Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Parts of Speech: Drive

Day four of our Second Week Special on parts of speech is brought to by verbs – “they’re where the action is.” Today’s verb is “Drive” – a 1984 single by The Cars. Not only is “Drive” my favorite song by The Cars, it was their most popular single peaking at #3 on the pop charts and #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

Written by guitarist Ric Ocasek, the medium tempo ballad “Drive” was the perfect (excuse the pun) vehicle for Benjamin Orr’s voice. “Drive” was one of those songs I wish I had an opportunity to sing, as my voice is in a similar range. I never had that opportunity though, but I did do a cover of Orr’s 1986 solo number “Stay the Night.”

In addition to Orr, my second attraction to the song is its wonderful layered keyboard tracks. The LP credits one of the instruments as a Fairlight CMI digital sampler; however, some of the layers are reminiscent of a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 synthesizer, which was very popular at the time.

“Drive” appeared on The Cars’ fifth album, “Heartbeat City.” In addition to a vinyl copy of the LP, I had the cassette version that I wore out on long trips during the mid 1980s. Additionally, the song’s video featured the Slavic beauty Paulina Porizkova who would later marry Ric Ocasek in 1989. I guess he gets to drive her home tonight as well as every night.

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