Pac-Man Fever Forever

Other Versions

Although Buckner and Garcia are the writers and original recording artists, they are not the only ones to record the song. Below is a list of other versions I am aware of. (Note that the Buckner & Garcia versions mentioned on the records page are not currently listed here.) I hope to provide a short clip of each in the future.

Versions by Buckner & Garcia

Puc-Man Fever (Buckner & Garcia)

Japanese single (click for larger version)
Japan (courtesy Edd Burns)

Buckner and Garcia recorded a special version of the song for Japan, where Pac-Man had originated and was known as PuckMan (or Puc-Man), called "Puc-Man Fever." In it, only the name Pac-Man was changed to Puc-Man; all the rest of the lyrics and music were the same. However, this did also require new backing vocals during the chorus and it sounds like a completely different set of back-up singers were used.

Pac-Man Fever Unplugged (Buckner & Garcia)

Now and Then

"Pac-Man Fever Unplugged" was recorded for the nationally syndicated radio program Retro Rewind in 1998. It later appeared on Buckner & Garcia's follow-up album to the 1999 Pac-Man Fever CD, Now and Then, which was released in November 1999. This version of the song features Gary Garcia accompanied by a couple guitars and without backup vocals or Pac-Man sound effects. The album contained both the regular and karaoke versions of the song and was sold via the original MP3.com. Sadly, it's no longer available. (A new album with the same name was relased in 2009 as an MP3 download, but it does not contain any version of "Pac-Man Fever.") The unplugged version was also available for listening as a RealAudio file on Buckner & Garcia's web site for a while.

Pokémon Fever (Buckner & Garcia)

Yes, Buckner & Garcia attempted to cash in on the Pokemon craze for Pac-Man Fever's 20th anniversary. They simply changed the lyrics of "Pac-Man Fever" to come up with this song and used the music from the 1999 re-release. It was listed as being available for sale on CD from their web site for only a brief time in early 2000 (possibly starting as early as November 1999). The CD was supposed to have both "Pokémon Fever" and "Pac-Man Fever" plus karaoke versions of both songs on it for $6.99 plus shipping and handling. However, I've since found a forum post quoting Buckner as saying, "We did temporarily record a version of Pac-Man Fever with Pokemon lyrics as a promotion a few years back but it was never released commercially due to licensing issues." [source].

When the Pokémon Go craze hit in 2016, the song was released for a time on YouTube with two different videos. However, Buckner was never satisfied with it and eventually removed it.

Pac-Man Fever (Eat 'Em Up) 2015 (Buckner & Garcia feat. Jace Hall)

Now and Then

"Pac-Man Fever (Eat 'Em Up) 2015" was created the same time the movie Pixels was released, debuting July 20, 2015. Jerry Buckner and Danny Jones took the late Gary Garcia's vocals and remixed them. This version of the song is driven by a powerful drum beat and Jones did new backup vocals. This remix also combined the song's verses with portions of the remix done by Jace Hall back in 2012 with Buckner's blessing. Portions of Hall's rap now form a rap break near the song's end. Initially available on Amazon.com and iTunes, the song was offered as a free download at www.pacmanfevereatemup.com for joining the Buckner & Garcia mailing list just two-and-a-half weeks later.

Just four days after the song's debut, a lyric video came out. The very next day, a new video created by Steelhouse Productions was released. This video featured clips from "Pac-Man The Movie," a six-minute fan film Steelhouse created in 2012 with new renderings of Pac-Man and the ghost monsters singing the song.

Covers

Pac-Man Fever (country version by Edgel Groves)

This version of the song was actually blessed by Buckner and Garcia in 1982. Someone thought a country version would be a good idea, so the duo asked their friend Edgel Groves, who had recorded their song "Footprints in the Sand" a couple years earlier, to record it. But when CBS found out, they put the kibosh on it, worried it would eat into sales of the original song. The recording still managed to be pressed as a 45 by Starstuck Records with an instrumental version on the B side. It seems to be very difficult to find today. However, it's available for download in the Pac-Man Fever Vault (see the Links page).

Pac-Man Fever (Beachwood All-Stars)

Tune Up with the Hits

This version of the song is covered by the Beachwood All-Stars. It appears on Linda Fratianne's workout album, Tune Up with the Hits, which was published by CBS Records in 1982. According to the cover, Fratianne was a silver medal winner at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The album includes a book of workout moves for each song. The song is not really suited for general listening, as it has voice overs from Fratianne prompting the various workout moves.

Pac-Man Fever (Jenson Publications)

The Glory of America

Jenson Publications produced marching band arrangements of popular songs. They also released albums that acted as samplers of the songs twice a year (I believe). So it is that Marching Band '82 has their less-than-two-minutes arrangement of "Pac-Man Fever." Of note is that, special for this arrangement, they offered a "Pac-Man Cassette" featuring sound effects from the arcade game to be played during the song. While I've managed to get the marching band sheet music, I've never seen one of these cassettes. It appears they have been bought by Hal Leonard Corporation at some point.

Rock Medley (Jimmy Osmond)

The Glory of America

On The Glory of America from 1983 by Donny and Marie, the Osmond Brothers, and Jimmy, is this six-minute medley sung by Jimmy Osmond. About forty-five seconds of it is "Pac-Man Fever." This would later inspire another version by Derrick Bostrom (see below). This album was also released as a special limited edition under the name America Fest in 1984.

Pac-Man Fever (Today's Sounds)

Songs of Spiritual Uplift

This cover appears on Songs of Spiritual Uplift as Sung by Today's Sounds, which is actually a 7", four-song record (EP) released by the now defunct Amarillo Records in 1996. Today's Sounds is Derrick Bostrom, drummer for the Meat Puppets, and his friend Bruce Sandig. This cover was not inspired by the original Buckner & Garcia version, but by the bit used by Jimmy Osmond in a medley (see above). Bostrom says, "though it lasted for all of 45 seconds, it formed the basis for my arrangement. I still haven't heard the original, but the Jimmy Osmond version rocks my world."

You used to be able to order the EP directly from Bostrom for $4. But now you can download it for free! And in addition to the original four tracks, it also includes some demos, including one of "Pac-Man Fever."

Pacman Fever (Iron Butter)

For the Mysophiliacs cover

This grindcore group from New York included a cover of "Pac-Man Fever" on their 2006 7" EP, For the Mysophiliacs. Perhaps I just don't get it, but from what I was able to track down on the Internet, it sounds mostly unintelligible. Unless you like grindcore -- and if you don't know what it is already, you probably won't -- you're better off just avoiding it. The adjacent image of the cover is censored. As of April 2010, you could listen to the song on the Iron Butter Facebook page.

Pac-man Fever - Live at MarsCon 2005 (Worm Quartet & the Nick Atoms)

Unreleasable cover

Worm Quartet is a comedy synth punk band. It's fronted by a gent who goes by the name of Shoebox. He also happens to be the only member of the band. This album was released in 2007 as a limited edition given only to those that pre-ordered his album, Mental Notes. Unreleasable is an album of live performances and other tracks not intended for the regular album. The version of "Pac-Man Fever" on it is from a live performance at MarsCon 2005, backed by the Nick Atoms.

Shoebox was featured on VH-1's Totally Obsessed in 2004 for his love of all things Pac-Man, so performing this is a natural for him. The band lacked any of the arcade sound effects, so Shoebox performed them all vocally. This may or may not be to your taste, but the point is largely moot, as the album is out of print and very rare. However, you can here a snippet—just the intro, unfortunately—at Mad Music.com.

Pac Man Fever (Sprites)

Little Darla Vol. 25 cover

The new wave/indie pop group Sprites recorded their version of the song for Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 25: Endless Summer 2007-08 Edition, a sampler by Darla Records. It's also available for purchase as a download from Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere on the Internet. Or, as of April 2010, you can listen to it for free on Sprites' MySpace page. Note that the hyphen is incorrectly missing from the title.

Pac-Man Fever (Astrosmash)

Astrosmash PMF cover

In May 2008, Intellivision tribute band Astrosmash released a "single," for which their cover of "Pac-Man Fever" was the title track. They even made it a free download from their web site. This version features sound effects from the Intellivision version of Pac-Man, naturally, released in 1983 by Atarisoft rather than the original arcade version.

Pac-Man Fever (Knuckle Sandwich)

Knuckle Sandwich PMF cover

For the 2013 documentary, The King of Arcades, Knuckle Sandwich covered "Pac-Man Fever" in a punk rock style with the approval of Jerry Buckner. You can see them recording it with some commentary by Mr. Buckner on YouTube. They also made it a free download from their web site.

International

The following is my theory on the release of "Pac-Man Fever" internationally. Columbia/CBS released it themselves in many countries, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands. Where they didn't however, Atari licensed it to promote their release of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600. I base this theory primarily on the use of the art from the Atari 2600 Pac-Man manual on the 45 sleeves. In the only strictly English-speaking country Columbia hadn't reached (Australia), they simply released the Buckner & Garcia version. In others, Atari had local artists re-record it. Again, this is only my theory, but I'll bet somewhere out there is proof. It's also quite likely that there are additional international covers not yet listed here.

Finland: Pac-Man Kuume (Tuijamaria)

Pac-Man Kuume front Pac-Man Kuume back
Photos courtesy Ville Ranki

"Pac-Man Kuume" is the Finnish version, performed by Tuijamaria. This song was released on 45 in Finland. Ville Ranki brought this version to my attention and tells me the orange sticker in the picture says something like "sample record, not for sale." Tuijamaria completely recorded the song, but loosely simulated the video games sounds rather than using recordings of a Pac-Man coin-op.

"On Sydän Syrjällään" is the name of the B side song. In Ranki's words, "it's a love song title but I don't want to even try to translate it." Google Translate claims it translates as "It is frightened."

Germany: Pac-Man Fieber (Gerald Mann)

Pac-Man Feiber

This is a German version of Pac-Man Fever performed by Gerald Mann. It appears to have only been released as a single, as shown in the discography on Mann's official site. "Wie in alten Zeiten," meaning "As in Old Times," appears to be the song on the B side. I had never heard this version until someone finally uploaded the music video to YouTube in the mid-2010s. The music appears to have been re-recorded, but is very close to the sound of Buckner & Garcia's original version.

Philippines: Pac-Man Fever (Green Notes)

Pac-Man Fever (Philippines)

The Filipino version of "Pac-Man Fever" is, disappointingly, simply an English cover using the original instrumental version recorded by Buckner & Garcia. The singer even flubs a couple of lines and they left it in!

The song was released on a 45 single with credit to the Green Notes and a B side song called "Lift Off." As of 2015, I've only ever seen the 45 come up on eBay's U.S. site twice, and never with the original sleeve.

It was also released on the Filipino album Hooked on Disco — not to be confused with the U.S. version — from Warner Brothers Records where it's credited to the Echoes. However, amongst the other songs on the album are "Dance with Me," also credited to the Echoes, and "Wake Up in the Night," credited to the Green Notes. Both of these seem to be all female singers, so my current theory is they accidentally reversed the band credits for "Pacman Fever" [sic] and "Wake Up in the Night," meaning it really is the Green Notes who did "Pac-Man Fever."

Note that on the album they misspell "Pac-Man" as "Pacman," which is a common mistake. Oddly there is no copyright notice or date anywhere on the record album but I've seen a photo of the cassette that seems to have a 1983 copyright date.

For years, this page listed the album up in the regular Covers section because I'd missed the tiny print where it said "manufactured in the philippines." It was only in 2013 that I discovered this was not the American version of the album. My apologies for the years of misinformation.

Karaoke

As karaoke became a popular activity in bars and at parties, karaoke versions of Pac-Man Fever appeared. Of course, the original "karaoke version" would be the instrumental version available as the B side of the 45 and 12" club mix.

Songs to Make Your Mama Blush, Vol. 2

Songs to Make Your Mama Blush, Vol. 2 cover

This karaoke CD+G from Sound Choice (SKU #8927) includes "Pac-Man Fever." It's rather an odd choice given that half the songs on the disc feature explicit lyrics. A few of the other artists whose songs are on this disc are "Weird Al" Yankovic, Spinal Tap, Ben Folds Five, Bob and Tom Band, Tenacious D, and Da Vinci's Notebook. You can order it directly from Sound Choice. As best I can tell, it is identical to the karaoke version on the Stingray Music single below.

Stringray Music

Stringray has released the same version song "Pac-Man Fever" under multiple names. As best I can tell, the karaoke version is identical to the one on Songs to Make Your Mama Blush, Vol. 2 above.

Remixes

Pac-Man Fever Redux (Jace Hall)

Producer and online reality star Jace Hall did a hip-hop/dubstep remix of "Pac-Man Fever" for The Jace Hall Show in 2012. He was working with Buckner and Garcia when Mr. Garcia died, but completed it with Mr. Buckner's encouragement. Most of the song is new lyrics, but with Garcia singing the chorus. You can watch the video on YouTube and download the song from the Jace Hall SoundCloud page. Portions of this remix were later incorporated into "Pac-Man Fever (Eat 'Em Up) 2015."

Unrelated Songs

There's a small group of songs that, although might appear to be covers or otherwise related to "Pac-Man Fever", aren't.

Pac-Man Cleaver (Whimsical Will)

While you might thing this track, released c. 1982, is a parody, it's not. It's actually more of a story told with sound effects. Or as Will put it, it's "a montage of video game sound effects gone berserk." Most of them are indeed video game samples taken from the Pac-Man Fever album, but none of Buckner & Garcia's music is included. Thanks to Whimsical Will himself for answering my questions about it.

Pac-Man Fever (Cabrini Green featuring HB3)

While the song is named identically, neither the music nor the lyrics are Buckner & Garcia's. (The chorus starts, "Pac-Man Fever is bringing me down.") And this one's not appropriate for listening to with young ears present. You can find it at CD Baby or iTunes.

Pac-Man Fever (Common Enemy)

Another song by the name, but none of the original lyrics or music. Released in 2009 and available on iTunes.