Happy 40th Anniversary, Panorama!

As many of you know, Panorama is my favorite Cars’ album! It was released 40 years ago today, on August 15, 1980. To celebrate, I’ve got stickers to give away!

panorama stickers

If you’d like one, please mail me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I’ll send a sticker your way! A small envelope with a single stamp will do; the diameter of the circle is only 3 inches. Because I have a limited quantity, it will be first come, first served.

Here’s my mailing address:

sweetpurplejune

P.O. Box 925

Priest River ID 83856

Some quick facts about this album, and a few links:

  • It is The Cars’ third album, and Roy Thomas Baker continued his streak as the band’s producer.
  • It was initially recorded at Power Station Studios in New York. Roy was unhappy with the situation there so they packed up their stuff and moved to Cherokee Studios (where they had recorded Candy-O) and started over. Man oh man, how I’d love for those initial tapes to surface!
  • The photography for the cover art was done by the amazing Paul McAlpine. The flag on the front was mistakenly believed to be a painting done by David Robinson, but that has since been debunked.
  • Panorama was reissued as an expanded edition in 2017. You can read my review of it here, if you like: https://sweetpurplejune.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/review-panorama-expanded-edition/
  •  “Don’t Go To Pieces” was recorded but ultimately left off the album, though it did show up on two B sides. Read more about that little gem here: https://sweetpurplejune.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/dont-go-to-pieces/
  • Lots of info about the song and video for “Touch And Go” in this article: https://sweetpurplejune.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/touch-and-go/
  • I did go ahead and upload the audio of John Lennon talking about “Touch and Go” to YouTube to make it easier for people to hear.

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been sitting on an interview I did with Gerald Casale since around February. He directed the videos for “Panorama” and “Touch And Go,” and he was so gracious to speak to me at length! It’s kind of a stupid story as to why it’s not done yet but no excuses; it’s on me. I’ve got it in the queue and hope to get it published soon!

Here’s the official video for “Panorama.” I LOVE THIS!!

Oh, and of course, Dave and I dissected this album for the podcast back in 2018.

Whew — okay, I think that’s it for now! Don’t forget to send me an envelope if you want that sticker. And now? Time to crank my favorite Cars record!! Enjoy this full-album playlist from The Cars Official Youtube channel. ❤

I know it’s not a Vargas but…

panorama front

Panorama: My favorite album, and my favorite album cover! Gorgeous, right? Simple, clean, and badass.

Here’s a misconception we can clear up pretty quickly:

Cars’ drummer David Robinson is sometimes credited with painting the flag for the cover of the Panorama album.  This Nightflight article states it, and I believe Wikipedia reported that at one time, too. Did you believe it? I did!

Well, it’s not so. David himself set the record straight in a Facebook post:

panorama conversation

That’s pretty definitive!

And of course we know that Paul McAlpine did the rest of the photography for the record, including the very cool cover art on the back, and the lovely album sleeve.

Heck, he took a ton of great photos of the band! If you’re not familiar with his work, do a quick Google search of “paul mcalpine the cars” and prepare to be amazed!

I do have to say, David’s “obviously” in his comment above made me feel a little foolish, because I did not doubt his ability to make a painting that looked so great. Was that naive of me? My husband did a pretty decent job with the duplicate he painted for me, so I thought, “Why not?” 😉

panorama paintedpanorama painted 2

Our Fanorama Family

With the passing of Ric Ocasek on September 15, the world has gone into mourning. Rock legends and up-and-coming musicians (and everyone in between) have been paying tribute to him all week long, in all sorts of meaningful ways: posting photos, tweeting remembrances, and singing his songs in live sets across the country. Not only do they celebrate the man they loved and admired, but they give us a gift in revealing more about who Ric really was. I am deeply appreciative.

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Photo by Paul McAlpine

Seeing all of the headlines day after day, my sixteen-year-old daughter remarked, “Wow. I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal.” You see, here in my house, my family obviously knows about my fixation with Ben and The Cars, and they lovingly humor me about it, but they think it’s just my ‘little thing.’ They don’t know how important The Cars have been to the world at large, and none of them really understand how much the band matters to me. They don’t get that it is more than just an obsession or a hobby. Ben, Ric, David, Greg, Elliot… these guys move me. Their music is part of my brain matter, intimately inseparable from my emotions and memories. Their existence is important to my existence. And when they are no longer leaving fingerprints in this world, I feel it deep down inside. Not many of my peeps around here get that.

And so it has been all the more precious to me to see how the Cars fans have come together over the news that Ric is gone.

A few years ago someone coined the term ‘Fanorama’ to encompass the members of the Facebook groups and Twitter pages (and anywhere on social media, really) who regularly check in to geek out about The Cars. Over the years I’ve developed many solid relationships inside the Fanorama; people who I may or may not have ever met in ‘real life’ but that are part of my daily landscape. And while I’ve long considered them friends, I believe that Ric’s death has made us a family.

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Artwork by Jim Clarke

When someone you love dies you automatically want to go to others who also loved that person and express your shock and sadness. You want to share the memories and pictures, you want to cry together and tell of regrets and give words of hope. It’s a natural human response, right? “Misery loves company.” And you bond as brothers and sisters in your grief.

And that’s what we did, our Fanorama. When Ric died, we virtually looked at each other in disbelief and said, “tell me it’s not true!” We collapsed on each other’s shoulders and cried together in grief. We gave strength and we took strength and we squeezed each other’s hands and asked, “how are you holding up?” We wrapped our arms around each other and held on tight and assured each other, “it’s going to be okay.” And we shared memories, music, stories, artwork, awe, laughter, frustration, gratitude. I felt it — I still feel it — every time I get on social media, the healing comfort of my dear Cars family.

I find that in the midst of this devastating loss there is so much love. It’s a beautiful thing.

So many offerings I’ve seen and heard this week have helped me, but I think this video comes the closest to encompassing my emotions in a visual form. I woke up the morning after Ric passed away feeling confusion and achy longing and at a bit of a loss. My FB feed was flooded, but this post from Becky B caught my eye. As I watched the incredible video she created, the tears came again, but as much pain as I felt watching it, it was different somehow. I saw the celebration of Ric and Ben. Her tribute skillfully addressed the hurt and the healing and the hope, all at the same time.

The song choice, the photos and live footage, the spiritual aura… I’m not sure how to explain my impressions.  I’ll just let you watch it. Be sure to grab some tissue.

I send out a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Becky. I can’t imagine how late she stayed up the night Ric left us in order to create this tribute, but I’m so glad she did. It went straight to my heart.

And thank you, my Fanorama family. Being able to stay in touch with you this week has been such a consolation to me, and I know you are comforting one another, too. We’ll see each other through this, like a family should.