80’s Mania Mondays: Who’s Gonna Hold You Down

This week, I actually picked a song that was not released during my senior year of high school. But it was close.

By 1984, The Cars had been on the national scene for six years. Their fifth album, Heartbeat City, was released that year and proved to be their most successful album. Lead single “You Might Think” won the first ever Video of the Year award at the MTV Video Music Awards. Other singles “Magic,” “Hello Again” and “Why Can’t I Have You” all made the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. But it was today’s song that was the album’s, and the band’s biggest hit.

Today’s 80’s Mania Monday song is “Drive” by The Cars.

In doing research for this post, I did not know that the band was still active with four of its original five members (Bassist/vocalist Benjamin Orr passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2000). I had lost touch with the band after “Tonight She Comes” was released in 1985. Actually, that’s not quite true: I did purchase the band’s Greatest Hits album so they were still around; just not with any new music. Their early songs are still staples on rock and pop radio stations that play songs from 70s and 80s. Who hasn’t thrilled to the songs mentioned above, along with “Shake It Up,” “Good Times Roll,” “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go” and “My Best Friend’s Girl”? Okay, maybe you haven’t; but I remember those songs, and they are always welcome to my ears when they are playing.

As for “Drive,” the song missed debuting on the Hot 100 in my senior year by about two months. Its debut date was August 4, 1984—meaning that I was enjoying my last few weeks of summer before heading off to college in the fall. By the time I had settled in at college, it was on its way to #3 on the chart, where it would stay for three weeks. The song was written by Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, sung by Orr, and produced by superproducer Robert John “Mutt” Lange and the band. The video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton, who got the job by telling his neighbor, the Cars manager, how much he was impressed with the song and what kind of video would work for the song. After Elliot Roberts, the group’s manager, discussed Hutton’s concept with Ocasek, he got the job. The video also features model and actress Paulina Porizkova, who eventually married Ocasek in 1989.

I think “Drive” is one of the more memorable and best-sounding ballads of the decade. Your mileage may vary, of course. Either way, I hope you enjoy today’s 80s song, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.

20 Replies to “80’s Mania Mondays: Who’s Gonna Hold You Down”

  1. Paulina marrying Ric was the most shocking hookup of the decade! But, hey, they certainly knew what they were doing, together now for almost 30 years, kudos to them! 😀
    Great song, T! The Cars are just one of those bands that you can’t go wrong with!! And they owned the ’80s! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that certainly was shocking! I was going back and forth as to which song by the Cars I was going to pick; looks like I picked the right one for today! But like you say, you can’t really go wrong with their music.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They were a really good band! Those first songs still thrill almost 40 years after their release. And anyone who had MTV in the 80’s saw just about every video from the album Heartbeat City dozens, if not hundreds of times. Thanks, Kim.

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  2. No seriously, this was definitely in heavy rotation back in the day in my neck of the woods! It brings back good memories. I would add a video of one of my favorite late ’80’s/90’s group but I’m afraid it will get snatched. LOL!
    I was thinking about Tears for Fears:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was 13 when it came out. I remember my history teacher liked the cars and she brought the cassette in so we could listen during class. I absolutely love that song, along with most of their stuff. I’ve been gathering a collection of 80s vinyl lately and it’s so nice to reminisce of those times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is…as you read, it came out just after my senior year of high school ended. A lot of the songs from their Heartbeat City were popular even after high school into my first year at college. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment! I try to write about songs (mostly pop hits) from the 80s on Mondays, so drop by when you can!

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