Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty & J. Countess/WireImage

Was Ric Ocasek really 75?

News 19/09/2019

When the New York Police Department announced the death of Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the Cars, they said "He was 75."

Many news outlets relied on 1944 birthdate as evidence but The Sound and others assumed he was five years younger due to Ocasek's New York voter registration information and biographies on music platforms like Spotify and Pandora.

On Wikipedia, his birth year has been edited plenty of times since his death and both 1944 and 1949 were included as potential birth years. His birthdate was also altered from 1949 to 1944 after his death on a memorial page on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

According to a Times article by chief critic, Jon Pareles, "Sources have differed on Mr. Ocasek’s age — some saying he was 70 — but a few public records and previous articles about him suggest that he was 75."

After the article was published, reporters kept digging up clues that Ocasek could be born earlier. One of them involves a Rolling Stone 2017 interview where Ocasek said he graduated from Maple Heights High School in 1963, which means he would be born 18 years earlier. NY Times shared a graduation photo of Ocasek in 1962 where he was listed as a junior and member of the track team. An alumni Facebook group also confirms that 1963 was the late singer's graduation year.

Ric Ocasek in a 1962 Maple Heights High School yearbook. (Image shared by NY Times)

The Times also found a court record that described a man named Richard T. Otcasek (Ocasek's legal name), was cited in Baltimore for speeding and driving with an expired license in 1988. His birth year was listed as 1944.

However, Ocasek listed his birthdate on his New York voter registration as 23rd March, 1949 under the same legal name, Richard T. Otcasek. NY Times reached out to spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez, who explained, although voters provide their personal details like a birthdate, the information isn't verified by the Board of Elections.