“Just What I Needed” was probably the first thing most listeners heard from the Cars, and a better starting point would be hard to find. Released as a single in the spring of 1978, the song made it up to No. 27 and paved the way for what would follow. It is still, in many ways, the definitive Cars song and has lost none of its zest over the years. Benjamin Orr’s perfect vocal completes a piece of three-minute pop perfection, the way it was meant to be.
Okay, I will admit that not too very long before I started this site, I didn't even know who Benjamin Orr was--or at least I didn't know him by name. This isn't a terribly unusual thing for me in regards to musicians; I'm a bit young to have been into 80's music actually the 80's, so I'll often be familiar with a band as a whole but not the individual members, and this was the case with the Cars for a long while. I knew and liked a number of their songs, and the video for "You Might Think" is one of my all-time favorites, but if you'd asked me to name the individual band members, I could only have shrugged.
Tributes to Benjamin Orr and cards to friends and family will be accepted by Crossover Entertainment Group, 2020 Howell Mill Road, Suite C, Atlanta, GA, 30318.
Of course, I felt rather stupid when I figured out that Benjamin Orr was in the Cars, and that he had sung "Drive," one of my favorite songs from them--in all those years, I'd never managed to make the connection between it and my mystery song. And I was dismayed to learn first that Ben had passed away, and then that his solo album (whence "Stay The Night" had come") was very hard to find. Having already waited a full decade to get my hands on my mystery song, however, I wasn't about to be put off, and I did eventually manage to locate an original copy of --and it's since become one of the most-played albums in my entire collection. I have heard that Ben himself didn't really care for the record very much, as his record label wanted something very radio-friendly and forced him to record the songs much differently than the way they had originally been written. But, if it wasn't the album he set out to make, I surely do love it; as far as I'm concerned, from the opening fade-in of "Too Hot to Stop" to the heart-melting coda of "This Time Around," is three-quarters of an hour of perfection. The music, the lyrics, Ben's voice... all of it is simply wonderful. Almost any of the tracks could have been hits--"Stay The Night," in fact, made it to #24 on the singles charts--but I suppose if Ben himself wasn't satisfied with the album, that might have been why it was allowed to fade into obscurity...