who’s going to tell you things aren’t so great?

You can’t go on thinking nothing’s wrong

Who’s going to drive you home tonight?

Who’s going to pick you up when you fall?

Who’s going to hang it up when you call?

Who’s going to pay attention to your dreams?

Yeah who’s going to plug their ears when you scream?

You can’t go on thinking nothing’s wrong

Who’s going to drive you home tonight?

Who’s going to hold you down when you shake?

Who’s going to come around when you break?

You can’t go on thinking nothing’s wrong

Who’s going to drive you home tonight?

Oh, you know you can’t go on thinking nothing’s wrong

Who’s going to drive you home tonight?

Here’s a lovely acapella version, because who doesn’t want to hear that beautiful voice all on its own?

Cool Happenings at the CNE

1984 gettyimages-1168829522-2048x2048About half way through their Heartbeat City tour, The Cars stopped in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and played at the CNE Grandstand (formally known as the Canadian National Exhibit Stadium). Though the band wasn’t in town for long, a couple of cool things took place at that August 8, 1984, show.

Before I get to those unique happenings, let me get a little bit of business out of the way. I don’t have a ton of background on the concert itself, simply because I just haven’t had time to do in-depth research, but I do believe that this was the second time the band performed at the CNE, having stopped there during the Panorama tour. They weren’t strangers to Toronto, though; the also played at the El Mocambo for the debut album, and at the Maple Leaf Gardens in support of Candy-O. And I know that the Canadian press wasn’t super impressed with this particular show, but then, they never really seemed to be in The Cars’ corner over the years (with the exception of writer Peter Goddard).

Wang Chung was the opening band, and then our band took the stage. I’m not positive that this is the actual set list played that night, but here is what The Cars worked through on August 6 and August 10 (both the same), so it’s gotta be close.

  1. Hello Again
  2. It’s Not the Night
  3. Touch and Go
  4. Candy-O
  5. Looking for Love
  6. Gimme Some Slack
  7. Jimmy Jimmy (Ric Ocasek song)
  8. Just What I Needed
  9. A Dream Away
  10. Cruiser
  11. Drive
  12. You Might Think
  13. My Best Friend’s Girl
  14. Magic
  15. Let’s Go
  16. Encore: Heartbeat City
  17. Encore: You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

And while though those two paragraphs above are a bit light on details, I DO have an excellent eyewitness account of the concert to share. Fellow Cars fan Doug Parsons was just 16 years old when he stumbled into the chance to see The Cars live. Rather than try to retell his experience in my own words, I’ll let you read his take on how The Cars rocked his world:

I was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Cars never played in Atlantic Canada when they toured, which was very frustrating to me, as they were my favourite band. It was only through a rather strange sequence of events that I got to see them in Toronto in the summer of 1984.

Earlier that year, I made a new friend and I spent a lot of time with him that spring. We really were an “odd couple” … we basically had nothing in common except that our older brothers knew each other. He lived with his father in Dartmouth, but his mother lived in Toronto. Sometime in June, he mentioned to me that he was going to visit his mother in the summer for three weeks and asked if I would like to go along. Having never been to Toronto, I was obviously excited to go. I didn’t expect that my parents would let me go, but they did, so I ended up going with him.

He had a girlfriend there, and I REALLY liked his girlfriend’s best friend (sounds almost like a Cars song, doesn’t it?). So one night we were over at his girlfriend’s house, and while I was unsuccessfully trying to chat up her friend, I heard over the radio that was on in the room that The Cars were going to be playing at the CNE Grandstand … and it was WHILE we were in Toronto! Needless to say, I immediately starting bugging my friend to go to the concert with me, which he unenthusiastically agreed to do.

So fast forward to the night of the concert. We got on the bus to the CNE, and after about 20 minutes my friend says, “I think we are going the wrong way.” So he asked the bus driver, and indeed we were going the wrong way. Fortunately, we made it to the CNE while Wang Chung were still on stage. I heard them play “Dance Hall Days” and they sounded great, but I was really only interested in seeing The Cars perform.

So, after what seemed like a LONG intermission … the lights went down, and the crowd started to roar … and then I heard “Hello…hello again!” And I was up on my feet and I didn’t sit down until the lights went back up. I had seen a few concerts in Dartmouth, but nothing of this magnitude. The stage layout was so futuristic with all of the TV screens playing exotic-looking videos. And song after song that I had played on my record player so many times … “Let’s Go” … “Cruiser” … “Just What I Needed” … and on and on. But the two songs that REALLY blew me away were “Good Times Roll” and “It’s Not the Night.” I was not expecting “Good Times Roll” to have such a cranked-up guitar sound, and as much as I liked the album version, I LOVED the live rendition. “It’s Not the Night” was just plain amazing, with all of the layered synthesizers and Ben’s incredible vocals. It really gave me chills.

This was my first outdoor concert, and the beautiful weather and the excellent acoustics of the CNE made it a truly sublime experience. To this day, it remains my all-time favourite concert.

And my friend? TOTALLY indifferent. Sat for the entire concert and said afterward that he found it boring. Like I said, we really were an odd couple. After we got home, we basically stopped talking to each other, which was probably for the best, as he started to associate with some rather unsavoury characters.

And my best friend’s girlfriend’s friend? Turned out that she liked my best friend’s little brother. Just like in a Cars song.

Oh man, I can just feel his heart start to race when he heard those opening lyrics, can’t you? I love that he shared his memories with us! And from his account we can determine that the set list that night did vary a bit. Good to know!

Okay… so the first cool thing. According to one review (from The Toronto Star, August 9, 1984, pictured below), there were only about 8,000 people in attendance. Interestingly, one of those people was none other than the actor, Rob Lowe!

Now, you all know who Rob Lowe is, right? Having made his acting debut at the age of fifteen in a short-lived sitcom in 1979, Rob burst into the 80s movie scene in the coming-of-age classic, The Outsiders. From there it was silver-screen sailing, as he starred in one Brat Pack classic after another, establishing himself as a teen idol and relentless heartthrob. A sex tape scandal in 1988 knocked his reputation for a loop for a bit, but he continued to work steadily, and in the 2000s, he reclaimed his status as an acting force to be reckoned with (and still just as handsome as ever!) on the set of The West Wing and beyond.

Well, rumor has it that Rob was a big fan of The Cars during his high school days. He’s alluded to it himself on Twitter, and actress Melissa Gilbert (among others) has reminisced about driving around and listening to The Cars with Rob. Coincidentally, The Cars used a little snippet of Rob’s appearance on Andy Warhol’s TV in their mini-documentary about the making of the video for “Hello Again.” Check it here at 1:50. Anyway, in 1984 Rob was in Toronto filming Youngblood with co-stars Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Gibb. On the night of the Cars’s show at the CNE Grandstand, photographers spotted him in the crowd enjoying himself. Awesome! I wonder if he got to visit backstage and meet the band?

Oh, and if you needed to see that photo of Ben from the article a little clearer… here it is. It’s very similar to the one by Philip Kamin in the Peter Goddard book; the one that Kurt Gaber uses for the memorial shirts. What a stunner!

1984 by John Mahler
In Toronto, 1984. Photo by John Mahler.

Now the second cool thing.

While The Cars were in the Toronto area, they were presented with an award for selling over 200,000 units of Heartbeat City — also known as ‘going double platinum’. A little blurb about it was printed in RPM Weekly on September 22, 1984, with a bit of a grainy photo. Luckily Louise Potts posted a clearer version of the picture on Facebook.

RPM Weekly
REM Weekly, September 22, 1984

1984 toronto double platinum
“Double platinum for Heartbeat City to The Cars at CNE Grandstand from WEA’s Larry Green, Kim Cooke, Randy Sharrard, Garry Newman and Roger Desjardins.” – RPM Weekly, September 22, 1984. Photo courtesy of Louise Potts.

Isn’t that great? I love when these little puzzle pieces fit together, and what a treat to get a glimpse of the other commitments that filled the band’s time while they were on the road. The obsession continues!

(Oh, and here’s an extra little factoid: Greg’s double platinum award sold at auction in March of 2019 for $400. Wowza!)

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It reminds me of him.

5479746842e39f013d156de32cb4feaf.jpg
Benjamin Orr, 1984

“He was smart and clever, and he was movie-star handsome, better looking with every year he grew older. Physically, he was still the marvelous changeling child dropped into a plain family. More than that, he had a glow about him, a wild, rakish charm that well-nigh hypnotized anyone who came close. He was kind and considerate and infinitely amusing and attractive. Everyone wanted to be his friend.”

–Ann Rule, The End of the Dream

 

Can’t forget about you.

LotOnMyHeadIt’s funny how my little obsession can change courses. Since Joe Milliken brought me on board to assist him with the publishing and promoting of Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, it’s still been ‘all Ben, all the time’, but rather than researching and gushing and pondering (and writing about it all), my main Ben focus has been doing everything I can to share the book (and through it, Ben’s legacy) with the world at large. This has been an honor and a delight to me, though it hasn’t left much time for me to immerse myself in just HIM, purely for pleasure.

After the Cleveland book event in January my schedule eased up a bit; not quite the pressure cooker it had been leading up to that party. Coincidentally, around that same time my sweet friend Ingrid (who also happens to be a research genius) pointed me in the direction of some photos of our man that I hadn’t seen before, and down the rabbit hole I went.  Something about seeing rockstar Ben through new lenses has pulled me back into his bubble of beauty and I’m enjoying just sitting back and adoring him again.

I’ve posted my favorites of the photos on Facebook, but I realize not everyone who reads this blog uses social media. So here you go:

The pictures are outtakes of the Candy-O album cover photoshoot and were taken by Jeff Albertson. Here is the link to the full stash, which includes some great photos of the whole band, as well: Candy-O Outtakes. Aren’t they amazing?

Of course, thinking about posting those here on my blog reminded me of a few other things that I’ve put on Facebook and Twitter in the last few months, but that haven’t found their way to an article here yet. Brace yourself!

These pics below were taken by Peter Simon and were part of a series of photos labeled “CARS!” ca. 1984. I love them!

Oh, and this! A devoted fan found it last fall and posted it in one of the groups, and was very generous to give me permission to share it. Now, even though the interviewer comes across as a putz, and Ben seems a little out of sorts at the beginning, and there is that watermark to contend with… still, isn’t it fabulous? Live interview footage of Ben is SO rare! I am hugely thankful we have it.

And here are the most recent photos that I’ve posted over there: Ben from 1981. You know I love those Panorama days! And that jacket with the #11 domino on the sleeve? Squeeeee!

I do have a bunch of other photos on Facebook, as well as videos of things like The Cars’ appearances on Saturday Night Live. If you’re already part of the flow, come find me on my sweetpurplejune page! If you’re not signed up for Facebook, I hope you’ll consider giving it a try. There are lots of Ben delights to be had. In the meantime, I’ll strive to bring as much of him here as I can. The journey continues!