Released today in 1986: If She Knew What She Wants

CBS A7062

CBS A7062

In a career spanning 40 years and half as many albums, Jules Shear has rarely troubled the charts as a performer, but he has written some memorable tunes that in the hands of other artists have been hits – particularly in the 1980s. One such song was If She Knew What She Wants, which he wrote and recorded in 1985 and which was a hit for Bangles the following year.

In the 1970s he was a member of Funky Kings and Jules and the Polar Bears, but both bands split when they had albums rejected by their record companies. His first album as a solo artist was produced by Todd Rundgren in 1983. The opening cut was Whispering Your Name, which ten years later would be recorded by Alison Moyet and when issued as a single in the UK would return her to the Top 20 for the first time in over six years (and, as it happened, for the last time). The album also featured his original recording of All Through the Night, later a hit on both sides of the Atlantic for Cyndi Lauper. She returned this favour by co-writing a song with Shear for his second album: the single Steady would provide him with a minor hit of his own in the US. It was this second album that included his version of If She Knew What She Wants, which originally had first-person lyrics; these were changed to a third-person narration for Bangles’ version.

He ended the decade as the host of the television show ‘MTV Unplugged’, a format which he also co-conceived. He appeared in the first 13 programmes which aired from November 1989 – in subsequent seasons, the role of host was dropped. Summarizing the period of his career relevant to this blog, the excellent compilation Horse Of A Different Color: The Jules Shear Collection (1976–1989) was issued in 1993 and included all the tracks mentioned in this article.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Apr. 7
BANGLES If She Knew What She Wants (CBS A7062)
Gary NUMAN This Is Love (Numa NU16)


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