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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 8 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. Alperin was with Fieger the last week of his life; he died of cancer on February 14, 2010.
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.
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. (thanks, Chris - Saint Louis, MO)
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 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.
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 Amphitheaterin 1980. (thanks, Scott - chicago, IL)
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.
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.
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. He first recorded it while he was a student at California Polytechnic State University, and sent it to Dr. Demento who played it on his radio show. Other parodies of the song include "Ayatollah" by the radio personality Steve Dahl, and "Babylona" by the parody band ApologetiX. (thanks, Cliff - Burkesville, KY)
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