Originally from Akron , Ohio , (Jerry) Buckner and (Gary) Garcia had their first musical success with a local rock group they formed called Wild Butter. Although signed to United Artists the band was only able to achieve regional attention.After the group disbanded the guys headed to Georgia where they enjoyed a successful run writing some of Atlanta’s more notable ad jingles.
By 1980 they were back to their roots writing and producing original songs and had their first Billboard chart record with a song called, “Merry Christmas In The NFL” featuring local radio personality Willis The Guard. That was followed by an adaptation of the beautiful poem, “Footprints In The Sand” that soon went #1.
Struck by the emerging video game fad in 1981, the two wrote and recorded Pac Man Fever as a tribute to the popular video game and shopped it around to various major labels. All the companies turned it down but Arnie Geller heard something he liked and released it on his independent BGO records. The song became an instant hit after airing on a local morning show. After selling over 10,000 copies in a week CBS decided to release the record nationally in December 1981 and within a month requested a full album. Buckner and Garcia set about quickly learning every popular arcade game they could. The album was completed in just two weeks. A rush of media coverage followed and both the single and album were a major hit; “Pac-Man Fever” sold over two and one half million copies and inspired a German-language version by Gerald Mann (titled, “Pac-Man Fieber”).
The year 1982 turned out to be a big one for the guys. They had not one but two records in the Billboard Top 100 at the same time. Racing up the charts behind “Pac-Man Fever” was, “The Theme To WKRP In Cincinnati”, the theme song for the popular TV show of the same name featuring Atlanta singer Steve Carlisle.
Their follow-up single, “Do The Donkey Kong,” made a good showing but they needed another major hit. They found it in a touching ballad called “E.T. I Love You”, a freshly recorded song inspired by the blockbuster hit movie. Unfortunately superstar Neil Diamond, also a CBS artist had recorded his own tribute song. To avoid a conflict CBS released Diamonds “Heartlight” while holding, “E.T. I Love You” for release until later that fall. The late release and lack of promotion doomed the record.
After negotiating a release from CBS Buckner and Garcia returned to Atlanta to pursue song writing and record production. Retro-fueled interest in video games prompted the duo to re-record the “Pac-Man Fever” album in 1999 for its first release on CD. The album was immediately embraced by fans continues to sell worldwide prompting People Magazine in 2010 to name “Pac Man Fever” as one of their top “pop cultural” events of all time.
The duo continued to write and produce songs together for a variety of projects and artists until Gary’s untimely passing in 2011.
In 2012 Jerry co-produced a song for the Disney movie “Wreck It Ralph” and is currently working on new material for a future album release as the Buckner Garcia Band.