|Single by The Knack|
|from the album Get the Knack|
|B-side||Let Me Out|
3:58 (single edit)|
4:52 (album version)
|Songwriter(s)||Doug Fieger, Berton Averre|
|The Knack singles chronology|
"My Sharona" is the debut single by the Knack. The song was written by Berton Averre and Doug Fieger, and released in 1979 from their album Get the Knack. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart where it remained for 6 weeks, and was number one on Billboard's 1979 Top Pop Singles year-end chart.
It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing one million copies sold, and was Capitol Records' fastest gold status debut single since the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964.
The characteristic riff of "My Sharona" was created by the band's lead guitarist, Berton Averre, years before he joined the Knack. Averre subsequently played the riff, as well as a drum groove, for Doug Fieger, the group's lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, who greatly admired it and promised to include it in a composition, although he did not have any ideas for the lyrics.
When Fieger was 25 years old, he met 17-year-old Sharona Alperin, who inspired a two-month-long run of songwriting, as well as becoming Fieger's girlfriend for the next four years. Fieger recounted that "It was like getting hit in the head with a baseball bat; I fell in love with her instantly. And when that happened, it sparked something and I started writing a lot of songs feverishly in a short amount of time." Fieger and Averre worked out the structure and melody of the song. Averre was originally averse to using Alperin's name in the song, but Fieger wanted it to be a direct expression of his feelings; Averre ultimately relented. Fieger claimed that "My Sharona" was written in 15 minutes.
Music and lyrics
The music of the song echoes many elements of songs from the 1960s. According to a Trouser Press reviewer, the song's main melodic hook is "an inversion of the signature riff" from "Gimme Some Lovin'," a 1967 song by the Spencer Davis Group. Fieger has acknowledged that the song's tom-tom drum rhythm is "just a rewrite" of "Going to a Go-Go," a song from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles from 1965. Drummer Bruce Gary has stated that although he didn't particularly like the song when Fieger introduced it to the band, he came up with the stuttering beat for the song similar to a surf stomp. He also decided to incorporate a flam, in which two drum strokes are staggered, creating a fuller sound, which Gary considered to be crucial to the song's success.
In addition to being the inspiration for the song, Sharona Alperin posed for the single's picture sleeve holding a copy of The Knack's debut album Get the Knack.
The song's clean production sound was also reminiscent of the sound of the 1960s British Invasion. Dick Nusser of Billboard Magazine remarked on the song's "catchy, deliberately awkward, stop-go drum and guitar breaks," its "quirky lyrics" and "suggestive tone," and that the song will "make you ready, willing and able to hum the refrain at the right moment." In the Pazz & Jop 1979 Critic's Poll "My Sharona" and Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" were tied for sixth place in the list of top singles of the year. Chris Woodstra of Allmusic has subsequently referred to the song as an "unforgettable hit." The New Rolling Stone Album Guide claimed that the song "was a hit for a good reason. The beat is urgent, the chorus calls out for drunken shouting along and the guitar solo is a firecracker flash."
In 1994, "My Sharona" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number 91, when it was released as part of the Reality Bites soundtrack album. In the film itself, the characters dance to the song at a convenience store. This version was remixed by Dave Jerden and features, among other changes, a much more prominent drum sound.
In video games, a cover of "My Sharona" is featured as downloadable content for the Rock Band series. This version was later updated for Rock Band 3 to support the Pro Guitar feature. The original version of the song, along with its music video, is featured on Lips: Party Classics on Xbox 360.
In films, the song was heard in the 1997 Disney film RocketMan, the trailer for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, in J.J. Abrams' Super 8, and in Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!!.
Sharona Alperin, who was the inspiration for the hit, had been a major booster for the band, and brought many girls to their early shows. She has since become a real estate agent in the Los Angeles area, and uses the domain name mysharona.com for her business.
Charts and certifications
Sales and certifications
Parodies, samples and homages
With both the notoriety gained from being an international hit, and its distinctive rock guitar riff, "My Sharona" has been the subject of many parodies and samples, which include:
- "My Bologna" by "Weird Al" Yankovic - The 1979 song kickstarted Yankovic's career in song parody. The Knack approved of the parody and even had Yankovic inked to a one-off deal with their label, Capitol Records. A re-recorded version appeared on his eponymous début album.
- "Ayatollah" by Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl - The song covered current events related to the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
- "Pull My Strings" by the Dead Kennedys - The 1980 song used the guitar riff and changed the phrase from "My Sharona" to "My Payola" to satirize the music industry.
- "My Scrotum" by Cheech Marin - The song was featured in the 1980 film Cheech & Chong's Next Movie.
- "9 Coronas" by John Mammoser. - Originally recorded in 1987 with release in 1995, and with two follow-up versions ("10 Coronas" in 1996, and "9 Coronas ('99 version')" in 1999) that were showcased on the Dr. Demento radio programs.
- "Vaiche boa" by the Galician band Heredeiros da Crus - Released in 1997, on their album Des minutos.
- "Babylona" by Christian parody band ApologetiX - In 2001, this song was on their Keep the Change album.
- "Comme des Connards" ("Like Jerks") by the French comedian Michaël Youn - A parody for the 2004 film Les 11 commandements.
- "My Menorah" by American Comedy Network - a Flash parody in 2004 with singing candles.
- "My Toyota" by radio personality Bob Rivers - This was a video spoof of the Toyota Recall events in 2010.
- "My Fevola" - This was a parody sung on The AFL Footy Show about footballer Brendan Fevola.
- Hong Kong pop singer Alan Tam included a Cantonese version of the song called "愛到你發狂" (English: "Loving you make me crazy") in his 1980 same name album .
- Run–D.M.C. used an unauthorized audio sample from the song in their 1986 hit "It's Tricky". In 2006, Berton Averre and Doug Fieger filed suit against Apple, Run DMC and others for electronically redistributing the work. The case was settled in 2009.
- Rogue Traders used re-recorded elements of the riff in their 2006 hit "Watching You".
- Hip hop artists Everlast and DJ Lethal sampled the song for the track "I Got the Knack", which first appeared in the 1990 Everlast album Forever Everlasting.
- British girl group Girls Aloud incorporated parts of the song for the track "No Good Advice".
"Let Me Out"
The B-side of the "My Sharona" single was "Let Me Out". It was written by Fieger and Averre to fill the band's need for a strong opening track for concerts and later for their Get the Knack album. Averre has stated that the song is "absurdly fast." Drummer Bruce Gary felt that the words of "Let Me Out" helped make the song a perfect opener since the band wanted to "let out," and bassist Prescott Niles noted that, with the song, the band was all of a sudden "out of the box." Gary has also claimed that the song was "me trying to be Buddy Rich in a rock 'n' roll band. It was just full on."
Billboard Magazine described "Let Me Out" as "a teen anthem delivered at full throttle" and praised the song's "delightful" harmonies, "slapping" guitars and "perfectly tuned" drumming. Superchunk and The Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster commented on the "full force" of Gary's drumming on "Let Me Out." Ira Robbins and Michael Sandlin of Trouser Press described the song as "tight guitar pop." Author John Borack described the song as "a damn fine pop tune." Audio magazine called it a "basher" with "plenty of style." Allmusic critic Mark Deming stated that the live version of "Let Me Out" has "a joyous force nearly any act would envy." Dave Swanson of Ultimate Classic Rock called it "one of the most powerful album openers ever."
A 1979 live performance of "Let Me Out" from Carnegie Hall was included on the laser disc of Live at Carnegie Hall. The song was included on their compilation album, Premium Gold Collection. A 2012 vinyl EP for Record Store Day includes 1978 live performances of "Let Me Out" and "My Sharona" from Los Angeles and two other songs. The two performances are also included on the live CD of the entire 1978 Los Angeles concert Havin' a Rave-Up.
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Wexler's goal seemed to be replicating the Knack's "My Sharona," the cleanly recorded power-pop classic
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