On this day in music history: March 13, 1984 -…

On this day in music history: March 13, 1984 – “Heartbeat City”, the fifth album by The Cars is released. Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and The Cars, it is recorded at Battery Studios in London from July 1983 – January 1984. Following the release of their fourth album “Shake It Up” and the subsequent tour, The Cars take a year off to rest, and for band members Ric Ocasek and Greg Hawkes to work on solo projects. When they reunite in mid 1983, they relocate to London to work with producer “Mutt” Lange, fresh off of his successes with AC/DC and Def Leppard. After working with Roy Thomas Baker on their previous albums, the band find that Lange works in a far different manner. Meticulously building the rhythm tracks from the ground up, drummer David Robinson does not play live drums on the album at all, instead the drum tracks are created from samples of drums and played back through a Fairlight CMI synthesizer. Without losing their quirky and eclectic edge, the band create an albums worth of songs (written almost entirely by Ocasek alone) that maintain those qualities, but are radio friendly and accessible. It spins off five singles including “You Might Think” (#7 Pop), “Magic” (#12 Pop), “Drive” (#3 Pop) and “Hello Again” (#20 Pop, #8 Club Play). The singles are supported by a series of clever eye catching music videos beginning with the first single “You Might Think”. The clip is directed by Jeff Stein (“The Kids Are Alright”) and features fashion model Susan Gallagher. The tongue in cheek video is one of the first to utilize computer generated graphics and effects. The clip is an instant hit on MTV, and later in 1984 wins the very first VMA award for Video Of The Year. The videos for “Magic”, which features Ocasek appearing to walk on water, “Drive” featuring model Paulina Porizkova (later married to Ric Ocasek) and directed by Oscar winning actor Timothy Hutton. “Hello Again” is directed by and featuring a cameo by pop art icon Andy Warhol. All four videos become staples on MTV, and other music video channels throughout the year. The album cover outer gatefold features the painting “Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop” by English pop artist Peter Phillips. The album is remastered and reissued as a hybrid SACD and as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2016. The album is also reissued as an expanded deluxe edition in 2018. “Heartbeat City” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.