[Verse 1]
Who’s gonna tell you when
It’s too late?
Who’s gonna tell you things
Aren’t so great?

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong, ohh no
Who’s gonna drive you home

[Verse 2]
Who’s gonna pick you up
When you fall?
Who’s gonna hang it up
When you call?
Who’s gonna pay attention
To your dreams?
Who’s gonna plug their ears
When you scream?

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong, ohh no
Who’s gonna drive you home

[Verse 3]
Who’s gonna hold you down
When you shake?
Who’s gonna come around
When you break?

You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong, ohh no
Who’s gonna drive you home
You can’t go on
Thinking nothing’s wrong, ohh no
Who’s gonna drive you home


Drive” is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band’s Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. Written by Ric Ocasek, the track was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr[1] and produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange with the band.[2] Upon its release, “Drive” became The Cars’ highest charting single in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1.[3] It reached No. 5 (No. 4 on re-entry in 1985) in the United Kingdom, No. 4 in West Germany, No. 6 in Canada and No. 3 (No. 5 on re-entry in 1985) in Ireland.

The song is associated with the July 1985 Live Aid event, where it was performed by Benjamin Orr during the Philadelphia event; previously, the song was used as the background music to a montage of clips depicting the contemporaneous Ethiopian famine during the London event, which was introduced by English musician David Bowie.[4][5] Following the concert it was re-released in the UK and peaked at No. 4 in August 1985. Proceeds from the sales of the re-released song raised nearly £160,000 for the Band Aid Trust: Ocasek presented the charity’s trustee Midge Ure with a cheque for the amount while he was in London in November 1986 promoting his solo album This Side of Paradise.[6]

In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco praised the song for being “a gorgeous ballad that matches heartfelt songwriting to an alluring electronic soundscape. The music reflects the lyrical tone with a lovely melody that rises and falls in a soothing yet sad fashion.”[7]

File:"Drive" by The Cars US vinyl A-side.jpg

Music video

The music video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton and features model and actress Paulina Porizkova, who would later become Ric Ocasek’s wife.[8]

The video alternates between shots of Orr sitting in a disused nightclub, facing mannequins posed at the bar as customers and bartender, and scenes that depict the breakdown of a relationship between the characters played by Ocasek and Porizkova. Ultimately left alone, the woman cries and laughs hysterically for a time before visiting the nightclub. She looks sadly in through a dirty window at the stage, where tuxedo-clad mannequins of the band members are posed with their instruments as if playing a show, and turns to walk away as the video ends.

Hutton later recalled that his directing the video came about because he was living next to Elliot Roberts, the manager of The Cars. They were listening to tracks from the then-unreleased album Heartbeat City and Hutton told Roberts he was particularly impressed by the track “Drive.”

At that time, everybody was making videos. It was the height of MTV, and when you made a record, you were also thinking about the video. I talked to Elliott about how much I liked that song “Drive,” and I started describing all the different ways I thought they could go with it, as far as the video. And he said, “You know, everything you’re saying sounds really interesting. Do you mind if… Would you be up for me passing that concept along to Ric Ocasek?” I said, “Sure!” So he got back to me the next day and said, “Ric and I think you should direct the video. We love your idea, your take on it.” So that’s how that happened. And about a month later, I was in New York at the Astoria Studios over two days, filming the video.[9]

Hutton and Ric Ocasek became friends which led to the latter being cast in Made in Heaven.[citation needed]

Track listing

7″ single
  1. “Drive”
  2. “Stranger Eyes”[10]
12″ single
  1. “Drive”
  2. My Best Friend’s Girl
  3. “Stranger Eyes”[11]

Chart performance

Chart (1984–85) Position
Australia (ARIA)[12] 10
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[13] 8
Canada (Billboard Canada)[14] 6
France (SNEP)[15] 9
Germany (Official German Charts)[16] 4
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[20] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 15
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[25] 1
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[26] 9
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[27] 4

Year-end charts

Chart (1984) Rank
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[28] 41
U.S. Cash Box [29] 29


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 500,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture

The song was used in a 1984 episode of the American soap opera Santa Barbara and 2013 American TV series The Carrie Diaries.

The song was used in the 2007 film Transformers, playing on the radio in Sam Witwicky’s car, Bumblebee.

It was also used in the series Everybody Hates Chris, in the episode ” Everybody Hates the Car “.

Singer Aimee Mann performed a cover of the song on the February 7, 2018 episode (entitled “House by the Lake”) of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. [31]

Cover versions


– – – –
Watch the official video for The Cars – “Drive”. Release in 1984, it is the third single from the band’s Heartbeat City album and their biggest international hit. Lead vocals are sung by bassist Benjamin Orr.

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