Drive” is the iconic 1984 track from American rock band The Cars and their fifth studio album “Heartbeat City”, which was released through Elektra Records in 1984. Written by The Cars primary lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and frontman Rick Ocasek with production by the group as a whole and Robert John “Mutt” Lange, with the track being sing by bassist Benjamin Orr on this song.
“Drive” is mostly associated with the July 1985 Live Aid event – particularly the Philadelphia event. The lyrics are fairly ambiguous but could be viewed as a message to an emotionally troubled individual in order to sort their life out or perhaps reassess their priorities in life.
The music video for “Drive” is famous around the world. Directed by actor Timothy Hutton, the video featured then-18-year-old model and Czechoslovakian actress Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek, who would later become Porizkova’s husband for over 30 years. The video alternates between shots of Orr sitting in an empty nightclub with mannequins posed at the bar as either customers and bartenders, and also show Porizkova drawing on walls behind her, crying and staring into the camera. The video shows the breakdown between the relationship of the characters of Porizkova and Ocasek. The video ends with Porizkova staring at a stage through a dirty window. Speaking to AVCLUB, Hutton recalled the beginning of the concept of the video:
“At that time, everybody was making videos. It was the height of MTV, and when you made a record, you were also thinking about the video. I talked to Elliott Roberts [The Cars’ manager] about how much I liked that song “Drive,” and I started describing all the different ways I thought they could go with it, as far as the video. And he said, “You know, everything you’re saying sounds really interesting. Do you mind if… Would you be up for me passing that concept along to Ric Ocasek?” I said, “Sure!” So he got back to me the next day and said, “Ric and I think you should direct the video. We love your idea, your take on it.” So that’s how that happened. And about a month later, I was in New York at the Astoria Studios over two days, filming the video.” On YouTube, the video has over 103.1 million views with over 573 thousand likes since it upload in January 2013.
Paulina Porizkova became Osacek’s third wife after they met on the set of the “Drive” video, and they were married for over 30 years until Osacek’s sudden death at the age 75. Speaking to the New York Times in May 2021, Porizkova stated that it was “love at first sight”, and that she was only 19 and with a partner when she met Osacek – who was married at the time and 40. The two married in 1989 and had 2 children together. Porizkova reveals that the marriage started to change, and that Ocasek “wanted something different from marriage than I did – he wanted distant companionship.” This lead to a divorcem but the couple contined to live together while working with a mediator. In the summer of 2019, Ocasek was diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer and underwent surgery. However, Porizkova found Ocasek had passed away at home one Sunday morning after the surgery. The next day, Porizkova learnt that she had be excised from Ocasek’s will, and had a divorce lawyer that was known for being aggressive. According to the will, Ocasek stated that Porozkova was not entitled to her legal marital portion of the estate “because she had abanonded me”. To this day, Porizkova is still fighting for what is legally hers – we wish her all the best.
Release Date: 23rd July 1984
Songwriter: Ric Ocasek
Producer/s: Robert John “Mutt” Lange & The Cars
Music Video Release Date: 1984
Music Video Director: Timothy Hutton
Chart Rankings & Certifications: In its year of release, “Drive” reached the following peak chart positions around the world:
– #10 in Australia
– #8 in Austria
– #11 in Belgium
– #1, #5 & #6 on various charts in Canada
– #9 in Europe
– #11 in Finland
– #3 in Ireland
– #12 & #14 in the Netherlands
– #5 in New Zealand
– #9 in Norway
– #11 in South Africa
– #15 in Sweden
– #3 in Switzerland
– #4 on the UK Singles Chart
– #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100
– #1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary
– #3 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock
– #4 on the US Cashbox Top 100 Singles
– #4 in West Germany
“Drive” is certified Gold in the UK.
Read the lyrics to “Drive” here.
Listen to “Drive” on Apple Music.
Listen to “Drive” on Spotify.