Brandon Flowers Pays Tribute to Ric Ocasek: 'My First King' - Rolling Stone
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Brandon Flowers Pays Tribute to Ric Ocasek: ‘My First King’

The Killers frontman shares an email he sent the late singer a few years back

Ric Ocasek and Brandon Flowers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2018.Ric Ocasek and Brandon Flowers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2018.

Ric Ocasek and Brandon Flowers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2018.

Michael Zorn/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers posted a lengthy tribute to late Cars singer Ric Ocasek following his death over the weekend. Flowers shared the text of an email he wrote to Ocasek a few years ago via The Killers’ Twitter, noting, “Feeling grateful for Ric. Had the opportunity to send him this email a couple years back. My first king. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

In the email, Flowers related to Ocasek how much the Cars have meant to him. “I just wanted to reach out and make you aware of my gratitude for you and your band’s contribution to my life,” Flowers wrote before detailing an experience he had discovering the Cars’ music in his early teens. “Independence and even adrenaline rushed through me on my way to the register to purchase The Cars’ Greatest Hits,” Flowers shared. “It set me on the path towards the adult I would become, towards the job I have (which is the best job in the world), even towards the woman I would be blessed to marry.”

Flowers has cited Ocasek as an influence on him and his music for a long time. In 2018, Flowers helped induct the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, offering a lengthy speech on their legacy overall, and on him in particular. “Over the years, the Cars have achieved what every kid who ever sweat it out in a garage dreamed of—including a young Kurt Cobain who chose ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ as one of his first tunes to learn,” Flowers noted in the speech. “They achieved greatness and left a comet trail behind them, writing and recording songs that have transcended into classics.”

Back in 2012, Flowers told Entertainment Weekly that the Cars’ song “Just What I Needed” changed his life. “I mean, there wasn’t even a stoplight in this town, and it was such a big contrast because, you know, I was from Las Vegas,” Flowers said of listening to the track during his youth when living in a small town. “But that song was just so cool to me, and it had such a big impact. It made that town more tolerable, and it made that town cooler, and it didn’t matter. It was really profound.”

He also commented on whether Ocasek might ever produce a Killers album, which unfortunately didn’t come to pass. “He was on the list, definitely,” Flowers said to Entertainment Weekly. “I don’t know if it was our first manager—who’s not our manager anymore, because he’s a liar—or if it was our A&R guy, but I forgot who told us, but they told us that Ocasek wasn’t into it. And I found out later that he never said that. So there’s how history was changed—he may have done one of the first or second Killers records if I hadn’t thought that.”


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