Pull up your chairs close kids, darken the lights and cue up the creepy theremin music, because I’ve got a good one for you here. Do you remember that great old #1 single from June 1979, “My Sharona” by The Knack, well there’s a great story behind it. It seems that the lead singer of the band, the late Doug Fieger, was really so inspired by an under-aged 17 year old girl, Sharona Alperin, so he wrote this song when he was 25 at the time. What parent wouldn’t be so pleased to have some 25 year old guy write some love song about their under-aged daughter. That has to #1 on a parent’s top ten list by far.
At some point, Doug Fiieger and Sharona Alperin did became boyfriend and girlfriend for four years, maybe because of the success of the song which was heavily driven by the catchy guitar licks of guitarist Berton Averre as well as the blues drumming skills of the late Bruce Gary. But with so many songs themed about teenaged girls from this band, a little backlash campaign started known as “Knuke The Knack”. as some critics thought this all seemed creepy, although it was probably more a sign of the gross commercialism of this group meant to appeal to teenaged fans more than anything. And creepy little titles like “….But The Little Girls Understand”, “Good Girls Don’t” and “Baby Talk Dirty ” didn’t help much to soothe over some critics of the band.
And if all of this doesn’t seem weird enough, then get ready for this, the late Doug Fieger was also the younger brother of lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer, the suicide doctor. And it was Geoffrey Fieger who made the public announcement of his brother’s death to THE DETROIT NEWS, just as he has had made so many public pronouncements about Jack Kevorkian.
Despite their creepy themed music meant to appeal to a teenaged audience, The Knack were a group of highly skilled musicians who made the most of a Capitol Records public relations campaign that made them seem like the second coming of The Beatles(also an old Capitol Records act). It was this clever marketing that made The Knack such a powerful, but short-lived phenomenon back in 1979 with “My Sharona” hitting #1 for 6 weeks in a row and selling lots of copies.
“My Sharona” also featured a bra-less, but not overly sexy model in a white t-shirt as a picture sleeve for the single and a Beatles-like cover of the band for the album, GET THE KNACK. Capitol Records tried hard to make this power pop new wave rock act seem like the new Beatles, although their fame quickly faded after their second album. By 1981, their third album ROUND TRIP only came in at #93 on the charts, and subsequent albums failed to chart altogether for the act.
In all of recorded music history , The Knack proved to be one of the strangest stories of rock music for many reasons.