Friday, February 18, 2011

19. The Knack - Round Trip (1981)

45 years, 45 LPs, 45 days...
Round Trip (1981)

The Knack got a raw deal.

Unless you were alive in the summer of 1979 you are probably unaware of just how massive The Knack were. Without question, The Knack were the hottest band on the planet in '79, with the biggest selling record of the year ("My Sharona").  The Knack was packaged and promoted by Capitol Records in a rather cheeky fashion as "the next Beatles", which definitely drew attention to the band's debut LP. It didn't hurt that their first single was fresh and catchy and an undeniable powerhouse.

Capitol's "new Beatles" strategy eventually backfired, due in part to the band's choice to adamantly deny press interviews. The result was a public perception that The Knack was too big for their britches, and that their success was somehow undeserved.  By the time of their second album, ...but the little girls understand (released on valentine's day, 1980), severe damage to the band's reputation had already been done.

1981: Sophomore and proud member of Edison
high school's elite library staff
After taking a short time to lick their wounds, The Knack returned on October 15, 1981 with the epic pop masterpiece, Round Trip. The record was produced by Jack Douglas, who had recently finished co-producing John & Yoko's Grammy-winning Double Fantasy (1980). I remember one reviewer writing something like:
"If Get The Knack was Meet the Beatles, then Round Trip is The Knack's Revolver."
 I have always believed that the amount of sophistication and growth achieved by The Knack in the short time between their 2nd album and Round Trip was astonishing.

7.5.03: Autographs from my 3rd and final Knack concert
Sadly, the hate campaign directed at The Knack (coldly dubbed "Nuke The Knack!") had achieved its goal of destroying whatever was left of the band's momentum, and Round Trip sunk swiftly upon its release. The band split shortly after being dropped by Capitol due to Round Trip's disappointing chart performance. Luckily for the fans the band reunited for good in 1991 to record the seriously fun Serious Fun. The band would release two more top-notch CDs before 2010, when Knack leader Doug Feiger succumbed to a long battle with cancer.

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