Pac-Man Fever (song)

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"Pac-Man Fever"
Pac-Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia 1981 US vinyl A-side.jpg
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Buckner & Garcia
from the album Pac-Man Fever
B-side"Pac-Man Fever" (Instrumental)
ReleasedDecember 1981
GenrePop rock, novelty
5:51 (extended 12-inch version)
LabelColumbia/CBS Records
18-02673 (7-inch single)
44-02762 (12-inch single)
Songwriter(s)Jerry Buckner
Gary Garcia
Producer(s)Buckner & Garcia

"Pac-Man Fever" is a hit single by Buckner & Garcia. Capitalizing on the video game craze of the early 1980s, the song, about the classic video game Pac-Man, peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in March 1982.[1]

That same month, it was certified Gold by the RIAA for over one million units shipped to retailers;[2] the single sold 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982,[3] and 2.5 million copies in total as of 2008.[4] VH1 ranked it at number 98 on their list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

A follow-up release in May 1982, "Do the Donkey Kong", just missed the Billboard chart, ranking number 103.

This song was featured in the South Park episode "Splatty Tomato" as well as the Family Guy episode "The D in Apartment 23," both aired in 2017.

This song was also referenced in The Simpsons episode "A Tale of Two Springfields."


Buckner and Garcia were in the Atlanta area in 1981, recording TV jingles and other low-profile studio work. They were eating at a restaurant down the road in Marietta, and they saw other diners swarming around a brand new Pac-Man machine. The duo had never heard of the game before, but they waited their turn and played it too, and ended up playing for two hours straight. After that, they decided to write a novelty song about the game. Their manager shopped the song at radio stations nationwide, but no one wanted to play it. However, when they shopped it locally, WSTR (FM) in Atlanta decided to play it for fun on their show one morning. The station was bombarded with calls from listeners who begged to hear it again and again. This got the attention of CBS Records as well as other stations across the country, and the single hit #9 on the US Billboard charts in 1982.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Re-recorded album[edit]

In 1998, the duo was asked to record an unplugged version of "Pac-Man Fever" exclusively for the syndicated radio show Retro Rewind. In 1999, a re-recorded version of the album was released independently by Buckner and Garcia, which was released commercially through K-Tel in 2002. However, Buckner and Garcia could not obtain the original master recordings from Sony Music Entertainment, so the duo was forced to record new performances of the songs and recreate a lot of the sound effects either digitally or musically.

In honor of the release of the 2015 film Pixels, Jerry Buckner, and Danny Jones with Jace Hall, took the vocals from Gary Garcia's master recording, and created a new version called "Pac-Man Fever Eat Em' Up".

Related song[edit]

"Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a similar song in late 1981 called "Pac-Man", during the height of the game's popularity. It is based on The Beatles' song "Taxman." The song was released on the compilations Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes No. 4 and Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic.[13]


  1. ^ "Pac-Man Fever". Time. 1982-04-05. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  2. ^ RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Pac-Man Fever Archived 2015-09-04 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  3. ^ "Ode to Joystick". SPIN. SPIN Media. 20 (9): 86. September 2004. ISSN 0886-3032.
  4. ^ Turow, Joseph (2008). Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication (3rd ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 554. ISBN 978-0-415-96058-8. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  5. ^ Wiser, Carl (September 7, 2016). "Jerry Buckner Tells the "Pac-Man Fever" Story : Songwriter Interviews". Songfacts. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  7. ^ "Buckner & Garcia Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Cash Box Top Singles - 1982". 18 July 2007. Archived from the original on 18 July 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Talent in Action : Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 94, no. 51. December 25, 1982. p. TIA-20.
  10. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1982". 26 October 2014. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  11. ^ "American Top 40" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  13. ^ Barsanti, Sam (16 February 2017). ""Weird Al" Yankovic shares his unreleased Beatles parody about Pac-Man". The A.V. Club.

External links[edit]