Buckner & Garcia was an American musical duo consisting of Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia from Akron, Ohio. Their first recording was made in 1972, when they performed a novelty song called “Gotta Hear the Beat”, which they recorded as Animal Jack. Later, in 1980, they wrote a novelty Christmas song titled “Merry Christmas in the NFL”, imagining sports journalist Howard Cosell as Santa Claus. The recording was credited to Willis the Guard (a character performed by Atlanta radio personality Bob Carr) and fictional group Vigorish. The song reached No. 82 on the Billboard charts but received solid airplay each Christmas for many years. In 1981, the duo wrote a faith-based country theme to back the poem “Footprints in the Sand”, performed by Edgel Groves which reached #1 on many Country and Easy Listening radio stations. The duo also produced an extended version of the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song released on MCA Records in 1982.
However, the duo is best known for the song “Pac-Man Fever”, released in 1981 on a local record label, BGO Records. Shortly after the duo signed a record deal with Columbia/CBS Records and the record was released nationally. An album of the same name quickly followed based entirely of video game songs. The single and album both received gold records for combined sales of over 2 1/2 million copies worldwide.
Capitalizing on the video game craze of the early 1980s, the song, about the classic video game Pac-Man, peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in March 1982.
That same month, it was certified Gold by the RIAA for over one million units shipped to retailers; the single sold 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982, and 2.5 million copies in total as of 2008. VH1 ranked it at number 98 on their list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.
A follow-up release in May 1982, “Do the Donkey Kong”, just missed the Billboard chart, ranking number 103.
This song was featured in the South Park episode “Splatty Tomato” as well as the Family Guy episode “The D in Apartment 23”, both aired in 2017.