Got a pocket full of quarters and I'm headin' to the arcade...
Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia were radio jingle writers in Atlanta in the early 80's when Pac-Man hit American arcades and became an overnight success. Like so many others they quickly became addicted to the title, and one day, in Buckner's apartment, they decided to pen an ode to their obsession. The song, Pac-Man Fever, would become one of the most unlikely hits of the 80's.
With the major record companies unenthusiastic about the song they initially released the single on local label Buie/Gellar records. After a local radio DJ played it on his morning show it became a hit, selling 10,000 copies in its first week.
The major labels immediately came-a-callin', and soon they had a deal with CBS Records. The deal stipulated, however, that they would have an entire album of videogame songs. In a month.
The duo quickly learned as many videogames as possible. Recalled Garcia: "We would pick a game out, write the song, and by the next day, we would be in the studio recording it." The quick pace resulted in 8 songs about the biggest
arcade games of the early 80's. The sound effects, which help make the songs instantly recognizable, had to be recorded live off of the machines.
The album was a huge success, selling over two million copies, and the single sold another 1.5 million. It was almost entirely responsible for CBS' music profits the first quarter of its release. There was even a German language version of the single, "Pac-Man Fieber."
Like most 80's fads the duo's success was short-lived. The second single, "Do the Donkey Kong", saw little success, and "E.T. I Love You", the follow-up not included on Pac-Man Fever, was not seen fit to be released as a single by CBS and was only sent to radio stations.
The band has been helped by the recent 80's nostalgia boom, and has rerecorded and rereleased Pac-Man Fever on CD. It can be purchased from www.bucknergarcia.com. Two other CDs, recorded but unreleased, are now available on www.mp3.com. Jerry Buckner is now a "Professional Narrator" and both continue to work in the radio business and record music.
All my money's gone so I'll be back tomorrow night...