“Drive” by The Cars

The addressee of this song is someone who is in self-denial. That is to say the singer is entreating this individual to engage in some self-reflection before moving on in life, because obviously he or she is on a destructive path into the future.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Cars's Drive at Lyrics.org.

Many listeners have concluded that the affliction this person is suffering from is alcoholism, since the chorus reads “who’s doing to drive you home tonight?” Such a question is normally associated with alcohol abuse since after an individual reaches a certain point of inebriation it is very unwise for them to drive a car. But booze is never mentioned in this song outright. Therefore the track as a whole has a general applicability. And what it basically seems to boil down to is, as aforementioned, the singer recognizing this person is in need of help.

Some listeners interpret this as the song being primarily about the loneliness of the addressee, as in the singer insinuating that there is no one around to help this individual. But that does not necessarily seem to be the case. Rather the main question being put forth via all of his collective appeals is that if this person does not change his or her ways, who is going to be there to support him or her when disaster inevitably strikes?

Lyrics of "Drive"

Success of “Drive”

“Drive” is considered by many to be The Cars’ signature song due to its admirable amount of international success. Most-notably it peaked at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and actually topped the Billboard Hot 100.

This song was part and parcel of Live Aid. FYI, Live Aid was a famous benefit concert held in 1985 in the name of famine relief in Ethiopia. In fact many believe that much of the success “Drive” enjoyed was due to its appearance in the whole Live Aid campaign.

Who wrote “Drive”?

The Cars’ frontman Ric Ocasek wrote this hit song. However, The Cars’ bassist, Benjamin Orr, sang lead vocals on the track. In fact when he passed away in 2000, this song was played at a memorial service held in his honor at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The song’s production, on the other hand, was handled by the entire band along with Robert John “Mutt” Lange.

Music Video

The music video for “Drive” features supermodel Paulina Porizkova, who went on the marry Ric Ocasek in 1989. In fact they first met each other when she auditioned for the “Drive” music video, and some 30 years later they still remained married.

When did “Drive” come out?

“Drive” first came out as part of The Cars’ 1984 album entitled Heartbeat City on 13 March 1984.  And it was released as a single later that year on 23 July 1984.

12 Responses

  1. The 80s song listener says:

    Drive is about depression, and the road it (depression) takes you on.

  2. Ginger says:

    I think it’s about isolation. The Eagles’ version of this song is DESPERADO. I just now made that connection.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love love love this song

  4. Anonymous says:

    Paulina was like the all time hottest model. I collected her Loreal beauty ads in 1980/81 that somehow came in the mail or in magazines. I was mesmerized by her face and hair. Rick was so fortunate to meet her, if based on looks alone.

  5. Anonymous says:

    According to Ben Orr, Ric wrote the song about an alcoholic friend. There are more illusions to booze in the verses.

  6. Mr. David Schenkenfelder says:

    This song and its many possible meanings ,hurts my whenever I listen to it. Its very rare for me to finish listening to this song yet it one of several songs that will always want to hear. Even though it hurts my soul.

  7. Cecilia says:

    Could be possible this beautiful song is about a man who’s relationship has failed but still is concern about his ex? Seems to me they not longer are a couple.

    • Hanna Muller says:

      Ric Ocasek wrote that song talking about his alcoholic father. Ric felt hurt and worried about leaving his father alone when he was already beginning his success.
      When the song was released, his father had already died.

  8. Dave Benson says:

    This song has deep personal meaning to me because of my daughter. She has a bipolar disorder and that is tough on all loved ones. Every time I hear it, I wonder who will be there when she “falls” after I’m gone. It’s about deep love and concern for which there’s no answer or relief.

  9. Survivor says:

    When you listen and realize the friend supports through all the trials you hope to have a friend in your own corner when self destruction takes hold.

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