That is the real Sharona on the cover of The Knacks' ''My Sharona''
Image: Capitol Records
On his 58th birthday, George W. Bush received an iPod as gift from his twin daughters. The POTUS' portable MP3 playlist packed some of his favorite songs, nostalgic radio hits like "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Centerfield." Nearly a year later, Bush's most beloved jams made news in the pages of The New York Times and Rolling Stone. After all, the content of the president's iPod can give some insight into his personality, and he was the first president of the iPod era. One classic number, in particular, stood out. Because lines like "Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run" were not exactly referring to the fuel in Air Force One. Yep, President Bush was rocking out to "My Sharona."
The inclusion of "My Sharona" should not have come as too big a surprise to anyone who lived through the year 1979. The Knack's debut single was everywhere. Take a moment to consider that "My Sharona" was the debut single from the Los Angeles band. The quartet went from playing club gigs on the Sunset Strip to topping the charts practically overnight.
The Knack recorded "My Sharona" in April '79, released it in June '79, and watched it reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August '79. That's the kind of right-out-the-gate, meteoric rise in the music biz that typically wouldn't happen until the MP3 era. "My Sharona" spent six weeks atop the charts, going on to become the best-selling single of 1979. Go figure. In the peak of the disco era, the most popular song would end up being a retro-minded rock 'n' roll number that recycled elements from '60s dance-party favorites like "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "Going a Go-Go."
And, no, the Knack was not a one-hit-wonder, thank you. The group's follow-up, "Good Girls Don't," climbed to No. 11. The next single, "Baby Talks Dirty," cracked the Top 40, too. But those songs fade from memory because "My Sharona" was just so darn huge.
Now that 40 years have passed since "My Sharona" first hit radio, you might have forgotten some little details about the ditty. For starters, the young woman holding the Get the Knack LP on the sleeve of the "My Sharona" single? That is Sharona herself. Yes, the Sharona — Sharona Alperin.
Lead singer Doug Fieger was dating the teenager when he penned the lyrics. "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," Fieger explained to The Washington Post years later (when the whole George Bush thing threw a spotlight on the song again).
Even after Fieger and Alperin split, the two stayed friends. When the Knack frontman passed away from cancer in 2010, Alperin was one of the people by his side in his final days. She hardly shies away from her connection to the song. Besides, that would be difficult to do when your name is Sharona. So she gets asked the question — "Oh, like that song?" — a lot.
"Oh my God, almost daily, almost anytime someone hears my name," Alperin recently admitted to the Wall Street Journal. These days, Alperin works as a real estate agent in Los Angeles. If you want to catch up with her, you can visit her website.
What the URL? Well, mysharona.com, of course.