Pac-Man turns 40 years old this month, and it’s safe to say he’s still got it. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he’s the still best-known video game character in the world (recognized by 94 percent of consumers), and he has spawned a cottage industry that’s included a Saturday morning cartoon show, a kiddie breakfast cereal, and a whole bunch of weird yellow stuff.
But most importantly, the little yellow fellow inspired one of the most successful songs of all time, Buckner & Garcia’s “Pac-Man Fever.” The boogie-rockin’ tune went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold a whopping 1.2 million copies; People magazine called it one of the top pop-cultural events of all time, and VH1 ranked it at No. 98 on its list of “100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ‘80s.” Now one-half of Bucker & Garcia, Jerry Buckner, and another one of his longtime musical collaborators, Mike Stewart, are celebrating Pac-Man’s big 4-0 with Pac-Man Fever: The Story Behind the Unlikely ’80’s Hit That Defined a Worldwide Craze, the first-ever Kindle E-book to contain music. (It comes with a secret link to the “Pac-Man Fever Vault,” a virtual treasure trove of audio artifacts for Pac fanatics to gobble up like power pellets.)
Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume, Buckner seems aware and perfectly at peace with the fact that his main musical legacy will always be tied to “Pac-Man Fever,” even though he had a successful career before and after that leftfield hit. (He’s never been one to disavow his video-game ties, even composing the title song for the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph in 2012.) He and Gary Garcia, who died in 2011, started playing together in high school and in the ‘70s launched a “pretty good little business” writing ad jingles. The irony is not lost on him that eventually he and Garcia broke through with what was basically a “three-minute, 49-second commercial for Pac-Man for 40 years.”
Bucker and Garcia met their destiny when they took a break from the studio during a jingle session to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant in Marietta, Ga., called Shillings. That’s when the magical yellow glow of a tabletop game machine caught their attention. “We could see it,” Buckner recalls of the early mania he witnessed at Shillings.
This article was originally published on yahoo.com/entertainment/.