Can't Put a Price on Love

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"Can't Put a Price on Love"
Single by The Knack
from the album ...But the Little Girls Understand
B-side "(Havin' A) Rave Up"
Released March 1980
Format 7"
Genre Rock, new wave, power pop
Length 3:36
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Doug Fieger, Berton Averre
Producer(s) Mike Chapman
The Knack singles chronology
"Baby Talks Dirty"
(1980)
"Can't Put a Price on Love"
(1980)
"Pay the Devil (Ooo, Baby, Ooo)"
(1981)

"Can't Put a Price on Love" is a 1980 song written by Doug Fieger and Berton Averre. It was originally released by American pop group The Knack on their second album, ...But the Little Girls Understand. It was the second song from that album that was released as a single, reaching #62 on the Billboard Hot 100, falling short of the performance by its preceding single, "Baby Talks Dirty", which reached #30 in Cash Box and #38 in Billboard.[1][2] Overall, it was the fourth single which The Knack had released, and was the first such release which did not reach the Top 40.[3]

Lyrics and music[edit]

In his scathing review of ...But the Little Girls Understand, Rolling Stone Magazine critic Dave Marsh wrote "All of Fieger's lyrics finally boil down to one sentiment: f*** me, honey. (When he's feeling ambitious, he writes something like 'Can't Put a Price on Love,' which translates: f*** me for free, babe.)"[4] The Sydney Morning Herald was kinder, noting that the song provided a slower contrast to the faster songs on ...But the Little Girls Understand, and that there was "a kick in the lyrics," i.e.,[5]

You smoked me like a cigarette
I was burning, I was cast aside
Now you knew what you couldn't get
So you settled for my pride.

Other critics commented on the similarity between "Can't Put a Price on Love" and the 1978 Rolling Stones' song "Beast of Burden".[6][7] Jim Sullivan of the Bangor Daily News claimed that "the guitar line from 'Can't Put a Price on Love' is nicked directly from the Stones' 'Beast of Burden.'"[8] However, in an interview, Fieger denied that the song is an homage to "Beast of Burden," stating "The reality to that is that it was a homage to any number of Steve Cropper songs which 'Beast of Burden' was a homage to."[9] Fieger has acknowledged that, like many songs on The Knack's first two albums, "Can't Put a Price on Love" was written about the same Sharona Alperin who inspired "My Sharona".[10]

Other appearances[edit]

"Can't Put a Price on Love" was first released in February 1980 on the album ..But the Little Girls Understand, and then as a single in April 1980, as a follow-up to "Baby Talks Dirty." Subsequently, "Can't Put a Price on Love" was released on several Knack compilation albums, including The Retrospective: The Best of The Knack (1992), Very Best of The Knack (1998) and Best of The Knack (1999).[11] The version which was released on Very Best of The Knack was the single edit rather than the original album version.[12]

"(Havin' a) Rave Up"[edit]

The B-side of the "Can't Put a Price on Love" single was "(Havin' a) Rave Up," which had also been released on ...But the Little Girls Understand, and also was written by Fieger and Averre. "(Havin' a) Rave Up" was written well before ...But the Little Girls Understand and was included in the band's live set even before their first album Get the Knack. Live performances of "(Havin' a) Rave Up" were included on the live LaserDisc of The Knack's 1979 concert at Carnegie Hall, The Knack Live at Carnegie Hall, and on a live CD of the band's 1978 concert in Los Angeles, Havin' a Rave Up.[13][14] Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone Magazine claimed that the song was based on cliches from The Beatles and Buddy Holly.[4] The Sydney Morning Herald claimed that the song was "more than a nod to Elvis."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "...But the Little Girls Understand Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Lazell, B. (1989). Rock Movers and Shakers. Billboard Publications. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-8230-7608-6. 
  3. ^ "The Knack Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Marsh, D. (3 April 1980). "...But the Little Girls Understand". Rolling Stone Magazine. 
  5. ^ a b "Chance for You to Get the Knack". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 February 1980. p. 50. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  6. ^ High Fidelity (Audiocom) 30 (1-6): 100. 1980. 
  7. ^ O'Connor, R, (16 February 2010). "Ten Things To Remember About The Knack". Yahoo!. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, J. (31 March 1980). "The Knack Are 'Blatant Imitators'". Bangor Daily News. p. 47. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Dominic, S. (15 February 2010). "Doug Feiger: He had the Knack - excerpts from unpublished interview, part 1". Clarity Digital Group. 
  10. ^ Michaels, R. (2005). Flashbacks to Happiness: Eighties Music Revisited. iUniverse. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-595-37007-8. 
  11. ^ "Can't Put a Price on Love". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Erlewine, S. "Very Best of the Knack". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Live at Carnegie Hall". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Havin’ a Rave-Up! Live In Los Angeles, 1978". allmusic. Retrieved 24 April 2012.