Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Benjamin Orr: Stay The Night

Although the bassist and occasional lead vocalist of The Cars, Benjamin Orr’s solo career produced one hit: 1986’s “Stay the Night.” Best known for his vocals on The Cars’ hit “Drive,” Ben Orr also sang lead on “Let’s Go” and “Just What I Needed.” From suburban Cleveland, Benjamin Orzechowski moved to Columbus, Ohio where he met Ric Ocasek in 1970. Playing together in numerous bands, they finally formed The Cars in Boston during 1976. The rest is history.

From his only solo LP “The Lace,” “Stay the Night” had an interesting run on the charts. It is probably is one of the few songs to chart higher on both the Adult Contemporary and Mainstream Rock charts than it did in the Hot 100. While it only made it to 24 on the top 40 charts, it was a top ten hit on the A/C (#2) and the rock (#6) charts. Typically, a song with both a strong A/C and rock base will perform much better on the top 40 side. This is a somewhat novel situation.

I loved this song and sang lead and played keyboards on it with two bands with whom I performed in the mid to late 80s: “The Game” and “Lyvyn Daylytz.” As for Ben Orr, this was his solo one hit wonder. Sadly for the music world, Ben succumbed to pancreatic cancer on October 4, 2000. He was 53. He’ll be greatly missed.

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