Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Knack - I Want Ya

Rock and roll's equivalent to a shooting star, the Knack burst onto the scene in 1979 with their massively successful debut, Get the Knack.  That album went to #1 for 5 weeks and reached double platinum status.  However, in spite of their success (or perhaps because of it), the band quickly fell out of favor with the listening public and broke up just two short years later.

The group formed in Los Angeles in 1978 and were led by singer/guitarist Doug Fieger.  Guitarist Berton Averre, bassist Prescott Niles, and drummer Bruce Gary rounded out the original lineup.  Although the Knack were lazily compared to the Beatles, they were a pure power pop group, closer to Badfinger.  There was nothing fancy about the Knack; they wrote straight up songs (mostly about sex), but they were really good pop rock tunes.  In retrospect, their immediate success meant that many listeners viewed them as a fad, but the Knack created a catalog of strong material, much of it after their debut record.  Unfortunately, egos, stress, and just bad luck torpedoed their career.

The Knack reunited for the first time in 1986, and worked together on and off through 2010.  They even released another solid album in 1991, Serious Fun.  Sadly, in 2006 Doug Fieger became disoriented during a show and it was eventually determined that he had brain cancer.  Fieger passed away in 2010, marking an official end to the band.

For the blog, we went with "I Want Ya" off 1980's ... But the Little Girls Understand (named after a line from Willie Dixon's "Backdoor Man.")  I don't believe that the song was released as a single, and the album reached #15 and went gold, which was considered a disappointment after Get the Knack.  "I Want Ya" is classic Knack; fun, well-crafted, and eminently listenable.

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