My Sharona


My Sharona
"My Sharona"
Single by The Knack
from the album Get the Knack
B-side "Let Me Out"
Released June 1979 (1979-06)
Format 7"
Recorded April 1979
Genre New Wave, power pop
Length 3:58 (single edit)
4:52 (album version)
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Doug Fieger, Berton Averre
Producer Mike Chapman
The Knack singles chronology
"My Sharona"
(1979)
"Good Girls Don't"
(1979)
Audio sample
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"My Sharona" is the debut single by The Knack, released in 1979 from their album Get the Knack. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart where it remained for six weeks and was #1 on Billboard's Top Pop Singles of 1979 year-end chart. It was certified gold (one million units sold) by the Recording Industry Association of America. It reached gold status faster than any debut single since The Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964.[1]

Contents

Inspiration

The riff of "My Sharona" was written by the band's guitarist, Berton Averre, years before he joined The Knack. He had played it and a drum groove for Doug Fieger, the group's lead singer and rhythm guitarist, who loved it and promised to make it a song. However, Fieger, with no lyric ideas to add, was unsure what to do with it beyond that.

When Fieger, who was 25, met Sharona Alperin, who was 17 at the time,[2] she inspired a two-month-long run of songwriting, as well as becoming Fieger's girlfriend for the next four years. "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." Whenever Fieger thought about Alperin, he would think of Berton Averre's guitar riff, and the two worked out the structure and melody from there. Averre was originally averse to using Sharona's name in the song, but Fieger wanted it to be a direct expression of his feelings; Averre ultimately relented.[3]

Sharona herself appears on the picture sleeve for the single, and became a major booster of the band bringing many girls to their early shows.[4] Sharona Alperin is now a real estate agent in Los Angeles, California,[5] and owns the song's Web domain name, using it for her personal Web site.

Music and lyrics

The music of the song echoes elements from 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 Loving," a 1967 song by the Spencer Davis Group.[1] 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.[1] And the song's stuttering vocal effect of the repeated "muh muh muh my Sharona" phrase is reminiscent of the Roger Daltry's vocals in the 1965 song "My Generation" by The Who.[1] The song's clean production sound was also reminiscent of the sound of 1960s British Invasion.[1] Dick Nusser of Billboard Magazine remarked on the song's "catchy, deliberately awkward, stop-go drum and guitar breaks" and 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."[6] Chris Woodstra of Allmusic referred to the song as an "unforgettable hit."[7]

Legacy

In 1994, "My Sharona" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart (peaking at #91) when it was released as a single from the Reality Bites soundtrack album.

The song gained some attention in 2005 when it appeared on the playlist of U.S. President George W. Bush's iPod.[8]

"My Sharona" was ranked at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs in 2008.[9] It was also ranked #16 on the Top Billboard Hot 100 Rock Songs of the chart's first 50 years and as Billboard's Hot 100 Song of the Year for 1979.[10][11]

A cover version song is also featured as downloadable content the music video game series Rock Band. The original version of the song, along with its music video, is featured on Lips: Party Classics on Xbox 360.

In films, the song has appeared in Reality Bites, RocketMan, and the trailer for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and more recently in J.J. Abrams' Super 8. In the latter film, the song is featured when the main group of characters are shown singing it. The original version is heard during the end credits.

When Fieger died in 2010, The New York Times called the song "an emblem of the new wave era in rock and a prime example of the brevity of pop fame."[12]

Chart performance

Chart (1979) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1[13]
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 Singles 1
Australian Kent Music Report 1
UK Singles Chart 6[14]
New Zealand Charts 3[15]

Parodies, samples and covers

With both the notoriety gained from being an international hit, and its distinctive rock guitar riff, "My Sharona" has been the subject of numerous parodies, tributes, and sampling, including:

Parodies

  • The song was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "My Bologna". It was the song that kickstarted his career in song parody.[16] 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 debut album "Weird Al" Yankovic.
  • The Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl parodied the song as "Ayatollah" (following the Iranian Revolution of 1979).
  • In their sarcastic, anti music industry song "Pull My Strings", The Dead Kennedys parodied "My Sharona" as "My Payola".
  • The song was spoofed in a Taco Bell commercial as "My Chalupa".
  • The song was heard in a Toyota commercial as "My Toyota."
  • The song was also spoofed by Bob Rivers as "My Toyota".
  • Two versions of "Nine Coronas" was parodied by John Cougar Mammoser.
  • A parody titled "Babylona" was performed by the Christian parody band ApologetiX on their Keep the Change album.
  • Parodied as "My Mohegan" in a Mohegan Sun commercial.
  • Parodied as "Comme des Conards" ("Like Jerks") for the French movie Les 11 commandements directed by the French comedian Michaël Youn.
  • Parodied by Cheech Marin as "My Scrotum" in the Cheech & Chong's Next Movie.
  • Parodied by Spoof-Man as "My Toyoda (The Recall Song)".
  • Sung by Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney in The Simpsons episode 1705, "Marge's Son Poisoning".
  • The song was parodied as the Flash Animation "My Menorah" by American Comedy Network in 2004. [1]

Audio samples

Cover versions

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Cateforis, T. (2011). Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s. University of Michigan Press. pp. 123–127. ISBN 9780472034703. 
  2. ^ Lieby, Richard "'My Sharona,' Revealing a Knack for Current Affairs?" The Washington Post April 17, 2005: D3
  3. ^ Liner notes, 2002 "Get the Knack" digitally remastered re-issue.
  4. ^ Liner notes, 2002 "Get the Knack" digitally remastered re-issue.
  5. ^ Alejandro Lazo, "M-m-m-my career in real estate: Sharona Alperin, who at 17 was the real-life inspiration for the 1979 Knack megahit, now sells high-end homes to celebrities.", Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Nusser, D. (July 28, 1979). "Closeup: Get The Knack". Billboard Magazine. pp. 52, 66. http://books.google.com/books?id=nCQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT107&dq=%22maybe+tonight%22+knack&hl=en&ei=yucdTvaGLYXW0QGVh8jkBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q=%22maybe%20tonight%22%20knack&f=false. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  7. ^ Woodstra, C.. "Get The Knack". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/get-the-knack-r11107. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Peter (2005-04-13). "Bush bares soul with 'iPod One'". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5dElz9fVj. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  9. ^ Billboard Hot 100 Chart 50th Anniversary. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  10. ^ "It's Only Rock & Roll: Top Billboard Hot 100 Rock Songs". Billboard Magazine. http://www.billboard.com/specials/hot100/charts/top-rock.shtml. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  11. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Year". Billboard Magazine. http://www.billboard.com/specials/hot100/charts/top50-no1s-60s.shtml. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  12. ^ Ben Sisario (2010-02-16). "Doug Fieger Dies at 57, Singer of ‘My Sharona’". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/arts/music/16fieger.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  13. ^ "Get the Knack Charts and Awards". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/get-the-knack-r11107/charts-awards/billboard-single. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  14. ^ "Knack singles". officialcharts.com. http://www.theofficialcharts.com/artist/_/knack/. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  15. ^ "My Sharona: New Zealand charts". charts.org.nz. http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Knack&titel=My+Sharona&cat=s. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  16. ^ Ellis, I. (2008). Rebels Wit Attitude: Subversive Rock Humorists. Counterpoint Press. p. 205. ISBN 9781593762063. 
  17. ^ 'My Sharona' Creators Sue Yahoo, Apple, Amazon and Run DMC for Copyright Infringement, October 04, 2006. Retrieved 2010-02-15.

External links

Preceded by
"Good Times" by Chic
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
August 25, 1979 - September 29, 1979
Succeeded by
"Sad Eyes" by Robert John
Preceded by
"Born to Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez
Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single
September 8, 1979 - September 22, 1979
Succeeded by
"I Was Made for Loving You" by Kiss
Preceded by
"Up There Cazaly" by Two-Man Band
Australian Kent Music Report number one single
September 3, 1979 - October 1, 1979
Succeeded by
"Born to Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez

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