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Benjamin Orr

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Title: Benjamin Orr  
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Subject: The Cars, Door to Door (album), The Cars (album), Ric Ocasek, United States House of Representatives elections, 1818
Collection: 1947 Births, 2000 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Singers, American Male Guitarists, American Male Singers, American New Wave Musicians, American People of Czech Descent, American People of German Descent, American People of Polish Descent, American People of Russian Descent, American Rock Bass Guitarists, American Rock Singers, Burials in Ohio, Cancer Deaths in Georgia (U.S. State), Deaths from Pancreatic Cancer, Musicians from Atlanta, Georgia, Musicians from Cleveland, Ohio, People from Lakewood, Ohio, Singers from Ohio, The Cars Members
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Benjamin Orr

Benjamin Orr
Orr in 1979
Background information
Birth name Benjamin Orzechowski
Born September 8, 1947
Lakewood, Ohio
Died October 3, 2000(2000-10-03) (aged 53)
Atlanta, Georgia
Genres Rock, new wave
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Bass, guitar, vocals, keyboards, piano
Years active 1965–2000
Labels Elektra
Associated acts The Cars, Voices of Classic Rock

Benjamin Orr (September 8, 1947 – October 3, 2000) was an American musician best known as a singer and bassist with the rock band the Cars. He sang several of their best known songs, including "Just What I Needed", "Bye Bye Love", "Moving In Stereo", "Let's Go", "It's All I Can Do", and "Drive". He also scored a moderate solo hit with "Stay the Night."


  • Early life and career 1
  • Illness and death 2
  • Discography 3
    • The Grasshoppers 3.1
    • Milkwood 3.2
    • The Cars 3.3
    • Solo albums 3.4
    • Solo singles 3.5
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and career

Benjamin Orr was born Benjamin Orzechowski in

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ Scott, Jane. "Meet the Men With Green Feet" The Plain Dealer January 30, 1965: 34
  3. ^ Scott, Jane. "The Cars take off fast in record derby" The Plain Dealer June 9, 1978: Friday 28
  4. ^ Adams, Deanna. Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection (2002): 50–52
  5. ^ Scott, Jane. "Cars are roaring back; Blossom is a sell-out" The Plain Dealer August 7, 1984: 5-C
  6. ^
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Rock Tracks (2002): 103
  8. ^ "MTV Programming" Billboard December 13, 1986: 42
  9. ^ "Rock musician Benjamin Orr dies".  
  10. ^ "Voices of Classic Rock & – Presents BEN ORR". March 24, 2008. Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "MTV reports Benjamin Orr hospitalized". Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  13. ^ Saidman, Sorelle (October 4, 2000). "MTV reports Benjamin Orr's death". Retrieved 2011-07-18. 


Year Song US Pop US Rock US AC Canada Album
1986 "Stay the Night" 24 6 2 31 The Lace
1987 "Too Hot To Stop" 25 The Lace

Solo singles

Solo albums

The Cars

  • 1973: How's the Weather? (Paramount 6046)


  • 1965: "Mod Socks" b/w "Twin Beat" (Sunburst 104, also on Warner Bros. 5607)
  • 1965: "Pink Champagne (And Red Roses)" b/w "The Wasp" (Sunburst 105)

The Grasshoppers


Ric Ocasek wrote and recorded the song "Silver," which was his musical tribute to Orr. It appeared on Ocasek's 2005 solo album, Nexterday. The Cars reunited ten years after Orr's death, and released their seventh studio album Move Like This in May 2011. Orr was given special thanks in the liner notes: "Ben, your spirit was with us on this one."

His final public appearance was on September 27, 2000, in a Big People concert in Anchorage, Alaska. He died at home in Atlanta on October 3, aged 53, surrounded by fellow Big People band members Jeff Carlisi, Derek St. Holmes and Rob Wilson. Manager David Tedeschi was not present but was devastated by the loss of his best friend.[13] Orr was survived by his son, Ben, from a previous relationship.

In April 2000, Orr was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was hospitalized,[12] yet he continued to perform in concerts with the band Big People at summer music festivals and state fairs. He reunited with all the former members of the Cars one last time in Atlanta, for an interview that was included in the Rhino Records concert video The Cars Live.

Illness and death

Orr continued to work with the Cars for one more album, Door to Door, and tour before the group disbanded in 1988, after which he and the other members pursued solo work. Sometime in the mid-1990s, Orr recorded tracks with guitarist John Kalishes for an unreleased follow-up to The Lace. From 1998 until his death in 2000, he performed with his own band ORR and two side bands, "The Voices of Classic Rock" with Mickey Thomas and John Cafferty,[9][10] and "Big People",[11] which was a cover band with Pat Travers (of the Pat Travers Band), Jeff Carlisi (of 38 Special), Derek St. Holmes (of Ted Nugent), and Liberty DeVitto (of Billy Joel).

Orr released his only solo album, The Lace, in 1986. He co-wrote the music and lyrics with his long-time girlfriend, Diane Grey Page who also sang backing vocals,[6] and the album had one top 40 hit, "Stay the Night". The song was a top 10 album rock hit[7] and the video was in heavy rotation on MTV.[8] A second single "Too Hot to Stop" was also released, but did not chart in the Billboard Hot 100. The album cover for The Lace featured Orr on the front and Page on the back.

As a member of the Cars, Orr sang lead vocal on some of the band's best known songs, including their first top 40 hit "Just What I Needed", "Let's Go," and on "Drive", their highest-charting U.S. single.

Orr first met Ric Ocasek, the future leader of the Cars, in Cleveland in the 1960s after Ocasek saw Orr performing with the Grasshoppers on the Big 5 Show.[5] A few years later, Orr moved to Columbus, Ohio where he and Ocasek formed a musical partnership that would continue in various incarnations until the break-up of the Cars in 1988. After moving to Boston, the two formed a folk band called Milkwood with guitarist James Goodkind. In 1973, the group released one album, How's the Weather?, which failed to chart. Remaining in Boston, Ocasek and Orr then formed another band, Richard and the Rabbits, featuring keyboardist Greg Hawkes, followed by another band, Cap'n Swing, which included guitarist Elliot Easton. After the group broke up in 1976, the three of them along with Hawkes and drummer David Robinson formed the Cars.

[4][3]. The Grasshoppers dissolved in 1966 when two of the band members were drafted into the U.S. Army, after which Orzechowski joined the band Mixed Emotions and later, the Colours. Later Orzechowski was drafted as well, although he received a deferment after approximately a year and a half in the Army.Cleveland in WEWS-TV, a musical variety TV show produced by Big 5 Show In 1965, the Grasshoppers released two singles on the Sunburst label, "Mod Socks" and "Pink Champagne (and Red Roses)", the latter written by Orzechowski. The Grasshoppers were also the house band on the [2]

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