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The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:29

Why did The Cars, a very gifted US "new wave" band (imho), never make it big time in Europe in the late 70s and 80s?
All five members were very good musicians and worked very well as a team, but somehow it was not, unlike f.i. in the case of Creedence Clearwater Revival in earlier years,recognised as special in Europe by the then young generation. What was missing?confused smiley

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: keefriff99 ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:32

Why the long face, Ric?


Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: keefriff99 ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:32

In all seriousness, great band. Not sure why they didn't hit in Europe. I'm sure there are people here who could speak to that.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: TooTough ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:35

Drive was a huge hit.
You Might Think, too.
And the corresponding album.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: frankotero ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:42

Lots of American bands don't seem to hit it big in Europe. Add to the list George Thorogood, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick. There's more I can't think of. These are people I want to see tour over here but avoid it. At least Alice Cooper is big in Germany and the UK, thankfully.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:48

Quote
TooTough
Drive was a huge hit.
You Might Think, too.
And the corresponding album.

I know. They had, over the years, quite some good songs. The songs you mention also had interesting videos, of which one even rewarded. But one or two hits and a successful album doesn't make them BIG. In the US they were "hot stuff".
CCR was, relatively speaking, also "short lived", but they scored many hits over here in Europe and scores several very successful albums. Numbers of people going "en masse" to concerts of The Cars, never heard of that in Europe.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: BluzDude ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:50

works both ways....a lot of the Brit pop era bands never made it big in the States, such as, Blur (had marginal success) Stone Roses, the Jam, Primal Scream more recently Kasabian & the Kaiser Chiefs...and I'm sure there are plenty more I never heard of.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: loog droog ()
Date: September 12, 2018 22:53

The Cars had some good songs, but I wouldn't rank them as one of the greats by a long shot.

Saw them once in concert. (My girlfriend liked them). They had no stage presence, there was nothing dynamic in their presentation.

It was one of the most boring shows I've ever attended, neck-in-neck with ELO in 1976.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: BluzDude ()
Date: September 12, 2018 23:01

Quote
loog droog
The Cars had some good songs, but I wouldn't rank them as one of the greats by a long shot.

Saw them once in concert. (My girlfriend liked them). They had no stage presence, there was nothing dynamic in their presentation.

It was one of the most boring shows I've ever attended
, neck-in-neck with ELO in 1976.


I agree, I saw them in 1982 at the first US Festival, they were like robots on stage.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Date: September 12, 2018 23:22

They were big, Georgie.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: September 12, 2018 23:36

No idea they weren't successful in Europe. (I'm in the States). Was that all of Europe? I believe Oasis was big in Europe, but barely made a dent in the States. Then again I saw the Spice Girls on Dutch TV in 1996, and thought 'No way that would go over in the States. Too cheesy'. Boy was I wrong. Were The Pretty Things big in Europe? They sure weren't in the States. The Small Faces were a one hit wonder with Itchycoo Park.

Was/is John Mellencamp big in Europe?

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: September 12, 2018 23:52

We're too busy to worry about Europe ….…..
But … Who's Gonna Drive You Home ……..that's a big fave of me and Pony Gal …….

see your tail-lights fading ……..



ROCKMAN

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: snorton ()
Date: September 13, 2018 00:01

My fave songs were "Cruiser" and "Candy-O"

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 13, 2018 00:25

Quote
loog droog
The Cars had some good songs, but I wouldn't rank them as one of the greats by a long shot.

Saw them once in concert. (My girlfriend liked them). They had no stage presence, there was nothing dynamic in their presentation.

It was one of the most boring shows I've ever attended, neck-in-neck with ELO in 1976.

I watched some YouTube recordings. They played very well live, but indeed pretty static. But so were CCR. Orr apparently was popular with girls, but there is more to that. In 1963 some of the Beatles were also popular with girls. And how about Brian Jones? Maybe different times, different emotions?

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: September 13, 2018 00:48

Quote
BluzDude
Quote
loog droog
The Cars had some good songs, but I wouldn't rank them as one of the greats by a long shot.

Saw them once in concert. (My girlfriend liked them). They had no stage presence, there was nothing dynamic in their presentation.

It was one of the most boring shows I've ever attended
, neck-in-neck with ELO in 1976.


I agree, I saw them in 1982 at the first US Festival, they were like robots on stage.

Same. I love alot of the Cars music - their lead guitar player Elliott Easton is fantastic. And the late great bass player Benjamin Orr had such a great voice. And keyboard wiz Greg Hawkes. Not to mention the mastermind Rik Okasek who sang on many tunes, and I'm pretty sure wrote a majority of all their songs - maybe even all of them?

But...saw them live around '85 at the L.A. Forum and it was as sterile and bland as you could imagine. Note for note renditions of all their hits.

_____________________________________________________________
Rip this joint, gonna save your soul, round and round and round we go......

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: September 13, 2018 00:56

Quote
loog droog
The Cars had some good songs, but I wouldn't rank them as one of the greats by a long shot.

Saw them once in concert. (My girlfriend liked them).

Would that make you the best friend then?

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Date: September 13, 2018 02:04

I remember "Let the good times roll" and "Just what I needed" quite well.

May be the Cars were not really big in Europe - but people who were interested in music and in those days life style, did listen to their music - especially to their first album which was (is) great. Thanks for the reminder!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-09-13 02:34 by ThroughTheLonelyNights.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: Jah Paul ()
Date: September 13, 2018 02:58

Quote
Hairball
Not to mention the mastermind Rik Okasek who sang on many tunes, and I'm pretty sure wrote a majority of all their songs - maybe even all of them?

Virtually all...except for four or five co-written with Greg Hawkes.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: shattered ()
Date: September 13, 2018 04:11

Inexpensive gasoline, Camaro's, and Jensen speakers.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: ryanpow ()
Date: September 13, 2018 05:00

Here's a nice ditty from the Cars:

[www.youtube.com]

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: Stoneage ()
Date: September 13, 2018 10:27

They were big in Sweden, and I guess the rest of Western Europe, in the mid eighties with hits like "Drive". MTV was a big help for many bands back then.
I looked at setlist.fm and it seems like they almost only toured the states. Which maybe is one reason they couldn't sustain their fame over here?

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Date: September 13, 2018 10:47

I wore out my Heartbeat City-cassette. Good stuff. Great band, but marred a bit with the 80s sound. Good songs. Rik Ocasek is a good songwriter.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: stonehearted ()
Date: September 13, 2018 10:49

Were they never big in Europe?

You were lucky!

All I heard in 9th grade (1981) was Shake It Up!

That band and Journey were what sent me clamoring for Stones, Beatles, Doors, Cream, -- anything -- just get me out of that parking lot, away from these... Cars!

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: matxil ()
Date: September 13, 2018 12:40

I liked the songs Heartbeat City and You Might Say, but, as Dandelion says, it was too 80s for me. I had just discovered the greatest rock n roll band from the 60s and the 70s (and the 80s, but let's face it: not their best decade), so I didn't see the point in listening to lame synthesizer pop anymore.

I can't speak for the rest of Europe, but I think what happened was that The Cars just were not special enough, they didn't stand out enough. Pop music was dominated by Jackson, Madonna and Prince, and people wanting something new listened to electronic music and hip-hop.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: grzegorz67 ()
Date: September 13, 2018 13:47

Drive was a huge hit here in Britain in 1985 after it was used as the background music for a harrowing video of starving people in Ethiopia, repeatedly shown on the BBC during performamce breaks in the Live Aid Fundraising Concert at Wembley Stadium. IIRC the song was originally released some months before, but it had a huge resurgence in sales here thereafter.

As an aside, another video shown over and over that day was the'Dancing in the Street' duet by Mick & David Bowie, which later went to No 1 here.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Date: September 13, 2018 14:06

The Cars did a good show at Live Aid (in the US), too.





[www.youtube.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-09-13 14:08 by DandelionPowderman.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: grzegorz67 ()
Date: September 13, 2018 14:46

Quote
DandelionPowderman
The Cars did a good show at Live Aid (in the US), too.





[www.youtube.com]

I remember enjoying them. JFK Stadium (?). I was 18 and watched the whole thing from start to finish - 16-17 hours. Noon BST with Status Quo to kick it off to 4.30am. The only bit I missed was Queen as we had dinner outside. Phil Collins played at BOTH stadia with a little help from Concorde.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-09-13 14:47 by grzegorz67.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: hopkins ()
Date: September 13, 2018 15:07

I liked them. I wasn't hog-wild over them like I am with Cheap Trick, tragically under-rated (generally by media NOT rock fans) even in USA. These dedicated Mid=Westeners first scored massively with a hard rock version of Fats Dominoe's "Ain't That A Shame," the live version from Budokan got them a huge push from their company at first.
I liked The Cars. I first heard them live as a bar band in northern New England, they played small clubs throughout Vermont and even remote parts of New Hampshire.
I was in a rural area, actually wildnerness a lot of it, and they were the weekend
band. Those gigs ususally had a couple of rooms for the bands, and they'd work
a few sets Friday and sleep-over for the same deal on Saturday night, so we had hang-time with them in our surroundings.
They were good, they were tight; not as rowdy as bar bands I really loved,
but obviously well-crafted engaging songs and very crisp arrangements.
yes they just stood there and played but i've always been ok with that....
generally....tho entertainment that flashes and moves is fun of course.

They told us; mostly Rick and Ben but Greg was nice. Elliot is out of this world amazing guitar player. that guy spun us, verrry creative, hot, blistering
and to the effin point; he stood way out....
...i liked them and told them they needed to record.
Without a hint of attitude Ric told me they had.
Who produced it was the next question.
Aero, another Boston band, had Jack Douglas, and that stuff was ripping me
up at the time, so I was interesed.
Oh we have one; who? roy thomas baker.
i stepped back. teenage bands had coverd Keep Yourself Alive from the first
Queen album. It was hard to nail and i think we probably did a very shit job
of it...but I KNEW that stuff was murderously crisp hot and present...
....i don't remember much more than that. they played a few sets...
i don't recall if there were covers but i do recall the original stuff
was just as good; people liked them; did not go 'nuts' with all the
usual iconography; they were not stars yet; pand would not be very demonstrative
ones when they were.
There a bit the 'asterisk' in u.s. rock history; but for a moment they were Huge; and deservedly so I think. I like it a bit more rough and ready but I like them; they are cool hip craftsmen with good ideas and pop song arrangtments that take simple stuff and slay with it.
ric had the 'red and black' costume color thing, going for them when they
were doing tv and big shows; other than that, they didn't do 'stage' stuff...
neither does Van Morrison and I'm usually pretty sweated up and excited when he sings a slow one, so there's that.
interesting thread; i know that some acts like Oasis were huge second coming over there, and i tried to get into them; and did somewhat; but truly never got into their personalities or cared that much. i love a lot of u.s. bands. i live in the u.s. and a LOT of people i interact with never heard the music that propels and inspires me, at all. even american artists....

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Posted by: Stoneage ()
Date: September 13, 2018 15:07

Talking about making it big. Most band have a short span of success. Maybe 2-3 years. One or two hits and then they are off the radar. Very few bands survive more than a decade.
The Rolling Stones is an exception to the rule. Back to the question: If you want to make it big in Europe you can't decide not to tour here.

Re: The Cars, why were they never BIG in Europe?
Date: September 13, 2018 15:33

Quote
Stoneage
Talking about making it big. Most band have a short span of success. Maybe 2-3 years. One or two hits and then they are off the radar. Very few bands survive more than a decade.
The Rolling Stones is an exception to the rule. Back to the question: If you want to make it big in Europe you can't decide not to tour here.

Elvis did pretty good over here? winking smiley

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