New book about late Cars member Benjamin Orr arriving in November

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

The first-ever biography about late Cars singer/bassist Benjamin Orr will be published November 15.

Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars follows the musician’s story from his success as a teen pop idol in the Cleveland area, to worldwide renown as a key member of The Cars, to his untimely death in 2000 from pancreatic cancer at age 53.

The book was written by veteran music journalist Joe Milliken, who interviewed more than 100 band mates, family members, friends and music associates to write the volume, which also features a variety of rare and previously unseen photos.

Born Benjamin Orzechowski [or’-zuh-KOW-skee] in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Ohio, Orr gained early attention as a member of the house band of the nationally syndicated television show Upbeat. He went on to play in a variety of bands in the Midwest, along the way forging a musical partnership with singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek. The two eventually moved to Boston, where they formed The Cars in 1976. Orr split lead vocal duties with Ocasek, The Cars’ main songwriter, and the group soon became one of the biggest bands to emerge from the New Wave scene. Among the classic tunes Ben sang were “”Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Drive.”

Following The Cars’ breakup, Orr continued to play in other bands, including Big People with guitarist Pat Travers, ex-38 Special member Jeff Carlisi, former Ted Nugent singer Derek St. Holmes and one time Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto. Orr remained an active musician until his death, and this year was inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Cars.

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