Stephen Colbert Remembers Ric Ocasek: "His Music Was the Soundtrack of My High School"

Stephen Colbert and Ric Ocasek - Getty - Split - H 2019
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The 'Late Show' host also revisited one of the late Cars frontman's appearances on 'The Colbert Report.'

Stephen Colbert paid tribute to Ric Ocasek on Monday's episode of The Late Show.

Ocasek died Sunday after being found unresponsive in his Manhattan townhouse. The New York City medical examiner later released the cause of death, which was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Pulmonary emphysema was a contributing factor. Ocasek was 75.

The late-night show segment opened with the house band playing "Candy-O" by The Cars, which was written by Ocasek.

"This job gives you a lot of great opportunities. It's a real blessing to do this job," said Colbert after he announced Ocasek's death. 

The host shared that Ocasek was the first celebrity he saw in New York City when he was visiting friends in college. "I was down at Greenwich Village getting a cup of coffee, sitting on the sidewalk and Ric fucking Ocasek walked by and I went, 'I have to move here,'" Colbert shared.

He then discussed The Cars' self-titled debut album from 1978, which Colbert said was "packed with hits like peanuts in a Snickers bar." Colbert added that it was one of the greatest debut albums of all time.

"Ric Ocasek was already 34 years old when their first album came out. He had put in the hours and his music — he wrote everything for The Cars — and his music was the soundtrack of my high school," Colbert said. "The Cars' The Cars came out when I was a freshman. Next year, Candy-O. Next year, Panorama. Then Shake It Up."

"I couldn't believe it when Ric Ocasek came on The Colbert Report," he continued. "I got to meet one of my greatest musical heroes, and then he started doing bits on the show. We would send him out to do commando raids for us."

A clip of Colbert instructing Ocasek to look for his "eagle adopted son," named Stephen Jr., on The Colbert Report followed.

"Ric, thank you so much for all your music. Thank you for playing for our stupid show and let's go," Colbert said at the conclusion of the segment. The final line was a reference to the band's 1979 song "Let's Go."

Watch the full tribute below.