Yesterday, I read that Doug Fieger, lead singer and songwriter for The Knack (and "My Sharona" fame) died from cancer. And it really bummed me out — and I wasn't sure why. I mean, The Knack has one good album. One.
But, in the summer of 1979, I was 13 years old (going on 14) — and had a job at my church and school doing janitorial and maintenance work, with my best friend at the time, Jim. We had to clean all the classrooms, cut the grass, re-varnish the gym floor, paint the stairwells, polish the floors in the church… that sort of stuff.
That summer (as I'm sure occurs with many 13 year old boys) we'd "discovered" that girls weren't as nearly icky as they used to be and we'd review the pros and cons of the girls we knew (where are you Michele Filachek?) and wondered about the smorgasbord of girls that awaited us when we started high school in September (not that we would really have the courage to, you know, talk to them…).
And if there is a better soundtrack to a hormonally driven young-teen-angst summer than "Get The Knack", I'd be pretty surprised. We'd had a cassette of it and played it relentlessly. And since we were the only ones around, we could play it as loudly as we wished and accompany it in our warbling teen-changing-voices. And there was something a little fun about cleaning the church while belting out the lyrics to "Good Girls Don't (But I Do)".
So yesterday I downloaded "Get The Knack", which I certainly hadn't listened to in 25 years and of course, I knew every lyric, every bass line, every place to put that little extra emotional emphasis and I was immediately back in the summer of 1979 painting the stairwell.
Stephen King ends the short story "The Body" (the basis for the film "Stand By Me") with the line "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
Yesterday, he was only off by a year.