Doug Fieger, frontman of the Detroit new wave/rock band The Knack, died earlier this morning of cancer, at age 57, according to his brother, attorney Geoffrey Fieger. He had been battling both brain and lung cancer since 2004.
Fieger and The Knack were best known for their 1979 hit, “My Sharona,” which became the most popular song of 1979 and made them famous.
Fieger and bandmates Berton Avarre, Prescott Niles, and Bruce Gary became The Knack in 1978, and their power pop and new wave sound stood out amidst the heavy metal and punk sound of the late ’70s and early ’80s. At the time, the quartet’s sound was compared to early Beatles records.
“My Sharona,” based on a girlfriend of Fieger’s, was the first single off their debut album, “Get the Knack,” and remains their most popular song to date. The band released two more albums, “…But The Little Girls Understand” and “Round Trip” in the early ’80s, but after critical backlash and internal strife, the band separated in 1982.
The band would reform periodically throughout the following decades, but never again reached the critical height of “My Sharona.” Gary, the band’s drummer, didn’t join any of the recent tours, and since Fieger’s illness, only Averre and Niles tour as The Knack.
Fieger’s illness became notably apparent in 2006, when, during a concert, he became disoriented, and forgot the words to songs he’d been singing for years. He was then diagnosed with two tumors, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy before returning to touring.
Fieger’s brother said the family will likely issue a statement later today.
Below, The Knack performs “My Sharona” live.