There are bands that will be remembered in the history of music for a single song, those planetary hits that become evergreens and economically, for the band, have the same value betting on next years Super Bowl, continuing over the decades.
Among the best possible examples is that of Knack and their My Sharona, which celebrates its 40th anniversary on June 18, 2019. A song that has never gone out of fashion, a perfect single, with an unsurpassed riff and a rhythm that makes you beat your foot relentlessly even against your will.
The song was in a way both a blessing and a curse for the band, it made Knack substantially immortal but at the same time, it erased all the rest of the discography that the band has created, turning them into a widely underestimated line-up. Doug Fieger, the singer, founder, and leader of the band was a very talented author and the rest of the band, Berton Averre, Prescott Niles and Bruce Gary, were highly respected musicians.
The band was founded in Los Angeles, in 1977, after Detroit-born Fieger had discontinued his previous band, The Sky, and decided to stay in the City of Angels with his girlfriend Judy Halpert. It was thanks to Judy that Fieger, 25, met Sharona Alperin, a 17-year-old working in a clothing store in Beverly Grove. Sharona became a fan of the band, began to follow all the concerts and Fieger fell in love with her, even though she was eight years younger than him.
It was unrequited love and this is the subject of the song, born from a riff written sometime earlier by Berton Averre. Fieger had the Averre riff in his head, but it was when he linked his obsession with Sharona Alperin to those few notes that the song took shape, in less than 45 minutes.
The subject of the song is closely linked to the story of Doug Fieger and Sharona Alperin: after many years of engagement, Fieger separated from Judy Halpert and began to court in Sharona, but without success. Fieger wrote other songs for her, recounting his one-sided love, such as Frustrated and She’s so selfish and performed them live hoping to change her mind but the girl did not give in to his flattery.
Meanwhile, things were getting better and better for the band, a few months after their birth they were already one of the most popular bands in the clubs of L.A. and a few weeks later, there were many record companies ready to sign a contract. They signed with Capitol Records and in just 11 days they recorded their debut album, Get the Knack.
The band struggled to convince Capitol that My Sharona was the right single to release the album, but it was the radios that immediately chose that song and pushed the label to release it two weeks after the LP was in stores. My Sharona came in at number one in half the world’s charts, in the U.S. it remained in first place for six weeks, and since then it hasn’t left the collective playlist of rock fans.