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Cars’ Ric Ocasek Moves Publishing to SESAC

Ric Ocasek, the primary singer and songwriter for the Cars and a recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has signed with SESAC Performing Rights for his music publishing. He formerly had a long association with ASCAP.

Although the Cars have been inactive as a group for more than 30 years, with the exception of one passing reunion blip, their catalog continues to be a lucrative one, with hits like “Just What I Needed” and “Shake It Up” enduring staples of classic rock and oldies radio.

“As a multi-faceted artist, Ric continues to inspire with his creative influence and subtle bravado,” SESAC chairman/CEO John Josephson said in a statement. “His remarkable career as songwriter and musician has made a significant impact on American music, and SESAC is proud to welcome Ric to our affiliate family.”

The surviving members reunited last year for their Rock Hall induction, which Ocasek, who has focused in recent years on his career as a visual artist, initially worried would find the band being a bit rusty.

“I’m glad we did get inducted,” Ocasek said last November in a rare interview, conducted with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and 97.1 The River in advance of an art show in Atlanta. “It was kind of weird because we hadn’t played in a good while. David Robinson said, ‘I’ll have to get the drums out of storage.’ We thought it was going to be pretty hard, but we went to Cleveland a few days before the (ceremony) and rehearsed and it was just like we played yesterday. The only thing obviously missing was Ben (Orr, who died in 2000), which was very strange. … But it worked out pretty nice. It was quite a night.”

The Cars’ first album, a self-titled effort in 1978, went six-times platinum, and two others, 1979’s “Candy-O” and 1984’s “Heartbreak City,” were each certified four-times platinum, among other million-selling-plus albums. The group officially broke up in 1988, then briefly reunited in 2010-11 for an album and short tour. Ocasek released six solo albums between 1982 and 2005 but has not recently been active as a touring or recording artist.

Their inductor for last year’s Rock Hall ceremony was Brandon Flowers of the Killers, who said, “They achieved greatness and left a comet trail behind them, writing and recording songs that have transcended into classics. … Forty years later they still sound like a new band to me.”

Ocasek’s visual art exhibition, “Ric Ocasek: Abstract Reality,” has toured American art galleries via Wentworth Galleries.

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