|"Good Times Roll"|
|Single by the Cars|
|from the album The Cars|
|B-side||"All Mixed Up"|
|Released||February 20, 1979|
|Recorded||AIR Studios, London, February 1978|
|Genre||Rock, new wave|
|Producer(s)||Roy Thomas Baker|
|The Cars singles chronology|
|The Cars track listing|
"Good Times Roll" is a song by American rock band the Cars released as the first track from their 1978 debut album The Cars. Written by Ric Ocasek as a sarcastic comment on rock's idea of good times, the song features layered harmonies courtesy of producer Roy Thomas Baker.
"Good Times Roll" was released as the third single from the album in 1979, charting at number 41 in the United States. It has since received positive critical reception and has appeared on many of the Cars' compilation albums.
Written and sung by Cars lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, "Good Times Roll" was released as the third single from the band's debut album. 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."
"Good Times Roll," like the rest of the album, was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who was responsible for the recording's layered harmonies. Ocasek recalled, "I just remember when we did 'Good Times Roll' in the studio in England on the first record, and we heard back the vocals. I told Roy that I thought it was way, way too much. ... But you know, it grew on me later and it sounded so smooth. It was a nice process to do it because Roy, you know, was fortunate enough to have a 40-track machine ... so he could do layering of vocals a lot."
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." The song notably features the lyric "Let them brush your rock 'n' roll hair"; when asked if the line was a throwaway, Ocasek replied, "Not in my opinion. It's like 'let them do whatever they want to do.'"
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."
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.
"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. Donald Guarisco, also of AllMusic, said the track "provides a solid reminder of the Cars' ability to mix pop hooks with thoroughly trenchant irony." 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". Rolling Stone named the song one of Ocasek's "essential songs", praising the "hard-edged midtempo strut, blaring backing vocals, and Ocaseks stylized singing" in the song. Ultimate Classic Rock named the song the fifth best Cars song, calling it "one of the best side ones, track ones ever." The song was also ranked among the band and Ric Ocasek's best by the New York Times, Esquire, and Inquisitr.
Covers and other appearances
- A live version, performed by the New Cars, appears on their 2006 album, It's Alive!
- "Good Times Roll" has also been included in the soundtracks of several films, including 2003's Wonderland, 2005's Just Like Heaven and 2016's Everybody Wants Some!!.
- In the season four finale of Rescue Me, "Good Times Roll" played in its entirety as episode 13 faded to black.
- The song was used in an episode of the series Freaks and Geeks titled "The Garage Door".
- The song was covered by Alternative metal band Powerman 5000 on their hit album Tonight the Stars Revolt! and had become a popular cover among fans on the band.
- The song was covered by Big Wreck and released on the band's 2013 EP Bag of Tricks.
- This song was used in the 1999 film Jawbreaker.
- The song was used in the 2009 film "I Love You, Man" and appears on its soundtrack.
- The Cars' version appears in a 2019 TV commercial for Capital One.
|Canada RPM Top Singles||74|
|French Singles Chart||5|
|US Billboard Hot 100||41|
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