The Knack exemplified American New Wave – a short haired, 60s-influenced band playing straight-ahead pop-rock while sporting skinny ties and modish suits.
Charting worldwide in 1979 with the catchy, syncopated My Sharona, The Knack were briefly a bona fide pop sensation. The single blared on car radios throughout that summer, and their debut album, Get The Knack, sold 5 million copies in the US.
In the States, the beaty, swinging follow-up Good Girls Don’t stalled just outside the Top 10 but, in the UK, it didn’t even reach the Top 50.
Because their success was based on one thing (Sharona) they were never allowed to do anything different and the British press – who viewed The Knack suspiciously as bandwagon-jumpers – grew very hostile to the band.
Suddenly it was all over. The records stopped selling and the girls stopped screaming. Critics began to attack the band’s Beatles-esque packaging as shallow hype and attacked singer-guitarist Doug Fieger for the sexist arrogance of his lyrics.
By November 1980 The Knack were falling apart. Although they buried the hatchet to record Round Trip (1981), the band gave their final performance at an Acapulco nightclub in December 1981.
The Knack were later embraced by Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain, who rated the Get The Knack album in his Top 20 all-time favourite records, and declared that Nirvana sounded like “a 90s version of Cheap Trick or The Knack”.
The band reformed in 1991 without drummer Bruce Gary, but he rejoined them to make a Badfinger tribute album in 1997. Gary passed away in Los Angeles on 22 August 2006, aged 54.
Doug Fieger (pictured at right) battled brain tumours and lung cancer until his death on 14 February 2010, in Woodland Hills, California. He was 57.