Yesterday in 1980, Namco released Pac-Man, which popularized arcade gaming for the masses and gave Buckner & Garcia their 15 minutes. Which makes it a fine time to look back at one of our (many) favorite ’80s one-hit wonders.
Good news: You’ve got a hit single and you’re going on national TV. Bad news: It’s Solid Gold and “Pac-Man Fever”. (Although, to be honest, the latter two were very big deals at the time.)
B&G’s Wikipedia entry has some interesting info:
…in 1980, they wrote a novelty Christmas song titled “Merry Christmas in the NFL”, imagining Howard Cosell as Santa Claus. Performed under the pseudonym Willis the Guard & Vigorish, the song reached No. 82 on the Billboard charts despite limited airplay after Cosell found the song offensive….The duo also wrote the lyrics for extra verses of an extended version of the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song in 1982.
However, the duo is best known for the song “Pac-Man Fever“, which became a large novelty hit in 1982, peaking at No. 9 in the United States. It earned a million-selling Gold-certified 45. Later the same year, after the song became a hit, the duo signed a record deal with Columbia/CBS Records. According to interviews, the duo never wanted to become a novelty act known for songs based on video games, but when it signed with the label, the company insisted on a full album of video-game songs, although the duo had intended to write a more varied collection of pop music.
Just when I thought I couldn’t love them more, I learn about the Cosell and WKRP work.
While Garcia is currently dropping quarters at The Big Arcade in the Sky, in 2011 Buckner went on to write the “Pac-Man Fever” homage, “Wreck-It, Wreck-It Ralph!” for the 2012 Disney film. A brilliant addition to the movie, the song was credited to Bucker & Garcia (as no one would have known who Buckner & Houston were).
22 May 2016