Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In defense of the Knack

Give me a catchy bass line, a few driving power chords and some naughty lyrics and I'm usually on board for a song. Which is why I never joined the "Nuke the Knack'' generation.

Nope. Never had a big problem with "My Sharona'' -- the biggest hit of 1979. It was roosting at No. 1 exactly 30 years ago today and stayed there for six weeks. But apparently it was too successful for its own good.

The band's music fell somewhere between punk and new wave, and neither faction was willing to take responsibility for it. Meanwhile, radio stations played it to excess, and before long there was a backlash that undermined the group and hastened its demise.

My take at the time, and even today, was that it wasn't disco, so what's the problem? Let the boys play. There was much worse music being produced at the time. Here's a look at the Billboard Top 5 on this day in 1979:

1. My Sharona, The Knack
2. Good Times, Chic
3. Main Event/Fight, Barbra Streisand
4. After the Love Has Gone, Earth, Wind & Fire
5. Bad Girls, Donna Summer

Does anybody even remember the song -- or the artist -- that knocked "My Sharona'' off the perch in October, "Sad Eyes'' by Robert John? I don't. But I do remember the Knacks' follow-up hit, "Good Girls Don't'' which made it to No. 11.

Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone called the Knack "possibly the most vilified non-art rock band in the history of rock 'n' roll.'' I'm not even sure what that means. But I don't think it's fair. Weird Al Yankovic launched his career with the parody "My Bologna.'' Somebody couldn't resist "Nine Coronas.'' All good fun, at the expense of a band that wasn't really all that bad.

I think I'll wear a skinny tie today in their honor. If I can find one. Meanwhile, check out their video here.

No comments:

Post a Comment