Archive for The Knack

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Weird Al Yankovic

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Weird_Al_Yankovic

Madness had finally broken through to America and Frank Zappa put out a fantastic album but if there was any more proof needed to forward the belief that 1983 was a good year for humour in music, it would be the debut album of Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, since this year, many people would forever compare Weird Al with Frank on account of their love of humour. So much so, that twenty years after this album, Weird Al would have a track on an album that if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was Zappa himself. As for me though, it would only be the humour and the fact that both are true musical geniuses being the only things they have in common. They have totally different styles.

Hearing the tracks “Ricky” and “Stop Dragging My Car Around” on the radio in the spring of this year would convert me to Weird Al forever and I don’t care if people think I’m sad for it, (some do.) Those songs had me rolling on the floor in laughter and when I heard it, so did the self titled debut album. Nobody, now or then, does parody better than he does. What’s even more impressive is how he is able to adjust to the musical style of the song he’s parodying even if he sometimes does it with an accordion. That’s another amazing thing about him, no one else has been able to employ an accordion in rock songs the way he does.

On the debut album, the parodies come thick and fast. Not only do many of them take the piss out of classic songs, they are also parody other things. Take the two already mentioned. “Ricky” is obviously a parody of one hit wonder Toni Basil’s “Mickey” but it also parodies the old “I Love Lucy” show. Same with “Stop Dragging My Car Around.” Yes, it’s a humourous version of the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” but it also rips on the the culture of towing cars away. Other great ones are “Another One Rides the Bus,” which is a parody of a Queen classic and if you have ever ridden on a crowded bus, then you would appreciate the sentiments on this song. Others great parodies are “My Bologna” which pokes fun at The Knack’s “My Sharona and “I Love Rocky Road,” a dig at the famous Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song. However, not all of Weird Al’s songs parody other songs. Some are just simple digs about other things. “Buckingham Blues” makes fun of the Royal Family. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” is a dig at the hippy culture. Then there’s “Gotta Boogie,” let me just say this song has nothing to do with dancing. In any case, unless you have no sense of humour at all, and there are people out there who do, you can’t stop laughing out loud at the songs from this album. Weird Al proves to the world just how weird he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Ricky
  2. Gotta Boogie
  3. I Love Rocky Road
  4. Buckingham Blues
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Stop Dragging My Car Around
  7. My Bolgna
  8. The Check’s in the Mail
  9. Another One Rides the Bus
  10. I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead
  11. Such a Groovy Guy
  12. Mr Frump in the Iron Lung
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- accordion, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- bass

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rich Bennett- ukulele, banjo, guitar

William K Anderson- saxophone, harmonica

Joel Miller- bongos

Mike Kieffer- percussion

Dorothy Ramsen- harp

Tress MacNeille- voice of Lucy Ricardo on “Ricky”

Dawn Smythey, Zaidee  Cole, Joan Manners- backing vocals

Weird Al Yankovic, along with Frank Zappa of course, proved to the world in 1983 that humour and music could go together. The debut album from Weird Al continues to have me in stitches each time listen to it.

Next post: DNA- Party Tested

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

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Great? Rock Albums of 1980: The Knack- But The Little Girls Understand

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2013 by 80smetalman

Little_Girls_Understand

So far, when I have been throwing around the term “sophomore jinx,” I have referred it to acts who managed to escape it. Great rock acts like Boston, Pat Benatar and The Cars who put out equally good or better second albums after having impacted with a great debut album. Unfortunately for The Knack, they didn’t escape the sophomore jinx with their second album “But the Little Girls Understand.” My first experience of it was when I saw the album’s first single, “Baby Talks Dirty” on the juke box in my Enlisted Men’s club. Expecting great things, I played the song but even before the song had finished, I concluded that I had wasted my quarter. For that reason and all of the negative things I began hearing about the album, I never bought it. I remember that it was universally slammed as being a long way down from their debut “Get the Knack” album. One rock magazine later on in 1980 ran an article “Will The Knack End Up On the 99cent Rack?” And when they put out their third album in 1981, a friend remarked, “They dare put out another album.”

The other night, I finally got around listening to a few tracks on youtube and I have discovered that the second album from the album may not have been as bad as I have been led to think. True, “Baby Talks Dirty” is still the dirge I thought it was 33 years ago but some of the other tracks are ok, not great but ok. None of them really stick out for me however and what I find disappointing from the tracks I did listen to is there wasn’t one guitar solo from Berton Averre.

Track Listing:

1.Baby Talks Dirty

                                                                                                       2.  I Want Ya

3. Tell Me You’re Mine

4. Mr. Handleman

7. The Hard Way

8. It’s You

The Knack

The Knack

Berton Averre- lead guitar

Doug Fieger- rhythm guitar, vocals

Bruce Gary drums

Prescott Niles- bass

One great thing about having a fabulous debut album is that it greatly affects the sales of the second album. In spite of all the negativity directed at “But the Little Girls Understand,” it still went platinum and peaked at number 15 in the charts. While I have to agree that it was a long way down from “Get the Knack” it’s not as bad as I first thought. Maybe I will listen to it one more time and see if anything sticks out.

Next post: I am going to be away a lot for the next two weeks as I’m going on holiday. The first week, I’ll be in Torquay and no I won’t be staying at the Fawlty Towers and the second, I’ll be in Grimsby visiting the in laws. However, in between the trips, I will be going to Bloodstock and I can’t wait. If I can get on here before Bloodstock, the album I will cover will be “The River” by Bruce Springsteen.” If not, then in two weeks, you will get my account from Bloodstock.

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Knack- Get the Knack

Posted in 1979, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

I mentioned when I introduced 1979, that for three months of that life changing year, I was in a place where I was starved musically, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina or to quote the film “Full Metal Jacket,” home for the crazy brave. When I left that lovely place as a US Marine, I came home on leave and found that the song of the day was “My Sharona” by The Knack. When I listened to it, I thought it was a lot better than all the disco that was around before I went to boot camp and so I bought the 45. A friend played the entire album for me not long after and I must say that I was impressed.

“My Sharona” is by far the best song on the album and Berton Averre’s guitar solo on the song is very good indeed. It has always baffled me why he isn’t given more space to showcase his talents on other tracks on the album. That is not to say that the other tracks aren’t good, I especially like the second single “Good Girls Don’t” although I much prefer the lyrical version of the song not meant for radio and “Frustrated” is too a good song just because Averre plays a guitar solo on that one too.

“Get the Knack” was one of the fastest selling debut albums since the debut from The Beatles in 1964. Many began comparing them to the legends from Liverpool and I think that was the big mistake. Okay, there were similarities, but I never thought The Knack were that good. Most of their songs were short sharp rockers that you got into then got out of. It was as simple as that.

Track Listing:

1. Let Me Out

2. Your Number or Your Name

3. Let Me Out

4. (She’s So) Selfish

5. Maybe Tonight

6. Good Girls Don’t

7. My Sharona

8.Heartbeat

9. Siamese Twims (The Monkey and Me)

10. Lucinda

11. That’s What Little Girls Do

12. Frustrated

The Knack

Doug Fieger- rhythm guitar, vocals

Berton Averre- lead guitar

Doug Gary- drums

Prescott Niles- bass

In past posts, I have spoken about the Sophmore jinx and I will be mentioning that again when I visit The Knack’s next album. For debut albums, “Get the Knack” is one of the best. It’s a fun album that rides well on the back of a classic single and if there’s one good thing that can be said about it, it did knock disco off the charts.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Flirtin’ With Disaster

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyels book shop in London