Heartbeat City by The Cars, 1984, released on Elektra record label, value £60

YOU can never go on a road trip without a Car's album playing through the sound system, writes MICHAEL BROOKS. Formed by frontman and songwriter Ric Ocasek, the band were formed in 1976/77 originating from Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

The Cars left a powerful legacy behind in American music, a route map through which the genres of punk, new wave, art rock could all be gathered into something more expansive, enduring and timeless. They were an instant success in Britain and around the world; their debut album The Cars remained in the album charts for 127 weeks, the first single My Best Friend's Girl made number three in the UK. Every album release by the band sold more than a million copies and reached high chart positions in the USA. This was their fifth studio album and remains their best seller featuring five top 40 singles. Stranger Eyes was used in the Tom Cruise film Top Gun and the music video of You Might Think found the band members in a variety of unusual computer generated situations, with Ric Ocasek like King Kong swatting giant bees on top of the Empire State Building. This three minute film was named best music video of the year beating Michael Jackson's spectacular Thriller video to the top accolade of the MTV music awards.

The song Drive was originally a song and video about a troubled girl played by an 18 year old model Paulina Ponzkova who later married Ric in 1988. It became a worldwide hit and was opportunistically but tastefully used to pull people's consciences during the 1985 Live Aid concert. A short film put together by a Canadian production company, showed the appalling famine in Ethiopia; people will never forget the lyric "Who's gonna plug their ears when you scream?" It was replaced by a heart rendering scream from a small child that touched just about everybody. This segment left few dry eyes around the world and the song became a hit once more with the proceeds donated to the Band Aid charity.

The album cover is a painting by Alberto Vargas called Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop showing a 1971 Plymouth Duster classic car.

One of the best albums of the eighties, this collections of songs will remind you of long summer days and warm nights driving around with your friends.

While I was penning this article quietly listening to the radio, in the news break it was announced that Ric Ocasek had died suddenly from heart failure. It sent a shiver down my spine; what a coincidence.