As far as I can remember it, that was the parody "letter to the editor" published in a mid-80s copy of the National Lampoon we had in the dorm room. I miss this kind of savage comedy today even if it took an unfair shot at Greg Kihn, whose career didn't really go nowhere. You might call him a "two-hit wonder" but that's not really accurate either. He wrote two songs you'll never forget, several other near-hits, and you probably also know his album titles were all puns based on his name.Dear Sirs,
Lookihn back, my career went fuckihn nowhere.
Workihn in a Burger Kihng
Greg Kihn was born in Baltimore, though came into his own after moving to the Bay Area. Having grown up amid the British Invasion, its not surprising to learn he would come of age in the first wave of Power Pop artists, though Greg was by no means a purist; he was a stylistic borrower who had no problem mixing in the odd 50s style ballad, folk-rock, reggae beats, soul covers, keyboard-driven dance pop, and Springsteen Lite to his pop-rock core. He was considerably more mainstream than Beserkley labelmates the Rubinoos or especially the Modern Lovers.
Kihn made a lot of records. Exactly one every year for 11 straight years, 1976 to 1986. The good stuff was generally pretty good, the less-good stuff wasn't awful, and most of it presumably sounded better on stage than on record, since until MTV came along and a string of "concept videos" made him a kind of star, touring was the only alternative to Burger King.
I was inspired to go back and listen to the Kihn Katalog due to my admiration for an odd non-single, "Madison Avenue Man" buried on Kihn's second album, GREG KIHN AGAIN. I like everything about this song: starts off as a bush-league "Day In The Life" cowbell-clanger, then suddenly springs to life with an irresistible chorus straight out of "Ricky Don't Lose That Number" and goofy lyric I guess pokes fun at the music biz "Let me touch your money with my Madison hands."
Kihn was also among a group of 70s artists who recognized Bruce Springsteen's burgeoning songwriting chops sooner than most. He covered "For You" (AGAIN, 1977) winning the Boss's own admiration and a BORN TO RUN outtake, "Rendezvous" (WITH THE NAKED EYE, 1979). The guy had taste.
"The Breakup Song" (ROCKIHNROLL, 1981) hit No. 15; and the danceable "Jeopardy" (KIHNSPIRACY, 1983) went all the way to No. 2, but couldn't beat "Beat It." Beserkley folded following 1984's KIHNTAGEOUS, but he Kihn-tinued under EMI with the the very 80s sounding and solo-credited CITIZEN KIHN (1985), then got the band together again for LOVE ROCK N ROLL (1986). The latter two appear to be whatever the streaming-era equivalent of "out of print" is although you can still find some videos online.
Kihn became a deejay and part-time horror novelist following his run on the pop charts, and a year ago put out a new record that may or may not prove they write 'em like that anymore, but to celebrate the harmless, punmaking, reliable rocker here's a playlist with one handpicked track from each of his 9 Beserkley platters in the 76-84 Kihn Dynasty.