Buckner & Garcia

Buckner & Garcia are the team behind the 1982 novelty hit "Pac-Man Fever," a Top Ten single that became a ubiquitous pop culture phenomenon. In 1981, Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia were living in Atlanta, writing ad jingles, and doing voice work for radio. Struck by the emerging video game fad, the two wrote and recorded a tribute to the king of the arcade and shopped it around to various major labels. There were no takers, but the song was released locally and became an instant hit after airing on a morning show. Brisk sales followed and CBS decided to take a shot; they requested a full album within one month's time and Buckner & Garcia set about quickly learning every popular arcade game they could. Since sampling technology was unavailable, most of the album's video game sound effects were recorded in public, directly off the machines. After a bit of national media coverage, both the single and album broke in a major way; "Pac-Man Fever" sold over two million copies, accounted for most of CBS's profits that quarter, and even inspired a German-language version by Gerald Mann (titled, naturally, "Pac-Man Fieber"). The follow-up single, "Do the Donkey Kong," wasn't nearly as successful; feeling that the duo had run their course, CBS declined to issue their 1983 song "E.T. I Love You" as a single, offering it to radio stations only despite a favorable response from Steven Spielberg. Buckner & Garcia returned to Atlanta and rejoined the radio business; they wrote and recorded several more novelty ditties over the years, and began selling them as the self-produced album Now and Then off their website around the turn of the millennium. Retro-fueled interest in early video games also prompted the duo to re-record the Pac-Man Fever album for its first release on CD. ~ Steve Huey

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