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Ric Ocasek Tributes: Weezer, The Killers, Courtney Love, and Billy Corgan Honor New Wave Legend

on September 16, 2019, 10:50am

The Cars frontman and legendary producer Ric Ocasek suddenly passed Sunday at the age of 75. Artists far and wide have since taken to social media to offer heartfelt tributes to the new wave legend, including Weezer, The Killers, Courtney Love, Billy Corgan, and Nile Rodgers. The Hold Steady, El-P, Billy Idol, and The New Pornographers have also shared their touching sentiments.

“The Weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor,” a post on Weezer’s Twitter account reads. “We will miss him forever, & will forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him. Rest in peace & rock on, Ric, we love you.” Ocasek famously produced three records for Rivers Cuomo & co, most notably their 1994 breakout debut, The Blue Album.

The Killers’ honored Ocasek by writing, “Feeling grateful for Ric… My first king.” Frontman Brandon Flowers, who inducted Ocasek into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, also shared an email he’d sent to Ocasek a few years ago, praising him and the legacy of The Cars. “I just wanted to reach out and make you aware of my gratitude for you and your band’s contribution to my life,” read that email.

Flowers’ 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech for The Cars was just as gracious. “Over the years, The Cars have achieved what every kid who ever sweat it out in a garage dreamed of—including a young Kurt Cobain who chose ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ as one of his first tunes to learn,” Flowers remarked. “They achieved greatness and left a comet trail behind them, writing and recording songs that have transcended into classics.”

On Instagram, Courtney Love wrote, “I know all of the band Hole loved working with you, much love to your family… Cars were one of the great bands.” Meanwhile, Nile Rodgers highlighted Fireball Zone, the 1991 Ocasek solo album which he helped co-produce.

In his lengthy remembrance, Billy Corgan expressed his admiration for Ocasek’s “originality, flair, and brilliance,” adding, “It’s hard to share the measure of a man in so few words, because, despite his greatness, Ric was open and down to earth in a way that surprised me.” Cordan produced Ocasek’s 1997 solo album, Troublizing.

Check out the tributes below, followed by Weezer’s cover of The Cars hit “Just What I Needed”.

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Devastated to hear of the passing on this man, Ric Ocasek. It has brightened my spirit to see how many have posted about Ric, praising his originality, flair, and brilliance. I was blessed to have known him, through friendship and work (his solo album Troubilizing was one I produced). It's hard to share the measure of a man in so few words, because, despite his greatness, Ric was open and down to earth in a way that surprised me. And in that allowed our private conversations to flow and float over 100's of topics (I was mostly interested in what he loved): the Cars, of course, his children and marriage to an eastern siren whom the world (he was aware) didn't think he deserved (he did, and she him), his guitars, Andy Warhol the person and not the myth, Boston (the city), new wave, deco art, NYC living, producing Weezer, being an A + R man, why he got out of the rat race of making hit records, Mutt Lange, grunge, and on and on and on. He's opine easy and I'd listen (for a change). Such pleasurable times I didn't fully appreciate until decades later. Lastly, two things: Ric did me a great honor when he recorded a song I'd written just for him, questioning none of it except it's quirky title (I'd gone quirky as a wry tribute). And a small memory I'll share: we were in Ric's basement, where he had a small, ad hoc studio for writing. And I was asking him a 1000th question on The Cars; in this case, the sound of the keyboard solos. He pointed at a relic. 'Well, that's it' he said. 'THE keyboard', said I? It was, and ironically at that moment Greg Hawkes stopped by and he demonstrated all those great sounds! But then I went for broke. I wanted Ric to show me how to play 'Best Friend's Girlfriend'. He picked up a guitar, played it perfectly (he was an ace guitarist) and handed it over. The sound, I noted, was exact. It was the pink Fender pictured above, and I dutifully played the opening riff as he'd showed. So what was the guitar, I asked? Ric pointed at the flamingo in my hands. My jaw dropped. It was THE guitar! Love you Ric! Gonna miss you forever

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