"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 its 1979 Top Pop Singles year-end chart. It wascertified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and was Capitol Records' fastest gold status debut single since the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964.
- 2 Music and lyrics
- 3 Artwork
- 4 Reception
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Charts and certifications
- 7 Cover-versions/multiple-renditions
- 8 "Let Me Out"
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The characteristic riff of "My Sharona" was written by the band's guitarist, Berton Averre, years before he joined the Knack. He had played the riff as well as a drum groove for Doug Fieger, the group's lead singer and rhythm guitarist, who loved it and promised to make it a song, although he did not have any ideas for the lyrics.
When Fieger was 25, 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.
The music of the song echoes 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 fromSmokey 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. She holds a copy of their 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." Chris Woodstra of Allmusic 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 a single from the Reality Bites soundtrack album. In the film itself, the characters dance to the song at a convenience store.
In video games, "My Sharona" is featured as a downloadable content single for the Rock Band series. On March 1, 2011, an updated version of the cover song was made available to download for use in Rock Band 3 in PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony vocals. The original version of the song, along with its music video, is featured on Lips: Party Classics on Xbox 360.
Also the song was once heard in the Eerie Indiana episode "No Brain, No Pain" in which The Knack's "My Sharona" figures prominently in the story—variations were used in the background music and the music over the credits.
In the 2011 film "Super 8", the cast is seen singing the song as they are waiting for Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning) to drive up
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.
With both the notoriety gained from being an international hit, and its distinctive rock guitar riff, "My Sharona" has been the subject of parodies, samples, and covers, 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 debut 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" as "My Payola" to satirize the music industry.
- "Girl U Want" by Devo, from the album Freedom of Choice, was heavily inspired by "My Sharona".
- "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 followup versions ("10 Coronas" in 1996, and "9 Coronas ('99 version')" in 1999) that were showcased on theDr. Demento radio programs.
- "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.[dead link]
- "My Toyota" by radio personality Bob Rivers - This was a video spoof of the Toyota Recall events in 2010.
- 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".
- Madonna mixes instrumental elements of the song on her Sticky & Sweet Tour with her own song "Dress You Up".
- 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".
This is a list of notable "My Sharona" covers and the albums on which they can be found:
- Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipmunk Punk (1980)
- Nirvana – only live at Salle Omnisports, Rennes, France (1994)
- Bradford Cox − At a solo show, Deerhunter vocalist and guitarist Bradford Cox responded to a request for "My Sharona" by playing the song for an hour non-stop. (2012)
- Veruca Salt – B-side to "Victrola" (1995)
- Eldritch – Reverse (2001)
- Cactus Jack – DisCover (2002)
- Polysics – For Young Electric Pop (2002)
- Pink Cream 69 – Thunderdome (2004)
- The Dandy Warhols – All Money or Simple Life Honey, video pt. 2 (2005) - spoken word rendition
- Pearl Jam – Arena di Verona (2006)
- Yo La Tengo – Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics (2006)
- Leningrad Cowboys – Zombies Paradise (2006) - this was a cover album
- The Urge – Live at Mingara (2009)
- Destruction – Cracked Brain (1990)
- The Number Twelve Looks Like You – An Inch of Gold for an Inch of Time EP (2005)
- HammerFall - No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009)
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."
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 vinylEP 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.