The Cars debut album turns 45 on June 6, 2023. It’s brilliance and importance in Boston and beyond can’t be understated.


Heh. Sorry. That first sentence came across a bit too: “In this essay, I will…” But I guess that is what this piece is. Not an essay, per se. But me putting forth an argument in favor of a debut album that I think deserves more love and respect. I’m not saying it doesn’t get either of those things, mind you. I just think it deserves more.


Let’s first look at The Cars through the lens of the big Boston rock acts of the 1970s. Aerosmith dropped their debut album in 1973. Two years later, they were already three albums deep and officially on the map with that third album, Toys in the Attic. Alongside the J. Geils Band, Aerosmith were arguably the second biggest rock band in Boston in the ’70s.


That’s because Boston was the biggest rock band in Boston in the ’70s. Their debut took the city and the country and the whole damn world by storm in the summer of 1976, breaking sales records in the process. Boston became the biggest-selling debut album of all time at the time and has since gone on to 17x platinum status in the U.S., and diamond status in Canada.


The Cars Debut Album: Revisiting a Boston Rock Classic

Such was the scene that The Cars came into with their debut in June of ’78. But the band had a leg up on their Boston contemporaries. The weren’t just a rock band. They were a new wave band, at a time when new wave was the buzziest music style here or across the pond. Because, let’s face it, by mid-1978, disco had lost a lot of its luster.


Rock or new wave or whatever the sub-genre, none if it matters if you don’t have the songs to back it up. And The Cars had the songs to back it up. And that’s kind of my point here. Pound for pound, I’ll take The Cars over Aerosmith 100 times out of 100. Hell, I’ll take it over any debut album by any ’70s-era Boston band. Except Boston. That’s a perfect album. I mean, look at this lineup:

The Cars Debut Album (back cover)


A half-dozen bona-fide hits, with three deep cuts that would be hits on a lesser album. So put some more respect on The Cars. And enjoy a few of my personal favorite cuts from the album below.


  • "Good Times Roll"

    Leading off with the song that tells you what to expect is a boss move.

  • "My Best Friend's Girl"

    A love song that’s actually a love-lost song. And one of the best of that style of that era.

  • "Just What I Needed"

    “Hi. We’re The Cars. We have two lead singers, both of whom are better than your one lead singer. Bow to us.”

  • "Moving In Stereo"

    There’s a reason this song was chosen for this scene.

  • "All Mixed Up"

    Imagine having an album so chock-full of amazing songs you have to put this one LAST?!

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