Ric Ocasek

Although he's best known as the leader, singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter for the Cars, Ric Ocasek has also produced for a wide variety of other artists over the years. Born Richard Otcasek in Baltimore, MD, on March 23, 1949, Otcasek was 16 when he became interested in music via such early rockers as Buddy Holly & the Crickets. In the early '70s, Otcasek moved from Cleveland to Boston and began playing in a folk band called Milkwood with friend Ben Orzechowski. They released a lone, forgotten album in 1973 called How's the Weather. When the record failed to chart, the group promptly split up, but Otcasek and Orzechowski would remain together. Inspired by proto-punk outfits the Modern Lovers, the Velvet Underground, and Roxy Music, they formed Rick & the Rabbits and changed their last names from Orzechowski to Orr, and Otcasek to Ocasek.