So, we've established that between writing every single Cars song (with rare exceptions of collaborations with keyboardist Greg Hawkes) and releasing a solo album that Ric Ocasek was very much the creative force behind the band. So who exactly was clamoring for solo projects from the other members?
Whether the public wanted them or not, every non-Ric Cars member with the exception of drummer David Robinson put out a solo disc in the 80s. And why not? The band had built up plenty of exposure and goodwill by 1985, with Heartbeat City
putting them firmly at the top of the charts and on radio with five Top 40 singles from that album alone (hats off to them for getting a song as moody and dark as "Why Can't I Have You" in the Top 40 - talk about momentum). And they had to feel creatively stifled with Ocasek calling all the shots. So if opportunity presents itself, grab it, I suppose.
And if you get the chance to work with a songwriter like Jules Shear
, dear God, you better
grab it, especially if your only previous claim to fame was squiggly, brilliant guitar solos like Elliot Easton's. Easton teamed with Shear to write 1985's, Change No Change
, and it was a mixed bag of barely there song sketches and momentary power pop brilliance. Por ejemplo...
First single "(Wearing Down) Like A Wheel"
starts off promisingly enough, but then someone forgot to put a chorus in there. Whoopsie. Not the best foot to put forward to get people interested in your album.
Especially when you have much superior songs like "Shayla"
hanging around. Here Jules' songwriting contribution really shines through, while Elliot puts on his best Elvis Costello mask. Why this wasn't the first single is one of those questions we'll have to ponder. But it wasn't, so Change No Change
had its brief moment in the sun, then faded from view. Easton and Shear worked together later that decade in the power pop combo Reckless Sleepers, who put out an unjustly ignored album in 1988.
And of course, there was always that day job with The Cars to fall back on...or pervert the memory of..."(Wearing Down) Like A Wheel" peaked at #36 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart in 1985.
"Shayla" did not chart.Change No Change is recently back in print - you can pick it up at Amazon or on
Labels: 1985, Elliot Easton, The Cars