Get the Knack
|Get the Knack|
|Studio album by The Knack|
|Released||June 11, 1979|
|Genre||Rock, new wave, power pop|
|The Knack chronology|
Get the Knack is the debut album by the Knack, released in June 1979. At the time, the album was one of the most successful debuts in history, selling over one million copies in less than two months and spending five weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. The lead single from the album, "My Sharona", was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and number one on Billboard's Top Pop Singles of 1979 year end chart. The follow-up single, "Good Girls Don't," followed "My Sharona" to #1 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and reached #11 in the U.S.
The Knack formed in Los Angeles in May 1978, and after shopping their demo tape to various record labels without success, the band began playing the local club circuit beginning in June, playing over 50 gigs in the next six months. The band quickly gained a following as word of mouth spread about their energetic shows and musicians such as Ray Manzarek, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen came to their shows and joined the group on stage. By December, thirteen record labels, including some that previously rejected them, were offering recording contracts and the group signed with Capitol Records in January 1979.
The album was recorded in just two weeks at a cost of only $18,000, an extremely quick and inexpensive recording at a time when many established artists were spending months and several hundred thousand dollars to record an album. The album was produced by Mike Chapman, who had written hits for Sweet in the early 1970s and most recently produced Blondie's breakout album Parallel Lines.
Release and reception
|Robert Christgau||B− |
|Rolling Stone||mixed |
Get the Knack was released in June 1979 and became an immediate success, thanks in part to an intense promotional campaign by Capitol Records. The Knack's image was largely influenced by the Beatles. The album cover imitates their first Capitol LP Meet the Beatles!, and the back cover photo depicts a scene from the Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night. To complete the Beatle imagery, the 1960s Capitol rainbow label adorned the LP, a detail the band had written into its contract. The album went Gold in just 13 days, becoming Capitol Records' fastest selling debut LP since Meet the Beatles in 1964. By August, the album reached number one on the Billboard 200, where it remained for five weeks, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for one million copies sold. The lead single, "My Sharona", also met with immediate success, becoming Capitol's fastest selling debut single since the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks.
Dick Nusser in Billboard praised many of the songs. Besides the big hits, he noted that the album opener "Let Me Out" is a "teen anthem delivered at full speed" with "delightful backing harmonies, singing, slapping guitars and perfectly tuned drumming," that the quiet ballad "Maybe Tonight" is "a potential standard," and that the pleading song "Oh Tara" indicates that The Knack "aren't strict girl haters." Nasser also called "That's What the Little Girls Do" a "classic," remarking on its "strong melody" and remarked on the Bo Diddley-like riff on "(She's So) Selfish."
Allmusic critic Bruce Eder retrospectively referred to the Knack's version of Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat" as "a ballad played with a lot of '70s attitude," and that "it does give a fresh take on the song." Trouser Press referred to "Maybe Tonight" as "bottom-of-the-barrel sap" but praised "My Sharona," "Let Me Out" and "Frustrated" as "tight guitar pop." Trouser Press also commented on the negative portrayal of the woman protagonists of "She's So Selfish," "Frustrated" and "That's What the Little Girls Do." Kurt Cobain listed it in his top fifty albums of all time.
Initial negative backlash
To many critics, the Knack's image seemed too contrived and their attitude too brash, and soon there was a backlash against their overnight success. San Francisco conceptual artist Hugh Brown, who had designed the Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope album cover, started a "Knuke the Knack" campaign complete with T-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers. Some music writers began to criticize the band for what they perceived as arrogance, hype and a misogynist attitude expressed in their songs. The band's refusal to do interviews was also viewed negatively by the music press. One entertainment weekly, Scene magazine, refused to publish a review of the Knack's concert in Cleveland due to what it called "attempts at censorship" by the band's management.
When the album was initially released on CD in 1989, the song "(She's So) Selfish" had vocals different from the original release, with lyrics like "coming from the quaalude scene" changed to "...lame'o scene". Capitol Records used a censored, alternate version of the track which was requested in certain countries.
The album was re-issued on CD in 2002 as a remastered version true to the original vinyl release. This version included bonus demos of "My Sharona" and "That's What The Little Girls Do," as well as a rehearsal take of "Maybe Tonight." It also included a cover of Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town outtake "Don't Look Back," which the Knack recorded in 1979 but was left off the Get the Knack LP, and a cover of Nick Lowe's "I Knew the Bride". A subsequent CD re-issue was remastered by Iconoclassic Records in 2011. Unlike the previous remaster, the 2011 release contains no dynamic range compression.
In April 2017, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released an audiophile version of the album on hybrid SACD. (MFSL is also expected to ship a 180-gram vinyl LP version later in 2017.) This release, like the 2002 Capitol and 2011 Iconoclassic versions, utilizes the original, un-censored mixes.
- "Let Me Out" (Doug Fieger, Berton Averre) – 2:20
- "Your Number or Your Name" (Fieger, Averre) – 2:57
- "Oh Tara" (Fieger) – 3:04
- "(She's So) Selfish" (Fieger, Averre) – 4:30
- "Maybe Tonight" (Fieger) – 4:00
- "Good Girls Don't" (Fieger) – 3:07
- "My Sharona" (Fieger, Averre) – 4:52
- "Heartbeat" (Bob Montgomery, Norman Petty) – 2:11
- "Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)" (Fieger, Averre) – 3:25
- "Lucinda" (Fieger, Averre) – 4:00
- "That's What the Little Girls Do" (Fieger) – 2:41
- "Frustrated" (Fieger, Averre) – 3:51
- The Knack
- Doug Fieger – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Berton Averre – lead guitar
- Prescott Niles – bass
- Bruce Gary – drums
|1979||Kent Music Report (Australia)||1|
|1979||"RPM" Album Chart (Canada)||1|
|1979||UK Album Chart||65|
|1979||"My Sharona"||Billboard Hot 100||1|
|1979||"My Sharona"||Kent Music Report (Australia)||1|
|1979||"My Sharona"||Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|1979||"My Sharona"||UK Singles Chart||6|
|1979||"Good Girls Don't"||Billboard Hot 100||11|
|1979||"Good Girls Don't"||Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|1979||"Good Girls Don't"||UK Singles Chart||66|
Bad Girls by Donna Summer
|Billboard 200 number-one album
August 11 - September 14, 1979
In Through the Out Door by Led Zeppelin
Breakfast in America by Supertramp
|Canadian "RPM" Album Chart number-one album
September 8, 1979 - October 13, 1979
Breakfast in America by Supertramp
The Very Best of Leo Sayer by Leo Sayer
|Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
September 3–16, 1979
September 24 - October 7, 1979
Slow Train Coming by Bob Dylan
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- Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (August 9–22, 1979): 25.
- Atkinson, Terry. "The Knack: yesterday...and today" Rolling Stone October 18, 1979: 32, 35-37
- Nusser, D. (July 28, 1979). "Closeup: Get The Knack". Billboard Magazine. pp. 52, 66. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
- Eder, B. "Get the Knack/...But the Little Girls Understand". allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- Robbins, I.; Sandlin, M. "Knack". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- "Top 50 by Nirvana [MIXTAPE]". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Cross, Gaar, Gendron, Martens, Yarm (2013). Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7603-4521-4.
- Hilburn, Robert. "A Knack on the Door for L.A. Rock" Los Angeles Times July 29, 1979: L1
- McKenna, Kristine. "Knack: A Dissenting View" Los Angeles Times July 29, 1979: L64
- Ed. "Live Wire" Scene October 11–17, 1979
- "CD Album - The Knack - Get The Knack - Capitol - USA". 45worlds. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "Get the Knack (Bonus Tracks)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
- Guterman, J. (2005). Runaway American dream: listening to Bruce Springsteen. Da Capo Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-306-81397-9.
- Borack, J. (2007). Shake some action: the ultimate power pop guide. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-9797714-0-8.
- "The Knack - Get The Knack (Numbered Hybrid SACD)". Music Direct. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- "RPM 100 Albums". Library and Archives Canada. September 8, 1979. Retrieved 2012-10-12.