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!

In other words:

What was the discussion in moving forward without Benjamin? “In a nutshell, we felt as though we couldn’t replace Ben, so we wouldn’t even try, and we would just come up with technological solutions to the huge gap that his… absence leaves in the band… That’s just not The Cars, you know; that’s just not us.” — Elliot Easton, interview with Slacker Radio at Lollapalooza, 2011

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Episode 11: What if…?

EP11Move Like This is a terrific album, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, it was recorded more than ten years after the death of Benjamin Orr. But what if he was still alive? Dave and Donna discuss the likelihood of Benjamin’s participation in the reunion, how the surviving members honored Benjamin’s memory, and we take a look at how the album may have turned out differently with his unique contributions. A couple of great call-ins and an email question about Benjamin’s unreleased tracks round out the show.

Click here to get to Episode 11:

Just a heads up: our next episode is scheduled for Friday, September 29, 2017, when we’ll be talking about how The Cars came across in a live show. Were you lucky enough to see them play? Email your thoughts and experiences to us at nightthoughtspodcast@gmail.com and we’ll read them on the air!

Also, don’t forget to check out our teepublic page for a variety of one-of-a-kind Cars shirts and memorabilia for sale. Some VERY cool stuff there!

UPDATE (March 14, 2018): All episodes are now available on Youtube! Listen, subscribe, and share. Check us out at bit.do/nightthoughts 

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In other words:

bendave5.jpgOn recording Move Like This without Benjamin: “…Over the years we’ve missed him and in a way we reflect on how good he was now more than ever. If he was here to contribute something now, it would be fantastic. Yeah, even every few years, I have to sort of look at videos of what he’s doing and how good he is, listen to the old songs.  But for me, listening to the old songs that we are thinking about doing on stage makes me appreciate his voice.” –David Robinson interview, May 5, 2011, consequenceofsound.net

In other words:

EEGregBenrecordingRegarding the recording of Move Like This: “It was hard not having Ben around. There were many, many times when we all missed him. I remember when we used to do background vocals, for instance – and it was usually Ben, Greg and myself standing around a mic – so during those times on this record when we did background parts, it felt very strange not to have Ben there. There are so many other things, too – his sense of humor, his bass playing… He was just a great guy. Everything about him, everything he did…it was all missed.” — Elliot Easton, musicradar.com, April 18, 2011