Heartbeat City

Heartbeat City is the fifth studio album by American rock band the Cars, released on March 13, 1984, by Elektra Records. The band produced the album with Robert John "Mutt" Lange.

Heartbeat City
The Cars - Heartbeat City.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 13, 1984 (1984-03-13)
RecordedJuly 1983 – January 1984
StudioBattery (London)
The Cars chronology
Shake It Up
Heartbeat City
Greatest Hits
Singles from Heartbeat City
  1. "You Might Think"
    Released: February 1984
  2. "Magic"
    Released: May 7, 1984
  3. "Drive"
    Released: July 23, 1984
  4. "Hello Again"
    Released: October 15, 1984
  5. "Why Can't I Have You"
    Released: January 7, 1985
  6. "Heartbeat City"
    Released: September 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Baltimore Sun[2]
Chicago Tribune[3]
Classic Rock9/10[4]
Rolling Stone[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[8]
Under the Radar8/10[9]
The Village VoiceB+[10]

This marks the band's first album not produced by long-time producer Roy Thomas Baker. It also represented a return to the success of the band's self-titled debut album, with critic Robert Christgau noting that "the glossy approach the Cars invented has made this the best year for pure pop in damn near twenty years, and it's only fair that they should return so confidently to form."[10] Numerous tracks from the album received airplay on modern rock and AOR stations, with the singles "Drive" and "You Might Think" reaching the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, while the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200.

Background and releaseEdit

The Cars in a promotional image for Heartbeat City, 1984

Heartbeat City spawned six singles. "Drive" and "You Might Think" reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at numbers three and seven, respectively.[11] A number of songs from the album gained significant radio and television exposure, notably "Drive", "You Might Think" and "Magic", which all received heavy rotation on MTV. The title track served as the album's sixth and final single outside North America.

The lead vocals on "Drive" were performed by bassist Benjamin Orr. The song's video was directed by actor Timothy Hutton and features Ric Ocasek arguing with a troubled young woman played by model Paulina Porizkova (whom Ocasek would later marry). "Hello Again" had a video directed by Andy Warhol, who also appeared onscreen.[12]

Despite not being released as a single, "It's Not the Night" reached number 31 on the Top Rock Tracks chart.[13] The song "Stranger Eyes" was used in the theatrical trailer of the 1986 film Top Gun, but never made it onto the soundtrack. "Looking for Love" was covered by Austrian singer Falco as "Munich Girls" on his 1985 album Falco 3.

When the Cars performed at Live Aid, they played three songs from the album ("You Might Think", "Drive", and the album's title track), alongside the fan favorite "Just What I Needed".

The album was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. His commitment to the Cars album meant that he told Def Leppard he could not work on their album, Hysteria. However, due to delays in that album's recording, Lange was eventually able to produce it.


The cover art (including an image of a 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 and an Alberto Vargas pin-up model[14][15]) is from a 1972 piece by Peter Phillips called Art-O-Matic Loop di Loop.[16]

Full cover spread

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Ric Ocasek; track 7 co-written by Greg Hawkes.

Side one
1."Hello Again"Ocasek3:47
2."Looking for Love"Ocasek3:52
4."Drive"Benjamin Orr3:55
5."Stranger Eyes"Orr4:26
Side two
6."You Might Think"Ocasek3:04
7."It's Not the Night"
  • Orr
  • Ocasek
8."Why Can't I Have You"Ocasek4:04
9."I Refuse"Ocasek3:16
10."Heartbeat City"Ocasek4:31
Total length:38:41
2018 expanded edition bonus tracks
11."Hello Again" (remix version)Ocasek5:57
12."Drive" (demo)Orr4:45
13."One More Time" (early version of "Why Can't I Have You")Ocasek3:59
14."Baby I Refuse" (early version of "I Refuse")Ocasek3:52
15."Jacki" (early version of "Heartbeat City")Ocasek4:16
16."Breakaway" (B-side of "Why Can't I Have You")Ocasek3:47
17."Tonight She Comes" (from Greatest Hits, 1985)Ocasek3:58
Total length:69:15


  • "Stranger Eyes" is titled "Stranger" on the label of early US vinyl pressings, though the title is listed as "Stranger Eyes" on the inner sleeve.
  • "Heartbeat City" is titled "Jacki" on the inner sleeve of early US vinyl pressings, though the title is listed (correctly) as "Heartbeat City" on the label. On early cassette versions, the track is titled "Jacki" on the cassette insert, but as "Heartbeat City" on the actual tape.


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Heartbeat City.[17]

The CarsEdit

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Andy Topeka – Fairlight CMI programming



  • Peter Phillips – cover painting
  • HSU – art direction
  • Cathy Henszey – art direction
  • Doris Kloster – photography
  • George Holz – photography
  • David Robinson – cover design



Certifications for Heartbeat City
Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[36] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Heartbeat City – The Cars". AllMusic. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Considine, J. D. (March 25, 1984). "'Heartbeat City' sounds almost too carefully polished to be a Cars album". The Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (August 4, 1991). "Tracking Ocasek's Voice On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  4. ^ Elliott, Paul (May 2018). "The Cars: Reissues". Classic Rock. No. 248. p. 99.
  5. ^ Blake, Mark (May 2018). "The Cars: Heartbeat City". Mojo. No. 294. p. 104.
  6. ^ Soto, Alfred (March 31, 2018). "The Cars: Shake It Up / Heartbeat City". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  7. ^ Shewey, Don (April 26, 1984). "The Cars: Heartbeat City". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2007.
  8. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Cars". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 141. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ Rushbury, Ian (April 19, 2018). "The Cars: Heartbeat City: Expanded Edition (Rhino)". Under the Radar. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (September 25, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  12. ^ "The Uncensored Andy Warhol-Directed Video for The Cars' Hit "Hello Again" (NSFW)". Open Culture. October 15, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  13. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Mainstream Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  14. ^ Stack, Phil; Vargas, Alberto (January 1944). "Varga Calendar for 1944". Esquire. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  16. ^ "1972 The Cars "Heartbeat City" Album Cover". PeterPhillips.com. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  17. ^ Heartbeat City (liner notes). The Cars. Elektra Records. 1984. 60296-1.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  18. ^ Kent 1993, p. 56.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 8605". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Cars – Heartbeat City" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Eurotipsheet. Vol. 1, no. 34. November 19, 1984. p. 16. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Cars – Heartbeat City" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  25. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  26. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  27. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  28. ^ "Rock Albums". Billboard. Vol. 96, no. 29. July 21, 1984. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.
  29. ^ Kent 1993, p. 436.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41, no. 17. January 5, 1985. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  31. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1984". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  32. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1984". Billboard.biz. December 31, 1984. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  33. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Albums of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43, no. 16. December 25, 1985. p. 14. ISSN 0033-7064 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  34. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1985". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  35. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1985". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  36. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Recorded Music NZ. September 30, 1984. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  37. ^ "British album certifications – Cars – Heartbeat City". British Phonographic Industry. September 25, 1985. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "American album certifications – The Cars – Heartbeat City". Recording Industry Association of America. December 17, 2001. Retrieved June 12, 2019.