Monday, February 15, 2010

The Knack's Doug Fieger Passes Away (August 21, 1952 - February 14, 2010)

Sad news to report: Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack, passed away yesterday at age 57 after a lengthy battle with brain and lung cancers.

The Knack were best known for their debut single, "My Sharona," which spent six weeks at #1 in 1979 and was the biggest-selling single of that year according to Billboard Magazine. There really was a Sharona - Fieger wrote the song about an ex-girlfriend, Sharona Alpern, who is now a real estate agent in California. It's choppy start-stop rhythms and anthemic sound made "My Sharona" a classic that continues to turn up on film soundtracks and in various commercials. In addition to kick-starting The Knack's career, the song indirectly also began the career of "Weird Al" Yankovic who parodied it as "My Bologna."

The Knack's label, Capitol Records, hoped to position the band as the New Wave version of The Beatles, even resurrecting the old orange-swirl label design they used back in The Beatles heyday specifically for Knack releases. The follow-up single, "Good Girls Don't," just missed the Top Ten, peaking at #11 later that same year. The following year "Baby Talks Dirty," a "Sharona" soundalike, hit the lower reaches of the Top 40, and would be The Knack's last charting single.

Fieger, however, continued to be a hot commodity in the New Wave/Power Pop world, writing or co-writing songs for many other artists, doing production work, and adding guest vocals or session work on other artists' records.

Fieger had been battling cancer for several years. He was at his home in Woodland Hills, CA when he passed. The Knack's Official Website currently bears the message, "Our hearts are broken, we will miss you Doug."

In his honor, here are all three of The Knack's Top 40 hits:

The Knack - My Sharona

Rab | MySpace Video

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