“My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” by Chilliwack
(Words/Music: Bill Henderson and Brian McLeod, Album: Wanna Be a Star, Solid Gold Records 1981)
With the deep resonance of “Gone, gone, gone, she been gone so long” and its repetition throughout the song, Chilliwack created one of the most unique and memorable hooks of the 80s. Founded by Bill Henderson after the demise of The Collectors, they struggled to find mainstream success throughout the 70s due to numerous personnel changes and general lack of identity – they were a rock band which veered into prog-rock, blues, and hard rock, but lacked a distinctive sound. Even “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” is as distinctive in their canon as it was on the radio and MTV in the early 80s.
In a time when new musical instruments and technology were dominating the musical landscape, this song’s main hook comes courtesy of the human voice. (I am hard pressed to think of a song in which the voice plays such a significant role with the exception of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”). It seems oddly ironic that a band with such musical talent (listen to that guitar solo!) should find its greatest hit in a song remembered for its vocal performance. It also seems fateful that the band never attempted to repeat the harmonious mix in any of its other songs. Then again, that’s one of the problems that made them a one-hit wonder, albeit one with 30+ years experience.