Lyrics: Down Boys

“Down Boys” by The Cars

You were trying to be cute and it didn’t work out

You were trying to be charming and it didn’t come off

You were trying to be clever, a big waste of time

You were trying to get rough but you’re waiting in line

 

You can’t make it with the down boys, they don’t hear a word you say

You can’t make it with the down boys, just stay out of their way

 

You were trying to be sharp but they couldn’t wait

You were trying to be eternal but that didn’t rate

You were trying to be smooth, you’re rough on the edges

You were trying to be hysterical and I still ain’t laughing

 

You can’t make it with the down boys, they don’t hear a word you say

You can’t make it with the down boys, just stay out of their way

 

You were trying to be in but they left you out

You were trying to be in two different worlds

You were trying to be in, oscillation in shame

You were trying to be in but you’re lost in the game

 

You can’t make it with the down boys, they don’t hear a word you say

You can’t make it with the down boys, just stay out of their way

Stay out of the way… out of the way!

 

You can’t make it with the down boys, they don’t hear a word you say

You can’t make it with the down boys, just stay out of their way

Lyrics: You Can’t Hold On Too Long

“You Can’t Hold On Too Long” by The Cars

I can’t put out your fire, I know it’s too late

I can’t be up for hire, it’s not my best trait

The gallow glass is cracking, it’s starting to smash

How can you cry without blinking a lash?

 

You’re feeling’s cross and wavy, you’re on the edge of the cuff

You’re pushing and popping, you don’t get enough

You wish that it was over, you never slow down

You’re looking for kicks, there’s nothing around

 

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

 

You’re surrounded by the laughing boys, they puncture your style

They send for their bandanas and you try for their smile

You’d like to come in colors, you don’t know which one

You can’t be too choosy, it’s just for fun

 

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

 

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

You can’t hold on too long, it’s alright

 

Lyrics: All Mixed Up

“All Mixed Up” by The Cars

She shadows me in the mirror, she never leaves on the light

And some things that I say to her, they just don’t seem to bite

It’s all mixed up… it’s all mixed up

It’s all mixed up

 

She tricks me into thinking I can’t believe my eyes

I wait for her forever but she never does arrive

It’s all mixed up… it’s all mixed up

It’s all mixed up

 

She said to leave it to me (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright (be alright)

She said to leave it to me (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright

 

She’s always out making pictures, she’s always out making scenes

She’s always out the window when it comes to making dreams

It’s all mixed up… it’s all mixed up

It’s all mixed up

 

She says to leave it to me (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright (be alright)

She says leave it to me (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright, be alright (be alright)

 

She said to leave it to me (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright (be alright)

She said leave it to me, yeah (leave it to me)

Everything will be alright, be alright (be alright)

 

If you leave it to me everything gonna be alright

Yeah, if you leave it to me

(Be alright, be alright, be alright, be alright… )

Lyrics: Bye Bye Love

“Bye Bye Love” by The Cars

I can’t feel this way much longer expecting to survive

With all these hidden innuendos just waiting to arrive

It’s such a wavy midnight and you slip into insane

Electric angel rock-and-roller, I hear what you’re playing

 

It’s an orangy sky, always it’s some other guy

It’s just a broken lullaby

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

 

Substitution, mass confusion clouds inside your head

Involving all my energies until you visited

With your eyes of porcelain and of blue, they shock me into sense

You think you’re so illustrious you call yourself intense

 

It’s an orangy sky, always it’s some other guy

It’s just a broken lullaby

Bye bye love

Bye bye love (yeah)

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

 

Substitution, mass confusion clouds inside your head

Well, foggin’ all my energies until you visited

With your eyes of porcelain and of blue, they shock me into sense

You think you’re so illustrious you call yourself intense

 

It’s an orangy sky, always it’s some other guy

It’s just a broken lullaby

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

Bye bye love

In other words:

11173381_1198170660199561_7158283802363511294_n
Photo by Ebet Roberts. 1978

Do you think about Ben a lot? “He was certainly my closest friend. He was in every band I ever had. It was a pretty close relationship. He crosses my mind a lot. I certainly see pictures of him around or I hear his voice.

“It’s funny, for some of these re-release things we would find some alternative cuts or things. I’d find demos or recordings where Ben and I played acoustically at Cambridge, Massachusetts, those clubs around Harvard. It was just him and I. They were kind of great. Every time I heard him sing on anything, whether it was a demo or a living room, it always sounded amazing. I could never get over how great his voice was, at least to me.

“So yeah, I think about him. Unfortunately, there were a lot of artists I was close to we lost in the past couple of years, Alan Vega and a bunch … I guess time rolls on.” ~ Ric Ocasek, Rolling Stone Magazine, December 17, 2017.

Those isolated tracks!

isolated

Hello, friends! Just a quick post this morning as I got a great question from a reader (thank you, MV!). Having heard the isolated track that I posted in my article about “Just What I Needed,” she was curious and eager to find out if more such gems existed. I do know of a few, so I thought I’d post them all in one place to make it easier for all of us to enjoy the deliciousness of Ben’s vocals.

 

Here’s that initial one. It was posted by Jose Mirelli on Vimeo, and it includes Ben’s bass track and Elliot’s guitar solo:

Jose has two more on his Vimeo page: “All Mixed Up” and “Bye Bye Love.” I love the one for “Bye Bye Love” so much that I wrote a little gush about it. Haha! Again, these uploads are both vocals and bass:

 

There is also a Youtube channel that has taken songs from The Cars’ first album and broken them down into isolated tracks. The only ones on there (right now) with Ben’s vocals are “Just What I Needed,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” These are literally *only* vocals, so you have to wait through the silence at the beginning of each track. Don’t give up — these are fabulous!

 

 

UPDATE: Here’s another, thanks to reader COrrvettes80He03Me: the isolated vocal track of “Drive.” This is so tender and lovely. I can’t help but imagine Ben singing this to his young son as a bedtime lullaby.

Ah, sweet Ben! I never get tired of his voice.

The reader who asked about this was pointing out that with the recovery of the Candy-O monitor mixes, certainly the capability of creating more of these kinds of audios is out there. Of course, we all wish that the vocal tracks would be released from EVERY song Ben recorded! To put on headphones and have him crooning right into my ears is such a divine experience, and believe me, I partake regularly. And now you can, too!

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy the post I did where I listed all of the songs I know of that Ben sang lead on. You can find it here: Benjamin: Lead Vocal List.

Benjamin: Lead Vocal List

C’mon, do I even need to say it? Benjamin’s voice is… everything.

Beautiful to the ears. Wonderful in vocal range. He opens his mouth and easily creates those lilting harmonies, or those deep warm tones.  Dramatic, melodic, seductive. Full of disdain or smoldering with emotion. Exuding confidence. Descending and weaving and pressing close…

I could go on and on, gushing about the mellifluous sounds that come out of that man, but I promised myself I wouldn’t. This is supposed to be just straightforward research. As you know, I love to have my little rows of facts and dates and figures; they make me so happy. Pulling data together and organizing it into a meaningful, structured presentation gives me a geeky thrill.

I’m a nerd… I know this.

So I decided I wanted to see a list of all of the songs Benjamin sang in his far-too-short career. Typing it into a single column in chronological order triggered a bout of pinball-machine-analysis and deep, varied speculations, but I’ll keep those to myself for now. And as satisfying as it was for me to see the list in a simple Word doc, I decided to stretch myself into the world of designing ‘infographics’ with this article. Bear with me, they are a little basic, but I wanted to add some color.

(And did you like my title? “Vocal List”… “vocalist”… see what I did there? Haha. Okay, okay… moving on…)

Before we dive in… some little disclaimers:

  1. This blog post is a work in progress.
  2. During the Milkwood and Ocasek & Orr years with Ric, the two harmonized and shared vocals so often that I decided not to list every single song they recorded, but instead only listed the ones where Benjamin handles the lion’s share of the vocals.
  3. I believe Ocasek & Orr recorded a version of “Start It All Again,” and I have always assumed that Benjamin sang the lead on it (as he did with Cap’n Swing), but I didn’t list it under O&O since I’ve not actually heard that version (but boy, would I love to!).
  4. I understand that Benjamin did some background vocals for other artists, but I haven’t been diligent about making notes when I come across that information. I’ll start a file to collect those notes, so hit me up with links, please and thank you.
  5. And again, I am only listing songs where he sang lead or the majority of the vocals…
  6. …except for “Since I Held You” and “You Are The Girl.” Wikipedia gave Benjamin a shared vocal credit on those, so I added them, too.
  7. I’ve only addressed songs that I’ve actually heard or can otherwise verify the existence of, but as always, I obviously don’t know everything. If I’m missing information PLEASE let me know!

And we’re off!

BENVOCAL1e

BENVOCAL2b

BENVOCAL3

** Update July 26, 2018: Added two songs to The Grasshoppers and the songs recorded by The Mixed Emotions (recently discovered through ebay). Also updated The Cars’ demos column to include “Midnight Dancer” and the demo recording of “Shake It Up” from the expanded edition of Shake It Up, released in 2018.

**Update August 18, 2018: Added “When You Gonna Lay Me Down” to The Cars — a song I somehow forgot to list. Thanks so much to my dear research-nerd-twin, JMW, for the catch!

**Update October 5, 2018: Added “I Know I’ve Had My Chance” to Cap’n Swing. Made available for sale by Glenn Evans in April, 2018; apparently recorded on August 28, 1975.

**Update June 17, 2019: Added “You Wanna Man” (written by John Gardina, sung by Ben) and “Julie Ann” (written and sung by Ben) to The Mixed Emotions. “Julie Ann” was performed and recorded with The Mixed Emotions at some point, and then apparently recorded again at Cleveland Recording Studio in November of 1969 while Ben and Ric were playing as Leatherwood.

**Update October 4, 2020: Added a circle for Leatherwood with “Falling Suitcases” and “Julie Ann” from 1969.