In stark contrast to the music legends that I paid to see over the weekend, Doug Fieger will not be remembered for his extraordinary body of work. I will allow the same amount of slightly cynical reverence into my reflection on his career and his impact on my life. Doug was the lead singer for The Knack, and he died Sunday.
If you don't remember The Knack, it's because you weren't listening to the radio in 1979. "My Sharona" was the kind of omnipresent pop song that enters your brain in the usual way, but takes voodoo or physical extrication to make it leave. The song's earworm status was confirmed via the Weird Al Yankovic parody "My Balogna." The hook-heavy single sat atop the Billboard chart for six weeks, and went gold. Run-DMC so admired the guitar riff that they sampled it on their own hit "It's Tricky," and paid for it later via a lawsuit. "My Sharona" returned to the chart in 1994, thanks to its inclusion in the slacker epic "Reality Bites." Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo helped dance the song into the hearts of a whole new generation.
But what about The Knack? They didn't fare as well. After the runaway success of their first album and hit single, they had trouble holding together. Subsequent releases failed to capture the magic of that initial blast of power pop. Like so many one-hit wonder stories, this one ended with the band breaking up and the lead singer clinging to those moments of fame. In 2006, Doug Fieger underwent surgery to remove two tumors from his brain. I'm still looking for the cure that will get "My Sharona" out of my head.