Monday, February 15, 2010

Good-bye, Doug!

Yesterday, February 14, 2010, Doug Fieger passed away after a long battle with cancer; he was 57. He was the frontman and chief songwriter for the seminal New Wave power-pop band The Knack, known as "The Band That Killed Disco", and their 1979 #1 hit (for 6 consecutive weeks) "My Sharona", principally written by Fieger (guitar solos composed by Berton Averre), was known as "The Song That Killed Disco" (I've done a feature on the song on Citizen K's Just A Song blog here). The Knack were part of a movement back to straight-ahead Rock & Roll that happened on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, starting with Punk in the late '70s and moving on to New Wave. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, Elvis Costello. Patty Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie, Talking Heads... That was a great time in popular music, and Doug Fieger put The Knack firmly in that pantheon of gods who put Rock & Roll back at the top where it belonged.

Fieger came from the Detroit area, and was playing in bands starting in high school. In fact, in 1970 and 1971 Fieger played bass and sang lead in the group Sky, which was founded by producer Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones, Traffic, Blind Faith) when Fieger was still in high school. He continued to play in bands and even did some producing before forming The Knack in 1978. He'd moved to California by that time, and The Knack was playing in LA area clubs like Whiskey A Go-Go and The Troubador when they were discovered and signed by Capitol Records.

Rather than go into a long retrospective of Doug's career, I just want to post some videos from the early days of The Knack, all live performances. This, more than anything else, shows who Doug Fieger was and what he was all about.

Of course, the first video has to be "My Sharona"; this performance looks to be from the mid '80s.

Next is "Good Girls Don't", a very Beatlesque tune.

"Let Me Out", a nice, hard-driving tune perfect for getting audiences all worked up!

And finally, "Frustrated". a perfect example of Doug's vocal theatrics.

Good-bye Doug. You'll be sorely missed, but at least you left us a legacy we can enjoy for a long, long time.

Text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. .....!?! Pushing jaw back up...egads! Too young, I say and he will be missed, sir :(

    Nice tribute here, as well...

  2. I'll bet these guys were naturals for the SoCal club scene.

    I sometimes forget that there was a time when Elvis Costello was unpretentious, lyrically interesting, and musically fun.

  3. They weren't a group I listened to, but I definitely knew of them.

  4. To tell the truth, I thought they were one hit wonders but I can't tell you the number of times "My Sherona" gets the punters shakin' their tail feathers. Interesting choice of music for an old hippy? Nevertheless 57 is too young to die. God I'm 53 . . .

  5. R.I.P. And,yes,too young (My Age!)

  6. One of my pals recorded with him once. He was very sad. (My pal, that is.)

  7. thanks for sharing the news....hadn't heard

    too young, so sad

    gosh the knack, haven't listened to them in eons, they just well, had such a knack!

    rest in peace doug....thanks....

  8. Lovely tribute and thank you for introducing him to me.


  9. surprised i know more that my sharona...a nice tribute and may he rest in peace...

  10. Now I can't get My Sharona out of my head. Godspeed, Doug.

  11. Ugh. I'd not heard of this. That sucks.