It’s Throwback Thursday on byteclay.com and this week’s photo was sent in to us by Prescott Niles, bassist from the band, The Knack, who had numerous hit records in the late 1970’s. The band’s first album went multi platinum and upset the disco trend that had taken over the airwaves.
The Knack founding members are Niles, Doug Fieger, Berton Averre, and Bruce Gary. Fieger passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2010, after battling recurring brain tumors, that metastasized from the lung cancer he had been treated for two years earlier. Gary passed away in 2006 after a long struggle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
They initially formed in May 1978 and played their first show at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip one month later. They came along at the right time and became the next big thing in the music industry. The famous Troubadour in L.A. which had become a disco dance hall, was now opening it’s doors to sell out crowds for a live performance by The Knack. They became a huge draw for the L.A. club scene.
In 1978, record companies were fighting over who would sign the band. Capital Records eventually won and Mike Chapman, signed on as producer. Chapman had been a song writer and member of the band, Sweet, who had a successful career with number one records for Blondie and several other bands of that era.
Once in the studio, it took only eleven days and $17,000 to record, “Get the Knack”. The album flew off the shelves and went Gold in just 13 days. Seven weeks later, the album went Platinum and is one of the fastest to go gold/platinum for a debut album in all time.
A single off the album, “My Sharona”, entered the Hot 100, in June of 1979, and reached number one nine weeks later in August, where it remained for six weeks. Today, it still is considered one of the biggest selling singles of the rock era.
In 1994, “My Sharona’s” popularity was reaffirmed when the song re-entered the Hot 100 after appearing on the soundtrack for the hit movie “Reality Bites”. “My Sharona” became only the tenth former #1 hit to chart again. It also prompted a tour of 32 cities. Although the band had not recorded any new material to offer their audience, the response was phenomenal.
The band’s second album, “But the Little Girls Understand”, was released eight months after the first, and was recorded in two weeks. It immediately went gold and sold two and a half million copies. From the album came another Top 40 single, “Baby Talks Dirty”. Following the album the band released another single, “Can’t Put a Price on Love”, and two Grammy nominations.
In late 1981, he band’s third album, “Round Trip”, was released. There was a media storm for the single, “Pay the Devil”, along with a club tour, but the opinion makers had taken it’s toll on the band. Three week’s in to their tour, the band broke up.
Examiner spoke with Prescott Niles via telephone, from his home in Los Angeles.
Amy Nachbar: You exploded onto the music scene. What have you been doing since The Knack split?
Prescott Niles: I’ve been playing with a few bands, “Missing Persons” in particular with Dale Bozzio. We’ve been playing out pretty regularly. Bozzio is the only original member left in the band and she’s from Medford, Massachusetts.
I also have a three piece band with Micki Free, a blues and classic rock guitarist, in the style of Jimi Hendrix. Free won a Grammy award for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture.
Sometimes I’ll play with a “Classic Rock All Stars Band” with one of the members of Steppenwolf.
My three children, Noa Niles, Liv Niles, and Gabriel Niles, formed their own band with their friend Blues Williams, “Gateway Drugs”, and play around Los Angeles. I’m a proud father.
The Knack will never be forgotten.