I'm Not the One

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"I'm Not the One"
I'm Not the One cover.jpg
Single by the Cars
from the album Shake It Up
B-side "Heartbeat City" (US)
"Since You're Gone" (UK)
Released January 13, 1986
Recorded 1981
Genre New wave[1]
Length 4:12
Label Elektra 69569
Songwriter(s) Ric Ocasek
Producer(s) Roy Thomas Baker
the Cars singles chronology
"Tonight She Comes"
"I'm Not the One"
"You Are the Girl"

"Tonight She Comes"
"I'm Not the One"
"You Are the Girl"
Shake It Up track listing
9 tracks
Side one
  1. "Since You're Gone"
  2. "Shake It Up"
  3. "I'm Not the One"
  4. "Victim of Love"
  5. "Cruiser"
Side two
  1. "A Dream Away"
  2. "This Could Be Love"
  3. "Think It Over"
  4. "Maybe Baby"

"I'm Not the One" is a song by the American rock band the Cars, from their fourth album, Shake It Up. It features Ric Ocasek on lead vocals, Benjamin Orr singing the 'You Know Why' phrase, with the whole group repeating "going round and round" as backing vocals throughout the song.[2]


"I'm Not the One" first appeared in 1981 on Shake It Up. It was not a charting single at the time, but was nonetheless included on the band's 1985 Greatest Hits album.[2] The song was remixed on the Greatest Hits album, emphasizing the drum track with added reverb. It was then released as a single in 1986, following "Tonight She Comes", also from the Greatest Hits album. "I'm Not the One" debuted on the Billboard Top 40 chart on March 8, 1986, and peaked at number 32.[3]

AllMusic reviewer Donald A. Guarisco described "I'm Not the One" as one of Shake It Up's "strongest and most memorable tunes", commenting that its sound still sounded fresh upon its 1986 re-release, five years after its first appearance on Shake It Up.[2]

The song features in a scene from the 1995 comedy film Billy Madison. In 2005, the album, Substitution Mass Confusion: A Tribute to The Cars, was released on Not Lame Recordings, which included a cover of "I'm Not the One" by Gigolo Aunts.


The song's intro and choruses are in the key of B minor. The intro features two synthesizer parts layered on top of each other, one derived from Ric Ocasek's vocal melody, and the other a supporting counter-melody in a softer tone. The intro/chorus begins with a chord progression of B minor, F♯ minor, E minor, and A major, but is immediately followed with a reversal, F♯ minor to B minor, retaining the E minor to A major movement. After another "reversed" repeat, the E minor to A functions as a ii-V-I turnaround in the key's relative major of D.

The official sheet music folio lists the chord progression as D, to D/C, to D/B (enharmonic to a B minor seventh chord), to D/B♭ (enharmonic to a B♭ augmented major seventh chord),[4] and video exists of Ocasek performing the song, solo on acoustic guitar, according to this progression. However, other transcriptionists describe the chord progression as D to D/C, to G/B, or to Gm/B♭.[5] Either way, the last chord of the verse is a G minor sixth chord, in transition to the chorus in B minor. Each verse is introduced with a guitar melody from Elliot Easton, who layers several clean-tone guitar parts over the synthesizer-dominated arrangement. There is also a horn-like synthesizer solo by Greg Hawkes, played over the chorus progression.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 75
Canadian RPM Top Singles 82
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 32
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[7] 29
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[8] 24


  1. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/song/im-not-the-one-mt0026962647
  2. ^ a b c Guarisco, Donald A. "The Cars: I'm Not the One: Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th Edition). Billboard Books. p. 109. ISBN 0-8230-7499-4. 
  4. ^ Ocasek, Ric. The Cars: Shake It Up (1981, 1982) Warner Bros. Publications Inc., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10019
  5. ^ The Cars: Complete Greatest Hits (Guitar Recorded Versions), Universal Music Publishing Group, Distributed by Hal Leonard
  6. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "The Cars Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.

External links[edit]