Tuesday, February 16, 2010

He had the Knack

It's time to bury the "Nuke the Knack" T-shirts. Doug Fieger, the songwriter, rhythm guitarist and creative force behind one of America's most reviled bands, is dead at age 57. The cause was lung cancer.

Six String Sanctuary defended the Knack last August on the 30th anniversary of "My Sharona" ruling the Billboard chart for six weeks. To read that post click here.

Although we weren't big fans of the Knack, we'd show our support today as we did back then by sporting a skinny tie...if we could only find one. We never quite understood the backlash Fieger and his mates endured after helping usher in the new wave era with a song about teenage lust.

In a 2003 interview with Detroit Free Press pop music critic Brian McCollum, the Michigan-born rocker explained the origin of "My Sharona" and the Knack's other notable hit "Good Girls Don't" (which made it to No. 11):

I had this girlfriend that I was living with. We'd started living together in Detroit when we were 15. She lived with me and my parents at my parents' house. I stayed out here (in L.A.) when Sky broke up, and she came out here and we started living together here, for another eight years. She started working as a hairdresser, and she met this young girl named Sharona, who had worked at a children's clothing store across the street from her hairdressing salon.

She introduced me to her, and I instantly fell in love. I'd been living with Judy for a long time, and loved her, but I fell in love with this girl. We broke up and I moved out. We're very good friends to this day.

That's how it happened. I chased her. Most of the songs on the first and second Knack albums were written about her. There was a song on the first album called 'Good Girls Don't' about a girl I'd met in Oak Park, at Clinton Junior High School, named Bobbie Ernstein. She was there for two years, and then she moved to St. Louis. She actually said those words to me: "Good girls don't, but I do."

Most guys would die to hear a line like that. Fieger heard it -- in junior high! -- and reacted years later with a catchy song you couldn't help but sing along to. Now what was so wrong about that?

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