“Ooh You make my motor run, motor run, when you gonna give me some, My Sharona….”
Who doesn’t know that song? My Sharona by The Knack spent six weeks at #1 back in the summer of 1979 and has never been off the radio since. This morning the man who wrote and sang that song, Doug Fieger, lost his six-year battle with cancer at his home in Woodland Hills, Ca.
Read more about The Knack, the night they spent with Kevin & Bean, and their surprising comeback in the 1990s, all after the jump.
Fieger had some success in his home state of Michigan before moving to Los Angeles in 1978 and putting together The Knack. It’s hard to describe how fast and hard the band hit when their debut album was released the following year. Recorded in only eleven days, it shot straight to #1 all while the band caused a critical backlash by refusing to give interviews and, some said, too closely aping The Beatles from the way they dressed and sounded to even naming the album Meet The Knack, just like the Fab Four has named their first Meet The Beatles.
In 1994, My Sharona re-entered the charts, and got a lot of airplay again on KROQ, when it was featured in the movie Reality Bites. One of the very first Kevin & Bean Singles Party featured a Hollywood screening of the film, followed by a party at venue formerly known as The Palace, I believe, where The Knack performed a well-received set for our listeners.
Watch Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo annoy Ethan Hawke with their enthusiasm for My Sharona in this clip from Reality Bites.
In a 2003 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Fieger talked about the two real women who inspired his two biggest hit songs:
“I had this girlfriend that I was living with. We’d started living together in Detroit when we were 15. She lived with me and my parents at my parents’ house. I stayed out here (in L.A.) when Sky broke up, and she came out here and we started living together here, for another eight years. She started working as a hairdresser, and she met this young girl named Sharona, who had worked at a children’s clothing store across the street from her hairdressing salon.
“She introduced me to her, and I instantly fell in love. I’d been living with Judy for a long time, and loved her, but I fell in love with this girl. We broke up and I moved out. We’re very good friends to this day.
“That’s how it happened. I chased her. Most of the songs on the first and second Knack albums were written about her. There was a song on the first album called ‘Good Girls Don’t‘ about a girl I’d met in Oak Park, at Clinton Junior High School, named Bobbie Ernstein. She was there for two years, and then she moved to St. Louis. She actually said those words to me: ‘Good girls don’t, but I do.'”