More on The C.A.R.E. Session

I gave a brief summary of this project in the article I recently wrote about Michael Stanley, but let’s look a little more closely at Ben’s involvement in the C.A.R.E. Session, shall we?

First we’ll add a few more deets about the undertaking and its background.

The single “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” released at the end of 1984 by the one-off UK ‘supergroup’ Band Aid, was a big hit: a heartfelt, no holds-barred ballad to bring awareness of the famine going on at that time in Ethiopia. Bob Geldof (the leader of The Boomtown Rats and a political activist) was deeply moved by the plight, and led the charge to raise money to provide relief for Africa. He wrote the song and solicited the voices of his friends, who happened to be the poppiest of the pop artists of the day, and who all donated their time to the cause. I’m sure many of you will remember this groundbreaking song and its ‘who’s who of 80s music’ video.

The project sort of became “the charity single heard ’round the world,” as the reverberations bounced from continent to continent. Sales of the record far exceeded Geldof’s expectations, and it spurred a chain reaction of artists wanting to do their part to assuage the hunger crises around the world. In fact, it inspired a whole movement by groups of artists taking to vinyl to raise money; it was a bit of an 80s phenomenon.

In Cleveland, Ohio, it was radio executive John Gorman and media personality Denny Sanders, two beloved local icons, who caught the vision and decided to rally their town for the cause. Gorman does a great job of telling the story of the project’s inception in his own words on his blog, so I’ll let you read that, and I’ll just record the statistical particulars here:

  • C.A.R.E. stands for Cleveland Artists Recording for Ethiopia.
  • The Session — the actual recording of the song and video — took place through the week of April 15 to April 26, 1985, at Beachwood Studios in Beachwood, Ohio. The studio time and tape was all donated, thanks to Keith Voigt and EDR Entertainment.
  • The song was called “The Eyes Of The Children,” and was written by Michael Stanley with Mark Avsec, Kevin Raleigh, Bob Pelander, and Danny Powers.
  • 50% of the proceeds went to USA for Africa to combat the famine there, and 50% was given to The Hunger Task Force of the Interchurch Council and The Catholic Hunger Network for the benefit of the hungry in northeast Ohio.
  • Musicians on the project were: Tommy Dobeck (drums and percussion), Michael Gismondi (bass), Bob Pelander (piano and synthesizer), Kevin Raleigh (synthesizers), and Danny Powers (guitars).
  • Featured vocalists, as listed on the insert, were: Skip Martin (Dazz Band), Ben Orr (The Cars), Joe Vitale, Jennifer Lee, Rickie Medlocke (Blackfoot), Kenny Pettus (Dazz Band), Kevin Raleigh (MSB), Michael Stanley (MSB), Visions (Dianne Woods, Cherrelle Brown, Alecia Burton), Alex Bevan, Paul Fayrewether, Mimi Hart (The Bop-Kats), Bob Pelander & Danny Powers (MSB), and Donnie Iris.
  • Vocalists on the chorus, as listed on the insert, were: all of the above, plus Audrey Goodwin, Shari Brown, Mark Addison (Nation of One), Bill Pettijohn & Billy Sullivan (Moonlight Drive); Jim Bonfanti, Dave Smalley, Wally Bryson (former members of The Raspberries), Tom & Frank Amato (Beau Coup), Mary Martin, Mark Avsec (Donnie Iris & The Cruisers), Billy Buckholtz & Steve Jochum (Wild Horses), You-Turn (Archie, Norris, Kenneth, Kevin, and David Bell), Dave Smeltz (I-Tal), Dennis Chandler, and Ellie Nore.
  • The song premiered on the airwaves on June 26, 1985, but the vinyl wasn’t released for purchase until late November. Delays with USA for Africa caused the pressings to collect dust in a warehouse for several months. Gorman joked that the record would make history as a disc that became an oldie before its release.
  • I’m not sure how financially successful the endeavor ended up being overall, in terms of the amount donated to charity. Having the records held up would’ve really hurt sales, I’m sure.

There are so many factors that made this project a good fit for Benjamin. Of course, he grew up in Cleveland, and had friends and family there that he loved. And in his teen years, he enjoyed some local celebrity as the leader of The Grasshoppers, a popular band who had a couple of hit records and appeared frequently on The Upbeat Show in 1965. He made a lot of connections with the up-and-coming musicians of those days, as well as with the local industry professionals. After he moved to Boston and made it big, he was never stingy with his celebrity status or his musical talent, He seemed immensely proud of his hometown, and it sounds like there wasn’t a bit of hesitation when he said ‘yes.’

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My stash from Matthew Fuller.

Here’s how I got my copy of the record: I went to Cleveland in April of 2018 to see The Cars get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During that weekend one of the thrills was getting to go see Moving In Stereo, a Cars cover band, play live (who freaking ROCKED, by the way). I had interviewed the band members and wrote an article about them the year before, and now I was about to meet them in person! Oh man, they were so good to me. They gave me two tickets to see the show — Joe Milliken was my concert buddy — and afterwards, they invited us to hang out in the bar for a drink. While we were chatting, Matthew Fuller, the bass player and ‘Ben of the band,’ gave me a surprise: a box of Cars’-related goodies he had collected for me. I was jacked! And in that stash was the C.A.R.E. Session album in great condition — I still can’t get over it. What a treasure!

After listening to both sides of the album, I’ve discovered that there are three different edits of the song. Here’s the first: the official video. You can hear Ben sing two lines: “you’ve heard it all before” at 0:23 (big thanks to Laurie H. for pointing that out!), and “across the ocean, across the highway” at 0:58. He looks so handsome! I wonder what he’s holding in his hand? It almost looks like car keys, and it seems like he’s signaling someone to turn the levels of something up? After the song, don’t miss that adorable little snippet of the ‘making of’ interview with Ben.

possibly ben screenshot from video_LI
Maybe Ben?

Interesting… Ben makes it sound like he was already in Cleveland working on his album when Kid Leo (a DJ at Cleveland’s WMMS station) called him? Oh, and I think there’s a Ben sighting in the big group sing-along, too. If you look closely at the video between 2:34 and 2:36. there’s a guy in the back row on the right that has a profile similar to Ben’s. And if you look around 2:25ish, you can see the same man behind a singer that is wearing a red shirt with white on the sleeves, and it certainly looks like Ben from that angle, too.

Anyhoo… the second version of the song is found on Side One of the record. I went ahead and digitized it (the sound quality is a bit stinky, though; sorry!). This track is about a minute longer than the video, and includes a second verse and a repeat of the bridge that were omitted in the video edit. Happily, this gives us two more Ben lines! I made my own video for this, and I used scans of the cover art from the album and the sleeve for the slideshow. I’ll add those images here so we can fixate on them… er… see them better. Probably a little overkill, but oh well.

front cover 01 crop
Front cover
ben crop 1
Ben cropped from the front cover
ben crop 2
Ben, cropped and rotated
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The insert
ben crop 3
Ben cropped from the insert
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Other side of the insert
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Back cover

Here’s the video I made:

You can hear Benjamin at 0:24 (“you’ve heard it all before”), at 0:59 (“across the ocean, across the highway”), at 2:00 (“that this will all go away”), and at 2:35 (“across the ocean, across the highway”). He’s sounds ah-mazing, as always!

The third and final version of the song is Side Two of the record, and it is noted as the ‘long version.’ The name fits. It has an additional two-plus minutes of music and chorus repetition, and goes out with a wacky sputter.  I found an upload of it on YouTube, if you want to check it out.

Also, here is a video that includes the full interview that Ben was in, along with other media coverage of the project. Nothing new of Benjamin himself here, but several segments with the late Michael Stanley, and you can get a good feel for the heart of it all.

Just for kicks, and for the sake of my little completist heart, I’m including the lyrics of the full song here. I’ll emphasize the lines that Benjamin sings.

“The Eyes Of The Children” by Michael Stanley, Mark Avsec, Kevin, Raleigh, Bob Pelander, and Danny Powers

It's not such a strange situation
You've heard it all before
Someone needs a helping hand

And even the best of intentions
Sometimes they just aren't enough
So now is the hour to do all you can

Someone's crying alone in the night
Across the ocean, across the highway
There but for the grace of God go you and I

And the eyes of the children don't see black or white
There's no politics, no nations on a cold and hungry night
The promises and visions are only just a start
But it's the eyes of the children that keep the fire burning
Keep the fire burning in our hearts

There is no use in pretending 
That this will all go away
If somebody somewhere won't take a stand

And how much time would it take you
How much pain could you ease
And how many lives do we hold in our hands

Someone's crying alone in the night
Across the ocean, across the highway
There but for the grace of God go you and I

And the eyes of the children don't see black or white
There's no politics, no nations on a cold and hungry night
The promises and visions are only just a start
But it's the eyes of the children that keep the fire burning
Keep the fire burning in our hearts

And if you stop and think about it
Most of us have got it good
And if we try and find the answer
Well you know someday we might
Gotta try and make a difference
Gotta try and put things right

And the eyes of the children, they don't see black or white
There's no politics, no nations on a cold, cold and hungry night
The promises and visions are only just a start
But it's the eyes of the children that keep the fire burning
Keep the fire burning in our hearts

Let’s see… anything else? Oh yes, I think I mentioned this in a recent post. I discovered that this snapshot below of Benjamin with his good friend David Spero (another Cleveland legend in the music biz) was taken while Ben was in town working on this project. It was originally published in Joe Milliken’s book Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars. It’s a perfect way to end this article. ❤

ben and david spero
David Spero and Ben Orr, 1985. Photo by Bob Ferrell. Retrieved from Facebook.

The Michael Stanley ~ Benjamin Orr Connection

All of Cleveland was thrown into mourning with the recent death of local icon Michael Stanley. He passed away on March 5, 2021, after a seven-month battle with lung cancer.

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Image retrieved from the WMMS Cleveland Facebook page.

As a relentless rocker and a longstanding popular radio DJ, Stanley embodied all the dreams and passions of the people in his beloved hometown. He loved them, and they loved him. Author and music critic Holly Gleason wrote of Michael on variety.com, “He’d been produced by the biggest rock producers of the day in Don Gehman, Mutt Lange and Bill Szymczyk … and toured with the Eagles, REO Speedwagon, Fleetwood Mac. Living the rarest air of rock ‘n’ roll without ever forgetting the folks in Cleveland, he was ours.”

I’m afraid I am not well-versed on Michael’s extensive discography, but I definitely know his name. In fact, I had really hoped to meet him when I was in Cleveland in 2019 with Joe Milliken promoting Let’s Go!, but it didn’t work out. The familiarity for me came through Michael’s connection to Benjamin Orr. Born only 6 months apart, it seems like the two had the potential to be pretty deep friends. They had so much in common: they were both hardworking musicians, native sons of Cleveland; kindhearted, loyal, and generous with their time and talent.  It’s no surprise, then, that they collaborated on some very cool projects for their hometown.

  • The first one that I know of is the Cleveland C.A.R.E. project. Inspired by the groundbreaking record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” released at the end of 1984, radio executive John Gorman and media personality Denny Sanders (both legends in Cleveland) secured a roster of dozens of all-star Cleveland artists to create their own charity single. In addition to supporting the efforts to wipe out famine in Ethiopia, profits from the project would benefit the local food banks, too. They tapped Michael Stanley to write a song suited to all those voices, booked nearly two weeks of studio time in April of 1985, and hit the record stores in November with “The Eyes Of The Children.” Benjamin shows up in the music video at 0:58, with Michael right after him. This video also has an interview segment featuring Ben starting at 3:33.
  • From what I understand, sometime between 1987 and 1991, while Michael was co-hosting Cleveland’s evening program PM Magazine (later called Cleveland Tonight), Michael interviewed Ben. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the footage of that will surface for us to enjoy.
  • Michael and Ben crossed paths again for another Cleveland project some years later. The city’s football team, the Cleveland Browns, went dormant for a few years in the late 90s. When they were ready to get back in the game (literally) in 1998, Michael wrote “Here We Go Again” to celebrate their return, and recruited a pile of big names to perform on the recording and appear in the video for it. In the clip below, the first singer’s face we see is Michael’s, and he’s rocking the stage starting at 2:57. Of course, Ben, who seems to have been a devoted fan, was right there in the thick of it. You can see him in the music video at 2:43, 2:53, and 4:15.
  • When Benjamin passed away on October 3, 2000, Michael felt the loss. The very next night, during his concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on October 4, Michael paid tribute to Ben by sharing some fond memories, and then he dedicated a poignant acoustic ballad to him. Thanks to MS fan and historian Dave Wade, we have the honor of seeing this touching moment. You may want to grab a Kleenex.
  • Only a few short weeks later, on November 10, 2000, Michael would emcee Ben’s memorial celebration at the Hall, opening and closing the service for the family.

I like to think that Ben and Michael formed a solid friendship, bonding over music, the highs and the lows of the business, and over their mutual love and loyalty for Cleveland. I hope, too, that they are now rocking together in heaven.

Cleveland City Council has declared March 25th as Michael Stanley Day on what would have been his 73rd birthday. Sending a hug out to all of my grieving Cleveland friends. ❤

In other words:

ben and david spero
David Spero and Ben Orr. Photo by Bob Ferrell. Originally printed in the book Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars; retrieved from the book’s Facebook page.

“Benny called me one day to tell me that he had a new band called The Cars and he was now calling himself Ben Orr. Because of our friendship, I played their record. What I didn’t realize was that this was a Hall-of-Fame-caliber band that would change the world. Whenever he came to town, he would come in for an interview on my radio show and we always found time to share a meal or two. I always got to eat. Benny basically just signed autographs and had his picture taken.

“In many ways, he never left Cleveland, returning to sing on local records to raise money for different causes, always giving a shout-out to his hometown and never forgetting where he came from.” — David Spero, artist manager, former Cleveland DJ, and former associate producer of Upbeat!, Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, by Joe Milliken

Interesting note: This photo of David and Ben was taken in April, 1985, when Ben was in Cleveland during the C.A.R.E.S. Sessions to record “Eyes of the Children.” Click on the footage below to catch a bit of his involvement in that project:

Lyrics: That’s The Way

That’s The Way  (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)

She’ll get you mystified, you’re going for a ride
Or you can let it drop.
Or you can take the hit or you can miss the ship
Or you could take the top
That’s the way I want, I gotta see you anyway…yeah

Well, you can jump the fence or you can have some sense
Or you can call the cop.
Or you can close the book or you can just unhook
And all I know is…
That you can have some if you want to (don’t close your eyes)

I could show you if you want to
But all I know is…

That’s the way I want
Shake you, take you down
All the way…yeah
(I tell you) That’s the way… all the way

Well, you can take what you want to (don’t close your eyes)
You can do what you like (** your eyes)
Just something else to get through (don’t close your eyes)
But you got to want to win
It’ll come around again anyway

Well, you can take what you want to (don’t close your eyes)
You can do what you like (** your eyes)
Just something else to get through (don’t close your eyes)
But you got to want to win
It’ll come around again anyway

Hey you can take the piece or you can shake the squeeze
You can let it drop.
Well, you can take the pass or you can break the glass
And all I know is…
That’s the way I want
Shake you; take you down
Yeah

Well you can roll it back or you can counteract
or you can shut it down.
Well you can take the hit or you can transmit (transmit)
And all I know is…
That you can have some if you want to (don’t close your eyes)
I can show you if you want to.
But all I know is…

That’s the way I want
Shake you; take you down…yeah
(I tell you) That’s the way…

All the way

Lyrics: The Lace

The Lace (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)

 

Just walking through the city, some need to sort things out

I don’t need to know the pity I’m feeling for us now

 

We walked right back together, back when I hardly knew

Why do the strangest things bring back those times with you?

Just when we’re getting closer I’m seeing something new

 

Just soaking up the city, drifting the days away, yeah

Searching through crowds of people, the face that got away

 

We talked good times together, put all my dreams on you

You led me down some path and now I see where to

Turns out my best just wasn’t good enough for you

 

You couldn’t recognize the loss in the world

I want to lose yourself, you couldn’t feel the pull

Everything just ends up so sad, too bad, I gave it what I had

 

Just walking through the city, drifting the days away, yeah

Searching through crowds of people, the lace that got away

 

You’re telling me it’s nothing when I would watch you stare

How could I get to you when you were never there?

 

We walked right back together, back when I hardly knew

Why do the strangest things bring back those times with you?

Just when we’re getting closer I’m seeing something new

 

You couldn’t recognize the loss in the world, so sad

Lyrics: Hold On

Hold On* (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)

[Disclaimer: I gave myself some room on this one. The words are hard to discern and the other published attempts I’ve read don’t really hit the mark to me, so just know that I’ve written what I’m hearing and it may not be perfect.]

Well you sure look good tonight, I think I’ve come to see some light

Come on, hold onto me… belong to me

You know that love looks good on you, in what you say and what you do

Come on, hold onto me… it’s all I need

 

I’d gotten to the point where time was plowing by

Not a thing to show for all the times I’ve tried

Now we just can’t seem to wipe the smile away and you gave it to me

Given up on feeling something beautiful

Loneliness was starting to be suitable to me

Lucky day I found when you got into us

 

Can’t seem to get enough of you, when you’re away I dream that you

Come on and hold onto me, belong to me

And so it never really ends, you mend the hurts that never mend

Come on, hold on to me, it’s all I need

 

Where did all what I had in mind run for me?**

Guess you gotta take the blinders off so you can see

Not a thought goes by that doesn’t hang on you and what did I do before?

Can’t believe that this is really happening

All the hurtful days are finally vanishing

Making all your fantasies realities

 

We could be in for some surprises; I know it… you know it, too

Before you think of compromising just realize it’s only here for you

 

Yeah you sure look good tonight, I think I’ve finally seen some light

Come on, hold onto me… it’s all I need

And so it never really ends, you mend the hurts that never mend

Come on and hold onto me, belong to me

 

Gotta knack for bringing out the best to me

When the love is right it’s possible to see you so clearly

All my life I wondered would it come to me then you brought it to me

Can’t believe that this is really happening, all the hurtful days are finally vanishing

Making all your fantasies realities

 

Where did all what I had in mind run for me?**

Guess you gotta take the blinders off so you can see

Not a thought comes by that doesn’t hang on you and what did I do before?

 

*Original title: “Belong to Me”

** Help!

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

Lyrics: Too Hot To Stop

Too Hot To Stop by Benjamin Orr  (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Grey Page ©1985)

It’s about time you told me what you wanted
It’s about time you showed me what goes where
There’s a lot on the line, oh, it’s back to where we started
It’s about time, and maybe I don’t care

It’s about time, counted back to zero
There’s a lot on the line, time to clean the air
Keep it in mind, oh, it all goes out the window
It’s about time, well, I can’t see it but I know it’s there

Remember it’s too hot to stop
Remember well, too hot to stop

It’s about time you gotta face up the factor
It’s about time ‘cause it’s been on my mind
There’s a lot on the line, if it’s left to any question
It’s about time, well, you can call it in anytime

Remember it’s too hot to stop
Remember too hot to stop

You make it so hard getting through to ya
It’s not the time for throw away
Just like it’s all something new to ya
You can hang on or run away

It’s about time you start to get the picture
It’s about time you gotta take a look around
Keep it in mind because you’re almost over limit
It’s about time and it’s all about to come down

It’s about time you gotta wake up, smell the coffee
It’s about time you gotta open up your eyes
There’s a lot on the line, so tired of hearing ‘sorry’
It’s about time, ‘cause a part of me likes surprise

Remember well, it’s too hot to stop
Remember too hot to stop

Well, you make it so hard getting through to ya
It’s not the time for throw away
Just like it’s all something new to ya
You can hang on or run away

It’s about time you told me what you wanted
It’s about time, it’s about time, yeah
Keep it in mind, oh, it’s back to where we started
It’s about time, it’s in your mind, about time

Remember it’s too hot to stop
Remember too hot to stop…

Tonight She Comes

I would guess that 1985 was a crazy year for The Cars.

They spent the last half of 1983 living in England while recording Heartbeat City. They toured pretty much from April through September of 1984 behind that album, and spent time shooting four videos and playing for MTV’s “A Private Affair.” On the surface, it might appear that The Cars had taken a well-justified break in 1985, only publicly performing at Live Aid in July of that year, but that was certainly not the case.

Closer inspection reveals that the members of the band were going gangbusters, creatively. Elliot had released his solo album and was touring behind it; surely Benjamin was writing and working on his; and Ric was definitely spending time in the studio with his second solo effort, This Side of Paradise (which Greg, Benjamin and Elliot all appear on!). And it was during this time that the decision was made to release a ‘greatest hits’ album.

Makes sense: the band’s popularity was riding high with five American Top 40 singles from Heartbeat City, the exposure from Live Aid (where “Drive” was used as the background music to an iconic video montage of images depicting the famine in Ethiopia), and claiming the honor of “Video of the Year” from MTV’s inaugural music awards. It was a perfect time to expose this 80s generation to the full scope of The Cars’ creative history.

greatesthitsfrontOn October 25, 1985, Elektra released The Cars Greatest Hits. It contained twelve songs (a nice sampling from across the band’s first five albums) including a remixed version of “I’m Not The One” from the Shake It Up album. Along with those, a previously unrecorded track was offered: an entirely new song, “Tonight She Comes.” Ric tells how it came about:

“The record company wanted a new track for the greatest hits album, and I was in the middle of recording my solo album, and it was one of the songs that I didn’t use in the solo album at that point, and we just did that single… Actually, I was in the studio upstairs doing the one record and then we had another one going downstairs at the same time. That was like a one-off single that we just all came together and did and it was quite fun to just go in and do it like that. And I like the video for that one because it was crazy.” – Up Close radio interview, August 26, 1987

Listening to Ric’s description, I envisioned the guys all showing up and jamming the song out in short order, like in the old days. I was surprised to find out that it was actually a four-week project. The song was recorded at Electric Lady studios in New York, and was produced with the help of Mike Shipley (who would later work with Benjamin on his solo album, The Lace). It was released as a single on October 14, 1985, with “Just What I Needed” on the B-side.

It turns out that it was extremely appropriate to put the song on a ‘greatest hits’ CD, as “Tonight She Comes” would end up being one of the band’s highest charting singles. It hit #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, and went as high as #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Elektra also released the song on a limited edition picture disc. The album itself was a commercial success as well, reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 200 and eventually being certified six times platinum.

 

 

Strangely, this doesn’t seem to be a track that you hear about often. Maybe because it wasn’t on a regular album? It’s a shame, because it’s a terrific song. The music is fun — very bright and poppy — and I love Benjamin’s deep background vocals. The lyrics are happy and loving, upbeat; less cynical than many of their other songs. It definitely holds up well with repeated listening.

In the spotlight, though? Elliot’s guitar solo is amazing! And while it has a spontaneous feel to it, it turns out he spent a lot of time crafting it. Elliot told Guitar Player magazine in February of 1986, “I happened to have worked on “Tonight She Comes,” mostly because I had such a long wait in a hotel room in New York. At night, I would sit around watching the tube with my guitar by my side. I had a little micro-cassette recorder, and I would add another lick to the solo. With this approach, you end up with a mathematically cool solo. Then you’ve got to learn it and make it sound like it’s coming off the top of your head, which is an art.”

And then of course there is the small ruckus over the song title. Does Ric mean what most people assume he means? Some people don’t care; some think it’s raunchy… I’ve not heard Ric address the issue (and I wouldn’t really expect him to, given that he likes the listener to draw their own connection to his writing) but Elliot is quoted in the Anthology booklet as saying, “It doesn’t actually say that she reaches orgasm. It could mean that tonight she’s coming over to make popcorn.” So there you have it! Haha!

A couple of other little notables:

Benjamin plays his Guild Pilot bass in the official video (link below), which also happens to be the beauty he was playing at Live Aid that summer.

The woman who stars in the video is Tara Shannon, a well-known model who, at the time, had not starred in any previous videos or movie projects. She says she was shot separately from the band so she didn’t get to meet most of them, but she had a great time filming her part. She also won an award for “Best Performance by a Fashion Model in a Music Video” for her work in “Tonight She Comes.” You can read her thoughts on her experience here.

And my last note. I love the lyrics; they don’t phase me. My favorite line is, “She jangles me up, she does it with ease. Sometimes she passes through me just like a breeze.” Yeah… I know that feeling… but about a guy. LOL

Enjoy the official video below, and click here if you want the lyrics to sing along to.

Lyrics: Tonight She Comes

Tonight She Comes by The Cars (written by Ric Ocasek, ©1985)

I know tonight she comes
She’s taking a swipe at fun
She gives me a reason
For setting my sights
Well I know tonight she comes

Oh she jangles me up
She does it with ease
And sometimes she passes through me
Just like a breeze
She gives me a reason
For feelin’ all right

Oh well
(know tonight, I know tonight)
I know tonight
(know tonight, I know tonight)
I know tonight
(know tonight, I know tonight)
She comes

And I know she’s gonna do it to me
One more time (one more time)
I know she’s gonna stay implanted
In my mind
Why does she keep me hanging on the line, oh
(why does she keep me hanging on the liiiiiiine)

Ah yeah, I know she’s gonna do it to me
One more time (one more time)
I know she’s gonna stay implanted
In my mind
Oh, why does she keep me hanging on the line, oh yeah
(why does she keep me hanging on the liiiiiiine)

I know the way she feels
And all of the hearts that she steals
She tells me it’s easy
When you do it right
Oh well, well I know tonight she comes
(I know tonight she comes)

She tells me it’s easy
When you do it right
(know tonight, I know tonight) I know tonight
(know tonight, I know tonight) I know tonight
(know tonight, I know tonight) she comes

I know tonight, oh yeah
(know tonight, I know tonight)
(I know tonight) well I know tonight
(know tonight, I know tonight)
Know tonight she comes

Miami Vice: Missed Opportunity

Miami Vice: Missed Opportunity

I love the way he says this:

Caller: “Have you ever considered going into acting, and if so, what kind of roles would you like to take part in?”  Benjamin: “I considered it… but nothing’s come my way…” (laughing) — Rockline interview, 1987

Well, we know of at least one opportunity he had, but it didn’t work out — dang it!

Miami Vice was a hugely popular television show from 1984 to 1989. It starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as undercover detectives whose job was to rid Miami of drug lords, sleazeballs, and other bad dudes. Unlike the normal fare in the ‘cops and robbers’ genre, Miami Vice skillfully threaded their episodes with cool clothing (starting a whole new fashion trend!) and cutting edge music.  The show often featured popular rock-and-rollers of the day, like Glenn Frey, Phil Collins, Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons, Sheena Easton, Power Station (and plenty of great actors, too)… the list goes on and on. It is a great tragedy that Benjamin Orr’s name is not on that list.

1985-09-06theromenewsmiamivice

Apparently Benjamin was scheduled for a cameo appearance on Miami Vice in 1985, but the day set aside for him to film his part was the same day The Cars were to appear on stage at Live Aid. Since he later mentions Live Aid as his most memorable experience with the band, I’m SO glad they did it. And their performance there is EPIC, one of the best… but , oh, how I would have loved to see him act! Could you imagine? His incredible looks, that low voice, his stony facial expressions; maybe even featuring a song with his vocals (a la Glenn Frey and Smuggler’s Blues)… it all seems so perfect for him! It’s a shame he never got a second chance.

Benjamin was asked a few times what he thought about acting. Here are a couple of other clips of his responses…

 

What do you think? What kind of roles would have liked to see him play — leading man, action hero, villain? Comment below or find me on Facebook!