The Cars – Good Times Roll – Live 1978

Lyrics:

Let the good times roll
Let them knock you around
Let the good times roll
Let them make you a clown

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll-oll
Let the good times roll

Let the stories be told
Let them say what they want
Let the photos be old
Let them show what they want

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll-oll
Won’t you let the good times roll

Good times roll

If the illusion is real
Let them give you a ride
If they got thunder appeal
Let them be on your side

Let them leave you up in the air
Let them brush your rock and roll hair
Let the good times roll
Won’t you let the good times roll-oll
Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll
Won’t you let the good times roll
Well, let the good times roll
Let ’em roll
Good times roll

Let the good times roll
Oh, let the good times roll
Ooh, let the good times roll
Let ’em roll
Good times roll

Well, let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Well, let the good times roll
Good times roll
Let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Let ’em roll

Good Times Roll” is a song by American rock band The Cars. It is the first track from their 1978 debut album The Cars. With its slow, lumbering rhythm, the track became a modest hit when it was released as a single in 1979.[1] It has since appeared on many of The Cars’ compilation albums.

Background

The track was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. Written and sung by Cars lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, it was released as the album’s third single.[2] Ocasek wrote the song as a sarcastic commentary on the good times in rock music, saying, “That was my song about what the good times in rock ‘n’ roll really mean, instead of what they’re supposed to be. It was kind of a parody of good times, really. It was kinda like not about good times at all.”[3]

“Good Times Roll”, along with the rest of the tracks from The Cars, was recorded in just two weeks. However, the album’s chart success was so long-lived that the release of its follow-up, 1979’s Candy-O, was delayed.[2]

The song begins with electronic drums and a guitar riff, soon joined by Ocasek’s lead vocals and synthesizers by keyboardist Greg Hawkes. Despite the up-tempo-sounding title, “Good Times Roll” is a mid-tempo song, with a beat described as “languid,” “psychedelic” and “creepy.” The lyrics are similarly described as “withering” and Ocasek’s vocal style as “clinical.”[4]

Release

The song was released as the third and final single from The Cars in February 1979, backed with “All Mixed Up“. It reached number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, performing slightly worse that its predecessors “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.”[2]

Of the nine tracks on The Cars, “Good Times Roll” was the only song for which no demo recording could be found during the compilation of the 1999 The Cars: Deluxe Edition package. Instead, a live version of “Good Times Roll” is included alongside demo versions of the other eight tracks.[5]

“Good Times Roll” has been featured on several Cars anthologies, including 1985’s Greatest Hits, 1995’s Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology, and 2002’s Complete Greatest Hits.[4]

Reception

“Good Times Roll” has generally received positive reviews from critics. Greg Prato of AllMusic described the track as one of the “familiar hits” on The Cars and called it a highlight.[6] Donald Guarisco, also of AllMusic, said the track “provides a solid reminder of the Cars’ ability to mix pop hooks with thoroughly trenchant irony.”[4] The Billboard review of The Cars noted “Good Times Roll” as one of the best cuts, while Jaime Welton, author of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, described the track as a “new wave gem”.[1]

Covers and other appearances

Chart performance

Chart (1979) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 74
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 41
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