The Knack – My Sharona —Powerpop Friday

This song launched the Knack into temporary stardom and the song would last much longer than their stardom would. When they first came out I read some articles stating the kiss of death phrase “the next Beatles.” Their second album made it to #15 and after that their popularity declined.

Lead singer Doug Fieger wrote this song about a girl named Sharona Alperin (more of the full story is below in song facts) and they were together for around 4 years. Alperin was with Fieger the last week of his life; he died of cancer on February 14, 2010.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #6 in the UK, #1 in Canada and #3 in New Zealand… in 1979…. The album Get The Knack also peaked at #1 in 1979.

From Songfacts

The Knack lead singer Doug Fieger wrote the lyrics to this song, which is about a girl he fancied. Doug was in a long-term relationship when he walked into the clothing store where a high school student named Sharona Alperin (who had a boyfriend), was working. The age difference (he was about eight years older) and relationship status didn’t deter Fieger, who was immediately lovestruck. With his girlfriend looking on, he invited Sharona to a show. Not long after, he broke up with the girlfriend and professed his love for Sharona, creating a weird dynamic where he would come on to her even though she had a boyfriend who often attended Knack concerts with her. It got pretty heavy when Fieger started writing songs about her – they weren’t together when he composed “My Sharona.”

About a year after they first met, Sharona gave in and they started dating. She joined the band on tour and watched as the song Fieger wrote about her elevated them to stardom. The couple were together for about four years (and engaged at one point) before the rock and roll lifestyle and Fieger’s alcoholism became too much for Sharona, and they called it off. In the aftermath, Sharona answered questions about the breakup by saying that she needed to become her own Sharona, not someone else’s.

After a cooling-off period, Alperin and Fieger became friends.

In the US, this was the best-selling single of 1979.

Sharona Alperin became a high-end real estate agent in California, specializing in celebrity clientele. After the passing of Fieger, Alperin wrote on her website: “From the time Doug and I first met, both of our lives changed forever. It’s very rare for two people to have such an impact on each other. The bond we shared is something that I will treasure as long as I live, he will always have a special place in my heart.”

Doug Fieger wrote this song with Knack guitarist Berton Averre, who co-wrote many songs for the band with Fieger.

That’s Sharona Alperin on the cover of the single holding the Get The Knack album. She posed for the art even though she and Doug Fieger weren’t yet dating.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: “I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It’s just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy.”

The Chicago DJ Steve Dahl (of disco demolition fame) did a parody of this during the Iran hostage crisis, changing Sharona to “Ayatollah.” The single was a hit in Chicago, and The Knack sang it with Dahl at the International Amphitheater in 1980. 

This song returned to the UK singles chart in 2009, peaking at #59 thanks to its use in a TV advert for Oatibix.

This wasn’t the only song on the album that was about Sharona and Fieger’s feelings for her. The songs “That’s What the Little Girls Do” and “(She’s So) Selfish” were also inspired by her.

Sharona is a Hebrew name, which is how Sharona Alperin ended up with it – her parents sent her to Hebrew school. It’s also the name of a small area in Israel.

In America, it’s very uncommon; in the years leading up to the song only about 10 Sharonas were born each year. In 1980 though, about 70 American Sharonas entered the world, a spike attributed to this song.

The album version runs 4:52, but the single version was edited down to 3:58. The victim of this cut was Knack guitarist Berton Averre, whose much-admired solo was chopped.

Doug Fieger of The Knack was the younger brother of famed attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who defended Dr. Jack Kervorkian.

Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called “My Bologna.” It was the song that kickstarted his career in song parody and his first single.

Al (before he was “weird”) recorded a few song parodies as a high school student, including a takeoff on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” called “You Don’t Take Your Showers.” He sent some to the popular syndicated radio host Dr. Demento, who wrote back, informing Al that he had potential.

This potential was realized when Yankovic was a 19-year-old student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was studying architecture. He was a DJ on the school radio station, where “My Sharona” was the most-requested song. Many of Al’s parodies had to do with food, so he wrote one called “My Bologna” and recorded it in the bathroom across the hall from the station. He sent it to Dr. Demento, who played it on his show to wide acclaim, making #1 on his “Funny Five” countdown for two weeks.

When The Knack played a show at the college, Al went backstage and introduced himself as the man behind “My Bologna.” As Al tells it, Doug Fieger said he loved the song and introduced him to the vice president of The Knack’s label, Capitol Records, who was standing nearby. The Capitol exec signed Al to a deal to release the single, which they did, but with minimal effort: instead of re-recording the song they just issued Al’s bathroom version (in mono) and gave it little promotion. That was the end of Al’s association with Capitol, but he had success on other labels with “I Love Rocky Road” and “Ricky,” and hit paydirt with his Michael Jackson parody, “Eat It.”

“My Bologna” wasn’t the only parody of this Knack song. Others include “Ayatollah” by the radio personality Steve Dahl, and “Babylona” by the parody band ApologetiX.

Quentin Tarantino wanted to use this in Pulp Fiction during the scene where Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames are being set upon by Zed and his brother (and the chained submissive). Fieger ended up nixing the request and the song appeared in the 1994 movie Reality Bites instead. Stacey Sher, a producer who was working on both films, recalled why Fieger chose the gas-station singalong over the basement dungeon with The Gimp. “He loved the notion of this sweet moment commemorating the person that he always loved very much,” she said. >>

The song was produced by Mike Chapman and recorded at MCA Whitney Recording Studios in Glendale, California. Chapman, who had produced Blondie and Suzi Quatro, says he told the band it would be a #1 hit the first time they played it for him.

Run-D.M.C. used the guitar riff for their 1986 song “It’s Tricky.” The Rogue Traders UK #33 hit “Watching You” in 2006 was based around this song’s melody.

My Sharona

Ooh, my little pretty one, my pretty one
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run
Got it coming off o’ the line, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

Come a little closer, huh, a-will ya, huh?
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
Keeping it a mystery, it gets to me
Running down the length of my thigh, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona

When you gonna give to me, a gift to me
Is it just a matter of time, Sharona?
Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny
Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona

Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona
Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona
Ooooooo-ohhh, my Sharona

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “The Knack – My Sharona —Powerpop Friday”

  1. a good song that seems the ultimate musical “guilty pleasure”. I quite like it, but rare is the day I come across anyone who admits to liking it as well. Yet it was one of the biggest hits of the late-’70s, keeps showing up in movies and is a radio staple to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one song that anyone can play on drums and guitar…an easy one to do. It was hyped to death at the time. I noticed that and I was only 12 but yes I like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If any band could be said to have wholly sabotaged themselves it was the Knack. Their lyrics were at times repulsive and ridiculous, making it hard for me to really embrace them. Round Trip was a pretty good album, and they tempered the misogyny a little bit, but I guess by then it was too late.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, they did shoot themselves in the foot. The song I like best is Good Girls Don’t and I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics until later…and I thought wow.
      I liked their sound…but yea they pushed it too far.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You bring up a good point. It’s a wonder it hasn’t already…
      This is something you might like… It’s Sharona’s daughter interviewing her mom…she has a beautiful daughter…seems like a great family. I’ll send the link in the next comment.

      Like

      1. Idea of a movie about them is good…they had fans like Springsteen & ex-Doors helping them out when they got going. Had it all, then nothing…and all along Sharona is there for Doug. I’d watch.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The part that she was there when he died was touching….I would watch also.
        Dave that link I sent runsewread is pretty cool. Some good info.

        Like

      3. You are my contact to new music…thank you so much.
        Lovely song by John. Ringo did a great job.

        Lennon wrote “Nobody Told Me” for Ringo but after he died Ringo didn’t do it. I figured he would do that one….but this is cool. Lennon talked about this song in the 1980 Playboy interviews.

        Like

      4. Haha, I can’t believe our good luck that both Ringo and The Who are putting out new music at the same time. This one really touched me on first listen. I’ll look for the Playboy interviews.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. We are lucky they are releasing music and very good music from what I heard so far. I started to read my Full Moon book again for what is probably the 100th time after listening to the new songs…

        Oh here is what you can find of the interviews online…it’s not the whole interview but it’s cool…It’s 3 pages of it here.
        Again…I’m paranoid….I’ll send the link in the next comment.

        Like

    1. Yes it was hyped so much at the beginning also. I was 12 when it came out and I noticed the hype. I do like their sound and I have to admit the skinny ties I like also.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh…and the next single would get hit also… Good Girls Don’t…
      “She’s your adolescent dream,
      Schoolboy stuff, a sticky sweet romance.
      And she makes you want to scream,
      Wishing you could get inside her pants.”

      Like

  3. Too big too soon for The Knack? I enjoyed that first album- I remember my reaction when the second album came out- I immediately bought it and on a couple listens felt done with it- where were the good songs?

    Liked by 1 person

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