My first notice of The Knack was seeing a picture in the NME British weekly of Bruce Springsteen joining the band on stage at a Los Angeles night club (October 17, 1978 at the Troubadour). They seemed to be making a splash on the West Coast, and Bruce reportedly was giving them one of his unreleased songs, “Rendezvous,” to record.
With the band on my watch, I caught the ad in the Village Voice and went to see them at uptown New York City nightclub, Hurrah. Pretty much unknown in these parts with no music yet released, they were the opening act for two different artists on a Friday and Saturday night.
They didn’t attract much of a crowd, and I remember enjoying them enough to be eager about hearing a record. I do recall that they opened their set with a different unreleased Springsteen track that I was familiar with through bootlegs, “Don’t Look Back.”
Billed as “Capital Recording Artists,” their debut album, Get the Knack, would be released on June 11, less than a month away. The rest is history. The record spent five weeks at #1 and the single “My Sharona” spent six weeks at #1. The next time they came to town, it was to play a much-balleyhooed gig at Carnegie Hall (October 13, 1979), a ticket to which required spending the night outdoors on line.
Yes, it was a bit snobby back then to not fathom their rapid success. However, all that record company hype making these poor guys the next Beatles did get ridiculous, and a lot of serious music fans gave up on them. But, while they weren’t the next Beatles, they didn’t need to be. They were just a darn good pop band that thankfully, in retrospect, most of us snobs, myself included, have come to respect and appreciate.
Now if I could only remember whether they played “My Sharona” when I saw them!