The Cars - Heartbreak City

The Cars – Heartbreak City


If there was ever an album that was representative of the mid 80’s MTV era, then The Cars ‘Heartbeat City’ was probably it.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: The Cars
ALBUM: Heartbeat City
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 60296-1 (LP), 7559-60296-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, synthesiser, lead vocals (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10) * Benjamin Orr – bass, lead vocals (4, 5, 7) * Elliot Easton – lead guitar, backing vocals * Greg Hawkes – keyboards, fairlight programming, backing vocals * David Robinson – drums, percussion, fairlight programming

Additional Musician: Andy Topeka – additional fairlight programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hello Again * 02 Looking For Love * 03 Magic * 04 Drive * 05 Stranger Eyes * 06 You Might Think * 07 It’s Not The Night * 08 Why Can’t I Have You * 09 I Refuse * 10 Heartbeat City



If there was ever an album that was representative of the mid 80’s MTV era, then The Cars ‘Heartbeat City’ was probably it. They were one of the first big bands to truly exploit the video format, and it proved to be a masterstroke, as their often wacky and engaging clips become familiar viewing throughout America. Helping matters was the Mutt Lange production job, and a battery of songs which made the Billboard charts. All in all, one of the stand-out albums of 1984.

The Songs

‘Hello Again’, with that now famous stacked vocal popularised by Def Leppard, opens its account in a vacuum-rush of air. This quirky track exemplifies what The Cars do best, with crushed ivories provided by keyboardist Greg Hawkes.

Less circumspect is the Starship like ‘Looking For Love’, another band that Mutt Lange was involved in. The Cars then deliver two absolute classics in ‘Magic’ (oh oh it’s Magic..’) and the killer ballad ‘Drive’, which really is one of the soundtracks to everyone’s life during 1984.. surely?

‘Stranger Eyes’ is a very cool undercover lover type of song. Ben Orr’s vocal makes it this way, so too the edgy arrangement. ‘You Might Think’ is the other notable song here, a top ten track on the singles chart, but for me, compared to the rest, I preferred some of the other material here.

‘It’s Not The Night’ by comparison sounds very dated with its spiralling keyboard effect. ‘Why Can’t I Have You’ operates at half-tempo mode, and as such, loses momentum with the energy laden affairs heard earlier.

‘I Refuse’ moves up a gear or two, but is nothing when compared to the title track ‘Heartbeat City’, which is quite a synth oriented number all thanks to Mr Hawkes pushing the boundaries. As an interesting twist, the song was originally called ‘Jacki’ on some of the first pressings for the album. Be good to track a copy of one of those, for posterity’s sake.

In Summary

The album took the Billboard singles charts by storm, 5 singles made it there (#3, 7, 12, 20 and 33), while the album got as high as #3. Not a bad years work by these Boston greats. Unfortunately, their 1984 success would only go so far, as 1987’s Door To Door’ was a commercial failure, the band then chucking it in not long after.


Hello Again

The Cars - Hello Again (Official Music Video)

The Cars - Drive (Official Music Video)

The Cars - Magic (Official Music Video)

You Might Think
The Cars - You Might Think (Official Music Video)

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Playlist: Heartbeat City - The Cars (Full Album)
Watch this playlist on YouTube

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