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Bass guitar player Benjamin Orr picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth name: Benjamin Orzechowski
Born: August 9th, 1947 Lakewood, Ohio, USA.
Died: October 3, 2000 (aged 53).
Benjamin Orr biography (bio):
Benjamin Orr was the bass guitar player and one of the vocalists for New Wave band The Cars.
Orr was born Benjamin Orzechowski in Lakewood, Ohio, to Russian and Czechoslovak parents. He grew up in Cleveland, and dropped out of Valley Forge High School to join a local band The Grasshoppers as lead singer and guitarist. The Grasshoppers were the house band on the syndicated TV show Upbeat hosted by Don Webster. In 1965, they released two singles on the Sunburst label, "Mod Socks" and "Pink Champagne (And Red Roses)", the latter written by Orr. His parents actively supported his musical endeavors. He became proficient in several instruments including the guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, and drums. However, his talents in The Cars were mostly in playing the bass and lead vocals for many of their most popular hits, including "Just What I Needed", "Let's Go", and "Drive". Orr's backing vocals were also a Cars' signature.
Around 1970, Orr moved to Columbus where he met Ric Ocasek and formed a musical partnership that would continue through to the end of his life. Along with lead guitarist Jas Goodkind, the two formed a folk band called Milkwood. The group released one album "How's the Weather" in 1972 which failed to chart; it was recently re-released in Japan. By the mid 1970s Orr was working in a Boston night club band, Cap'n Swing, with other members including future Cars frontman Ric Ocasek and guitarist Elliot Easton. When the group broke up in 1975, the three of them joined up with keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson to form The Cars by 1976.
As a key member of The Cars, Orr's biggest success came with the song "Drive" where he was featured on lead vocals and had a part as the storyteller in the accompanying music video. The song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
After several top hits and multi-platinum albums with The Cars, he released his only solo project The Lace in 1986. He co-wrote all music and lyrics, and the album had one Top 40 hit, "Stay the Night". A second single "Too Hot to Stop" was also released, but did not chart in the Top 500. The album had a very familiar rhythm and feel of The Cars but was also free of Ocasek's frequently cryptic lyrics. The album cover for The Lace was shot by Jean Renard and featured Ben Orr on the front and his co-writer Diane Grey Page on the back. The video for "Stay the Night" went on to number one on both MTV and VH1, and Orr won an ASCAP award for the song.
Orr continued to work with The Cars for one more album before their subsequent break-up in 1988, after which he and the other members pursued solo work. Between 1987-1989 Orr recorded tracks for an unreleased follow-up to The Lace. From 1998 until his death in 2000, he performed with three bands, including his own band Orr, The Voices of Classic Rock, and Big People.
Illness and Death:
In April 2000, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and subsequently hospitalized, yet continued to perform in concerts with the band Big People, at summer music festivals and state fairs. He reunited with all the former members of The Cars one last time in Atlanta, Georgia for an interview that was used in a Rhino Records video and DVD of a German concert performed in 1979, The Cars Live.
His final public appearance was on September 27, 2000 in a Big People concert in Anchorage, Alaska. Six days later, he passed away at his home in Atlanta, on Tuesday night, October 3, 2000 at the age of 53, surrounded by his fiancee Julie Snider, manager Billy Johnson and Big People band members Jeff Carlisi, Derek St. Holmes and Rob Wilson. The bands Orr and Big People still perform his classic Cars hits.
Ric Ocasek wrote and recorded the song "Silver" which was his musical tribute to Ben. It appeared on Ocasek's 2005 solo album Nexterday.