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Music / The Knack

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The not-so Fab Four. note 

Ooh, my little pretty one, my pretty one,
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run,
Got it comin' off of the line, Sharona.
—"My Sharona"

The Knack was a classic American Power Pop outfit and one of the most popular - and disliked - bands of the very late 70's. The classic lineup was:

  • Doug Fieger (vocals; guitar)
  • Berton Averre (lead guitar)
  • Prescott Niles (bass)
  • Bruce Gary (drums)

Their first album, Get The Knack, along with that album's No.1 hit "My Sharona", kickstarted the revival of the power pop genre, which had laid dormant since the late 60's. Promoted by the music press as the "Neo-Beatles", the descriptor caused them to get scorned by the masses, leading to the "Knuke the Knack" Hype Backlash campaign. Despite their debut album being widely successful, subsequent releases were ignored by the public for being too formulaic, leading to an unceremonious breakup in 1982. There were occasional reunions of the original lineup and Fieger continued to perform under the name with various musicians for most of the next three decades. Original drummer Bruce Gary passed away in 2006 and in 2010 Fieger also died, bringing the band to an end.

Studio discography

  • Get the Knack (1979)
  • ...But the Little Girls Understand (1980)
  • Round Trip (1981)
  • Serious Fun (1991)
  • Zoom (1998) (reissued in 2002 as Re-Zoom with a new cover and two bonus tracks)
  • Normal as the Next Guy (2001)
  • Rock & Roll Is Good for You: The Fieger/Averre Demos (pre-Knack demos recorded in 1973 and 1975, finally released under the Knack name in 2012)

"Good tropers don't... but we do":

  • All Men Are Perverts: It's harder to find a song by them that isn't about wanting to get laid.
  • Cover Album: One of Doug Fieger's solo releases was Hankerings, an EP of four Hank Williams songs.
  • Cover Version: The studio albums include Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat", The Kinks' "The Hard Way", Badfinger's "No Matter What" and Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk". Live albums add The Champs' "Tequila", The Doors' "Break on Through", Adam Faith's "It's Alright" and Jay & the Americans' "Come a Little Bit Closer".
  • Misogyny Song: Unfortunately, quite a few, to the point of even making the most ardent non-feminist feel uncomfortable.
  • Quest for Sex: "My Sharona", "Good Girls Don't", "Frustrated"... they sure seemed to have a hard time getting any.
  • Retraux: Their image was deliberately constructed to resemble 60s bands like The Beatles. They even requested in their contract their record label, Capitol Records, use the same vintage label designs that Capitol used on 60s Beatles records.
  • Revolving Door Band: Played with. The pre-hiatus albums all feature the classic lineup. Each of the reunion albums includes three of the original quartet (Fieger, Averre and Niles), plus a different drummer each time (Billy Ward on Serious Fun, Terry Bozzio on Zoom and David Henderson on Normal as the Next Guy).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Many people thought their stubborn refusal to allow interviews was a sign of this, leading to the backlash and campaign against them.
  • Two Decades Behind: An invoked example; they deliberately crafted their sound as a throwback to 60's power pop groups like The Who and The Monkees as a response to the blossoming New Wave-Post-Punk movement.