Doug Fieger, lead singer and songwriter for The Knack, died sunday after a long battle with lung cancer.
The band's big hit was, as anyone who was alive in 1979 knows, My Sharona.
And that song remains etched on my memory. Not because of the catchy riff (does anyone NOT know it?) or the cheeky lyrics or the because it was the first wave (more like tsunami) of the New Wave. No, I remember it so clearly because back in the summer of '79, it was just about the only damn thing on the radio worth listening to.
Let me explain . . . I spent that summer in upstate New York, where the radio waves were overwhelmed by nondescript AM stations. But, if your turned the dial carefully, and ever so slowly, and had the volume turned way up (a trick I learned from my older brother) you could find decent FM stations. Not many of them, but they were there. There were no AOR stations, I couldn't be that lucky. But there were top 40 stations, and if I got up early on the weekend, I could catch the beginning of Casey Kasem's Top 40 countdown and hear My Sharona replayed as the number one hit of the previous week, and then I would listen to the entire countdown, just to hear it again. It was Number ONE for the whole summer. Or at least it seemed that way. And sure, there were other great songs that summer, I just don't remember them the way I remember Sharona.
The Knack and Doug never had a follow up smash hit (as was expected by the media), and the band broke up, reformed years later and put out more albums, making their own way through the music world. Some of the later songs I like as much as Sharona. "Just Wait and See" and "Don't Look Back" are two of my favorites.
It's a sad day for my musical memories. But as Doug said in his song "Pop is Dead:"
I wonder what they'll say, years from now
Who'll understand it all anyhow?
Condolences to his family and friends. And in some more of his own words, "Don't look back."
Today is February 2, the anniversary of the day Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.
I got into Buddy Holly around the time I got out of college and got into stuff like playing guitar, Rockabilly, and music in general. And I found out that I had been a fan longer than I thought. Let me explain . . .
Back in grade school, among my collection of records, and in fact among the very first that I ever owned, were Parallel Lines by Blondie and Get the Knack, by the Knack. Now these records, which were 12" disks of vinyl, processed from the now long extinct hides of vinylsauruses, came with cool stuff like liner notes, lyrics and song writing credits, all of which could be read without the aid of a magnifying glass, unlike the tiny foldouts that come with CD's today. One thing I noticed while perusing this wealth of information and really cool pictures while spinning the records was that two of my favorite songs from these albums, "Heartbeat" from GTK and "I'm a Gonna Love You Too" from PL, weren't written by anyone in the band. These were cover songs, but never having heard the originals, I didn't know any better.
Flash forward -- it was quite a surprise to learn that some of my favorite songs were Buddy Holly songs! I had been a fan for years and never knew. Right now I'm listening to "Mailman bring me no Blues," from the the 5 album boxed set The Complete Buddy Holly (yes, 5 vinyl records, not available in CD and all in glorious mono). Later I'll get out my guitar and play along.