Wednesday, April 3, 2013

crash course on Get The Knack!

Now before I get into discussing Get The Knack by The Knack, you will need to know that I was born in 1981, meaning this album was released before my time. I know a lot of the “older” vinyl heads that I talk to remember clearly that when this album was originally released it was overplayed and over hyped, and… well…. basically it ruined it for them. I totally understand this. I’ve lived through Hootie and the Blowfish, I get the idea! For me, this album is a discovery.


Before I picked up a copy of Get The Knack, I can honestly say I never knew who sang My Sharona. It was just a catchy song that I heard daily on the oldies top 40 radio station… catchy, but way overplayed. When I picked this album up in a collection, I realized that they were responsible for this hit. I counted it as a one hit wonder, threw it on the “rainy day records” shelf and just finally got around to trying it out.

I was super impressed by this album. The drummer, Bruce Gary, completely dominated his drum kit, with tons of fancy fills and drum rolls. Doug Fieger’s singing is great, Berton Averre is full of catchy guitar riffs and Prescott Niles holds it all together with the bass. It’s a great new wave/pop rock album. Why the hell have I not heard people talking about it?

After a few quick searches on Google I quickly learned the over hype and impossible standards set for The Knack upon release.

The Knack was a busy Los Angeles band playing a heavy schedule of gigs and handing out demo tapes whenever they had a chance. Through word of mouth, people starting following this band around the circuit and they obtained a fairly large loyal fan base. After some hard work and constant playing, the record labels started offering them deals and they settled on one offered by Capitol Records.

Their debut album, Get The Knack, was thrown together quickly with minimal money; however, with help from producer Mike Chapman (who produced Blondie’s parallel Lines) they obtained a great sound and a great recording.

Capitol Records pushed The Knack as if they were the next Beatles, trying to get them portray the same image of the fab four. They even mocked The Beatles album covers on the front and back of the record sleeve and brought back the Capitol Rainbow label to really give it the full Beatles effect. People quickly bought into the hype and this album became popular VERY fast becoming one of the highest selling debut albums ever.
Music critics resented the immediate success of the band and that they were built to appear like The Beatles. This, along with the band refusing to do interviews, made them hated by many critics. Every era seems to have one of these bands that get popular quickly and become “cool to hate”. **cough** Nickelback **cough**
Being an outsider looking into this period, it’s a shame that it was ruined with all of the hype bullshit that follows popularity. I will never dismiss a band because of their success, this makes no sense to me. Also, I’ll never like a band because of their popularity. I like coming to my own decisions on whether an album is good or not.  Regardless of people deciding it was cool to not like The Knack, the statistics speak for themselves. They sold over six million copies of this album alone and My Sharona is still played daily on the radio, so apparently somebody likes them. In short… The Knack won!

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