Six Pack: Elliot Easton
You know Elliot Easton for his work in The Cars – you know, the Boston band that’s heading into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018? – but his guitar skills have been put to use in other musical venues as well. To celebrate Mr. Easton’s birthday today, we’ve put together a six-pack of tracks from throughout his career that show him strutting his stuff outside of The Cars, including one from his oft-forgotten solo album.
1. The Young Jacques, “Jacques Cousteau” (1981): If you’re a power pop aficionado, this is a remarkable little obscurity, as it was a project by the Paley Brothers, but one which featured not only Easton but also Greg Hawkes and David Robinson. From a Paley timeline standpoint, this was after Jonathan Paley had done a stint in the Nervous Eaters, a band whose Elektra album had been produced by Ric Ocasek, so that should give you some idea how members of The Cars got involved in this one-off single.
2. Peter Wolf, “Lights Out” (1984): The title track to Wolf’s debut solo album after leaving The J. Geils Band is arguably best remembered for the video, which featured Wolf showing off all his best dance moves, but let’s not also forget that this song as well as several others on the album featured Easton.
3. Elliot Easton, “(Wearing Down) Like A Wheel” (1985): We’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t the greatest quality, but it’s the only version of Easton’s video on YouTube, so we had to run with it. Easton’s lone solo album, CHANGE NO CHANGE, didn’t set the charts on fire, but there are still plenty of Cars fans who swear by it, so don’t miss a chance to check it out.
4. Doro, “Are They Comin’ For Me?” (1995): Although she first came to fame as the lead singer of the German heavy metal band Warlock, Doro Pesch has released sixteen studio albums to date as a solo artist. If you’re wondering how she and Easton hooked up, well, we actually don’t know the answer to that question, but given that she’s lived in New York for quite some time, it’s not as crazy a concept as it might be if she was still residing in Germany.
5. Amy Rigby, “20 Questions” (1996): Given her history as a singer-songwriter, Rigby got used to people expressing surprise when they heard that she was working with a member of The Cars. “Something about it just tickled me,” she told No Depression. “I know what I can do, so that's why I would rather work with someone unlike me, coming from a different world and yet coming from the same musical background. I knew Elliot loved the same kind of records as me: Merle Haggard, old country stuff, the California pop music of the '60s, Beach Boys, the Turtles, car radio music, great pop music.”
6. The Click Five, “Angel To You (Devil To Me)” (2005): An underrated power-pop five-piece who should’ve been bigger than they were, these guys had a lot of talent in their corner when it came to both their songs and their guest musicians. In addition to featuring Easton’s guitar work, this song was a co-wrote by Paul Stanley of KISS.
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