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The Knack's Doug Fieger dies at 57

February 15, 2010 | 11:24 am

The Knack was formed in 1978 and soon signed with Capitol Records. Fieger co-wrote 'My Sharona,' which was a No. 1 hit for six weeks in 1979. The tune was inspired by a former girlfriend.


Doug Fieger, leader of the Los Angeles-based power pop band the Knack who co-wrote and sang on the 1979 No. 1 hit "My Sharona," has died. He was 57.

Fieger's sister, Beth Falkenstein, said he died Sunday at his home in Woodland Hills. He had cancer.

"My Sharona" was No. 1 for six weeks. Fieger said the song was inspired by a former girlfriend.

"He was an extraordinary lover of all things popular culture," Falkenstein said of her brother. "He was an eternal pop teenager but highly intellectual and intense."

Doug Lars Fieger was born Aug. 20, 1952, in Detroit and grew up in suburban Oak Park, Mich.

After graduating from high school, he went to England to record two albums with the group Sky, his sister said.

The group broke up after moving to Los Angeles. The Knack was formed in 1978 and soon was discovered on the L.A. club scene and signed with Capitol Records.

In its brief moment in the sun, the Knack put the phrase "power pop" into the musical lexicon for its compact, hook-filled, guitar-based rock songs that recalled the sound of the '60s British Invasion bands, particularly the Beatles and the Kinks.

Their signature white shirts and skinny black ties and vests became a hallmark of the New Wave music scene, which distinguished itself from punk with catchier songs and less overt anger at the political and musical establishment.

Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn, writing in 1979, said the best songs on their debut album "Get the Knack" were "classics of their kind. They reflect perfectly the intense teen emotion that was at the heart of early rock."

--Times Staff Reports

Read more: Doug Fieger dies at 57; leader of the L.A. band the Knack sang 'My Sharona'

Photo: The Knack:  Doug Fieger, left, Berton Averre and Prescott Niles. Credit: Smile Records