When it comes to power pop in the 1980’s your starting points are usually The Plimsouls, The Beat and The Knack. Guitarist and singer Doug Fieger teamed up with drummer Bruce Gary, bassist Prescott Niles and guitarist Berton Averre to form The Knack in 1977. They played clubs all year and built up a huge following, including famous fans like Tom Petty, Stephen Stills and Bruce Springsteen. When the record companies came calling it was only a matter of time before “My Sharona” became the biggest single of 1979 and The Knack put on top so fast, Get The Knack spent 5 weeks at #1 and is one of the most successful debut albums in history. But the backlash was almost as swift. But after the death of John Lennon, the band felt it had more to say, and The Knack had a comeback of sorts in 1989. Thanks to the folks at Omnivore Records these final album have been remastered and expanded for 2015.
Reuniting with drummer Terry Bozzio, Fieger and Averre were re-energized on Zoom. The songwriting was the tightest since Get The Knack, and “My Sharona” charted again thanks to the film Reality Bites. Starting with “Pop Is Dead,” it dramatically tells how the band’s fame “burst your bubble.” “Can I Borrow A Kiss” and “Smilin’” are shimmering examples of power pop, “Ambition” stands out as a single that’s as good as their debut, and even when the band moves into more mature pop like “Everything I Do” its the brilliant songwriting that makes this entire album a keeper.
“Normal As The Next Guy”
While not as consistent as Zoom, the bands last studio album still has some gems; “Disillusion Town” is pretty much the emotions of a band that knows it’s not bound to “top of the charts” again. The sense of resignation on some songs is apparent, but the ballads are what stand out like “Girl I Never Lied To You” and “Reason To Live.” A very touching Beach Boys homage “The Man On The Beach” (written by guitarist Berton Averre) is another big standout. Normal as the Next Guy shows us a glimpse of what a mature Knack sounded like.
“Live from the Rock ‘N Roll Fun House”
This clean sounding concert documents just how important the Knack were in the evolution of millennial guitar pop music. The singing and playing are perfectly done, sounding as fresh as it did when Get The Knack first rolled out.. It features a treasure trove of songs from the bands earlier albums and sets great example of a band going out “on top.”