Monday, February 15, 2010

Doug Fieger, Lead Singer of The Knack Dead At 57

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the highly successful power pop and new wave group, The Knack, has passed away from lung and brain cancer at the age of 57. He had been battling the fatal disease for several years, first becoming disoriented and feeling ill during a 2006 concert performance. He has become the second member of the revolutionary sounding power pop band to pass away. In August 2006, Bruce Gary, the group's drummer died of lymphoma.

The band's biggest selling smash hit was "My Sharona", which sold three million copies and was #1 on the pop charts for three weeks. Strangely, the song was written about a teenage girl that Fieger had a sort of crush on when he was a young man. The song featured a unique stuttering style along with a heavy retro neosurf song sound. The strength of the single, along with the cover of the debut album, which had a Beatles-like appearance, all helped to propel the image of the band which reminded many of being like a new Beatles phenomenon.

"My Sharona" also featured a cool punchy "kick and snare" drum intro that was a great hook as well. Bruce Gary was a master drummer, having worked with the likes of Albert Collins, Jack Bruce. Mick Taylor and many others in his musical career.

At the time of the late 70's into the early 80's, The Knack were a powerful presence on the music scene. And a mostly disco weary public seemed willing to embrace something new, fresh, cool and fun like The Knack. This L.A. band was also packaged just like the early Beatles by Capitol Records, which only further helped to create their phenomenal rise as a major recording act. The Knack was one of the best marketed musical acts ever, where buyers wanted to be part of musical history so they bought their records in huge numbers. The ride continued for several years.

The 45rpm single, "My Sharona", was also packaged with a punky looking braless model in a t-shirt in a picture sleeve that set a decidedly new wave tone for the band on one hand, but the use of a picture sleeve also seemed like a blowback to 1960's Capitol Releases by The Beatles once again. It was more of the clever marketing of the band.

Interesting trivia: Fieger's brother is lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, who was the lawyer for Dr. Jack Kevorkian.


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