«

»

DRIVE (song)

Drive

B-side “Stranger Eyes”
Released July 23, 1984
Format 7″ single, 12″ vinyl , Mini Cd
Recorded 1983

Length 3:54

Label Elektra 69706

Writer(s) Ric Ocasek

“Drive” is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band’s Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. Written by Ric Ocasek, the track was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr and produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange with the band. Upon its release, “Drive” became The Cars’ highest charting single in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1. It reached No. 4 in West Germany, No. 6 in Canada, No. 5 (No. 4 on re-entry in 1985) in the UK and No. 3 (No. 5 on re-entry in 1985) in Ireland.

The song is associated with the July 1985 Live Aid event, where it was performed by Benjamin Orr during the Philadelphia event; previously, the song was used as the background music to a montage of clips depicting the contemporaneous Ethiopian famine during the London event, which was introduced by English musician David Bowie. Following the concert it was re-released in the UK and peaked at No. 4 in August 1985. Proceeds from the sales of the re-released song raised nearly £160,000 for the Band Aid Trust: Ocasek presented the charity’s trustee Midge Ure with a cheque for the amount while he was in London in November 1986 promoting his solo album This Side of Paradise.

In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song for being “a gorgeous ballad that matches heartfelt songwriting to an alluring electronic soundscape. The music reflects the lyrical tone with a lovely melody that rises and falls in a soothing yet sad fashion.”

The music video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton and features model and actress Paulina Porizkova, who would later become Ric Ocasek’s wife.

The video alternates between shots of Orr sitting in a disused nightclub, facing mannequins posed at the bar as customers and bartender, and scenes that depict the breakdown of a relationship between the characters played by Ocasek and Porizkova. Ultimately left alone, the woman cries and laughs hysterically for a time before visiting the nightclub. She looks sadly in through a dirty window at the stage, where tuxedo-clad mannequins of the band members are posed with their instruments as if playing a show, and turns to walk away as the video ends.

Hutton later recalled that his directing the video came about because he was living next to Elliot Roberts, the manager of The Cars. They were listening to tracks from the then-unreleased album Heartbeat City and Hutton told Roberts he was particularly impressed by the track “Drive.”

Track listing

7″ single
“Drive”
“Stranger Eyes”

12″ single
“Drive”
“My Best Friend’s Girl”
“Stranger Eyes”