Monday, February 15, 2010
Doug Fieger, 1952-2010
Doug Fieger, the brains, such as they were, behind the power-pop band the Knack, dead at the age of 57. You younger folks might find this hard to believe, but the Knack more or less presented themselves as the new Beatles, starting with the Meet the Beatles knockoff Get the Knack in 1979. "My Sharona," which spent six weeks at Number One in that magical summer of '79, nearly pulled it off, but that proved to be just about the only bullet in the Knack holster.
Fieger was a native of (suburban) Detroit who had fled for L.A. when he formed the Knack via the un-Beatlesque method of putting an ad in the paper. By the time the Knack made their first album, Fieger was as old as George Harrison was when the Beatles broke up. They weren't a one-hit wonder: "Good Girls Don't," the second single from Get the Knack, went to Number Eleven in that less-than-magical autumn of '79. Their unfortunate second album, But the Little Girls Understand, spawned the enervated "Baby Talks Dirty," which squeaked into the Top Forty for two weeks in March 1980, but that was it. Round Trip, the Knack's Revolver, went nowhere in 1981, and the Knack broke up, except for the inevtiable reunions, in 1982.
I don't mean to slight Fieger's gifts; coming up with a single as indelible as "My Sharona" is a lot more than most of us will accomplish. Here they are, making the world safe for the Romantics, on some kind of German TV show: