Born: March 7, 1952
Though he's never been able to record a hit of his own, singer/songwriter Jules Shear has recorded several albums of highly accessible, hit-worthy material, and as a testament to his abilities, he's penned hits for others including "All Through the Night" for Cyndi Lauper and "If She Knew She What She Wants" for the Bangles. He relocated to Los Angeles in the mid-'70s, joining his first band, a typically laidback combo called the Funky Kings. The band released one album for Arista in 1976. Shear left the following year to form his own group, Jules & the Polar Bears, who released two critically acclaimed, though commercially overlooked, albums for Columbia. When a third album was rejected by the label, Shear forged on as a solo artist. Signing on to EMI-America, he released two solo albums, 1983's Watch Dog and 1985's Eternal Return; both received critical praise but few sales. Shear then formed the Reckless Sleepers with the Cars' Elliot Easton. In 1988, without Easton, the Reckless Sleepers released their sole album for IRS, Big Boss Sounds; it failed to make much impact though "If We Never Meet Again" from the album was later covered by Roger McGuinn. Shear teamed up with the Church's Marty Willson-Piper for an all acoustic, Dylan-esque album, The Third Party in 1989. The album ultimately led to a spot on MTV, hosting the first 13 episodes of Unplugged -- he left when the show switched to the single-artist format.