Buckner & Garcia

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Buckner & Garcia, was an American musical duo consisting of Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia from Akron, Ohio. Their first recording was made in 1972, when they performed a novelty song called "Gotta Hear the Beat", which they recorded as Animal Jack.[1] Later, in 1980, they wrote a novelty Christmas song titled "Merry Christmas in the NFL", imagining sports journalist Howard Cosell as Santa Claus. Performed under the pseudonym Willis the Guard & Vigorish, the song reached No. 82 on the Billboard charts[2] despite limited airplay after Cosell found the song offensive. In 1981, the duo wrote a sentimental country theme to back the poem "Footprints in the Sand", performed by Edgel Groves. The duo also wrote the lyrics for extra verses of an extended version of the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song in 1982.

However, the duo is best known for the song "Pac-Man Fever", which became a large novelty hit in 1982, peaking at No. 9 in the United States.[3] It earned a million-selling Gold-certified 45. Later the same year, after the song became a hit, the duo signed a record deal with Columbia/CBS Records. According to interviews, the duo never wanted to become a novelty act known for songs based on video games, but when it signed with the label, the company insisted on a full album of video-game songs, although the duo had intended to write a more varied collection of pop music. They complied despite their misgivings and released the album Pac-Man Fever, consisting entirely of songs about arcade games.[4]

Band personnel[edit]

The rest of the duo's band consisted of Ginny Whitaker (drums), Larry McDonald (bass guitar), Chris Bowman (lead and rhythm guitar), Rick Hinkle (lead and rhythm guitar on "Pac-Man Fever", "Mousetrap" and "Goin' Berserk"), Mike Stewart (Moog synthesizer on "Mousetrap" and "Goin' Berserk"), and David "Cozy" Cole (syndrum on Pac-Man Fever). Steve Carlisle and Sharon Scott provided background vocals on "Pac-Man Fever".


The duo's intended follow-up to "Pac-Man Fever" was "E.T., I Love You", which, despite permission from Steven Spielberg, was shelved by the label in favor of Neil Diamond's unauthorized "Heartlight", which brought on a lawsuit. The song was never officially released by the duo until its 1999 album Now & Then (however, it was re-recorded and released without Buckner or Garcia's permission or knowledge by a group called the Starlight Children's Chorus on the album E.T., I Love You & Other Extra Terrestrial Songs for Children).[5][6] After they faded from the spotlight, they kept busy writing songs for other performers (for example, Anne Murray's 1985 hit "On and On" was written by Jerry Buckner) and commercial jingles. In 1986, they released a song about skateboarding, called "Loose in the Streets" (on the Atlanta, GA label Southern Tracks Records), which relies heavily on the second single from "Pac-Man Fever", "Do the Donkey Kong", musically speaking.

When the album Pac-Man Fever was re-released on CD in 1999, Buckner and Garcia were not allowed to access their original recordings from 1982, and Sony Music Entertainment refused to release the original album on CD. The re-release instead contains modern sound-alike re-recordings of all the songs. Furthermore, since the duo was unable to find a Mousetrap machine (or any of the home versions) from which to record game sounds, the re-recording of the relevant track instead featured sounds from real dogs, cats, and pigeons instead of game sounds. When the duo re-formed the band in 1999 to re-record Pac-Man Fever, Danny Jones became the group's drummer, Whitaker having died in the interim. Stewart returned as bassist; none of the other band members returned. The duo followed this up with Now & Then, an album released only through mp3.com that included four new songs (none based on video games but one based on Pogs), plus a new recording of "E.T., I Love You"; karaoke versions of both it and "Pac-Man Fever"; and an acoustic recording of the latter.

The pair continued to collaborate, including writing and performing on many original songs on the Waffle House jukebox, several of which were released on a pair of albums,[7][8] as well as voiceover work, with Jerry Buckner being the more visible member of the pair.

In 2007, Buckner wrote and released a solo album of instrumentals titled Somewhere in Time. In 2009, "Pac-Man Fever" ranked at No. 98 on VH1's "Top 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s" list. In early 2010, Jerry Buckner's friend, surrealist animator Yanni Osmond, licensed use of the songs, including "Hyperspace" and "Goin' Berzerk" for use in an upcoming cartoon called Living Evil. On June 10, 2010, the duo released a song titled "Keepin' the Dream Alive", with part of the proceeds being donated to aid the All-American Soap Box Derby in their hometown of Akron.[9]

On September 9, 2011, Buckner & Garcia revealed its new song on Whiskey Media's Big Live Live Show: Live 2, called "Found Me the Bomb", which is about the gaming Website Giant Bomb. The song was made after an interview in June 2011, in which Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia called in during a live Pac-Man tournament Giant Bomb was having. Ryan Davis jokingly said during a podcast that the duo should make a song about them and then to his shock one day he received an mp3 containing the new song. The song was distributed free on giantbomb.com and also appeared on the Rock Band Network.[10]

On November 17, 2011, Gary Garcia died at his home in Englewood, Florida from undisclosed causes.[11] Buckner later worked with Jamie Houston to write the song "Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph!" for the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph (2012); despite Garcia's death, the track was credited to "Buckner & Garcia".[12]

Albums and track list[edit]

Pac-Man Fever[edit]

  1. Pac-Man Fever (Pac-Man)
  2. Froggy's Lament (Frogger)
  3. Ode to a Centipede (Centipede)
  4. Do the Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong)
  5. Hyperspace (Asteroids)
  6. The Defender (Defender)
  7. Mousetrap (Mouse Trap)
  8. Goin' Berzerk (Berzerk)

Now & Then[edit]

  1. Do the Funky Broadway
  2. Pogwild (Pogs)
  3. It's Allright [sic]
  4. Hostage
  5. E.T., I Love You
  6. E.T., I Love You (Karaoke Version)
  7. Pac-Man Fever (Karaoke Version)
  8. Pac-Man Fever (Unplugged Version)

Now & Then (rerelease)[edit]

  1. Hostage
  2. E.T., I Love You
  3. Mr. T
  4. I Gotta Hear the Beat
  5. Loose in the Streets

Band members[edit]

Pac-Man Fever (1981‒1982)

  • Gary Garcia - lead vocals, guitar
  • Jerry Buckner - keyboards, background vocals
  • Chris Bowman - guitar
  • Larry McDonald - bass
  • Ginny Whitaker - drums
  • David "Cozy" Cole - syndrum (on Pac-Man Fever)
  • Rick Hinkle - guitar (on Pac-Man Fever, Mousetrap and Goin' Berzerk)
  • Steve Carlisle - background vocals (on Pac-Man Fever)
  • Sharon Scott - background vocals (on Pac-Man Fever)
  • Mike Stewart - Moog synthesizer (on Mousetrap and Goin' Berzerk)


  • Gary Garcia - lead vocals, guitar
  • Jerry Buckner - keyboards, background vocals
  • Chris Bowman - guitar
  • Mike Stewart - bass, keyboards
  • Ginny Whitaker - drums


  • Gary Garcia - lead vocals, guitar
  • Jerry Buckner - keyboards, background vocals
  • Mike Stewart - bass, guitar, keyboards, background vocals
  • Danny Jones - drums, background vocals

Wreck-It, Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

  • Danny Jones - lead vocals, drums
  • Jerry Buckner - keyboards, background vocals
  • Chris Bowman - guitar
  • Mike Stewart - bass, keyboards


  1. ^ "Gary Garcia | Buckner Garcia Pac-Man Fever". Bucknergarcia.com. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ Billboard Chart Beat Chat Archived February 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (April 5, 1982). "Time Magazine, 1982". Time.com. 
  4. ^ "June 2006 Jawbone Radio Interview". Jawboneradio.blogspot.com. June 28, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Track list and information". Stevexs.tripod.com. 
  6. ^ US (September 21, 2008). "Starlight Children's Chorus site". Profile.myspace.com. Archived from the original on June 21, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Review and Track List of the 1999 album ''Waffle House Jukebox Favorites, Vol. 1''". Hybridmagazine.com. 
  8. ^ Review and Track List of the 2001 album It's a Waffle House Christmas
  9. ^ ""Sales of "Keepin' the Dream Alive" to Aid the All American Soap Box Derby", Akron City News". Ci.akron.oh.us. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ Douglass, Owen (September 9, 2011). "Brand New Buckner & Garcia Track Debuts, Based on Giant Bomb". Ozone Entertainment. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  11. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 18, 2011). "Pac-Man Fever's Gary Garcia Passes Away". Gamasutra. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Wreck-It Ralph" Scores Big with Composer Henry Jackman, Plus Original Music from Skrillex, AKB48, Owl City and Buckner & Garcia - San Francisco Business Times". Bizjournals.com. September 13, 2012. 

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