In the summer of 1979, there was one girl on everyone's mind: seventeen-year-old, Sharona Alperin.
That's because, a year earlier, Ms. Alperin had been on the mind of
Doug Fieger, lead singer for The Knack. After meeting her in a clothing
store, he was instantly smitten -- and together with bandmate Berton
Averre, he penned the unforgettable "My Sharona." The song became a hit,
topped the charts for six weeks, and in two months, the band's debut
album, Get the Knack, sold more than a million copies.
Doug Fieger grew up in Detroit and started his first band -- the Royal
Jammers -- at the age of eleven. Even then, he was known for his
As one friend recalled, "He was a trendsetter, even in high school. I
think it was in 1964 that he showed up at school with the first bell
bottoms anyone had ever seen, and a pair of boots -- I think they were
pink." In 1970, Fieger took those pink boots and moved to Los Angeles to
pursue his music career.
In 1978, he and Averre formed The Knack, putting the rest of the band
together through a wanted ad in the newspaper. They became a hot
commodity on the L.A. music circuit after playing a series of shows at
the legendary Troubadour club --- where, on separate occasions, Bruce
Springsteen and Tom Petty joined the band onstage to jam. Thirteen
record companies competed in a fierce bidding war to sign The Knack.
Capitol Records emerged triumphant and over eleven days, at a cost of a
mere $17,000, "Get the Knack" was recorded.
Though subsequent albums sold respectably, they were disappointing in
the light of the band's prior success. 1980's ...But the Little Girls
Understand reached Number Fifteen, but failed to produce any big hits.
And 1981's Round Trip barely cracked the Billboard Top 100.
But they would always have "My Sharona". It was re-surrected in 1994
and found a new generation of fans when it appeared on the soundtrack of
the film "Reality Bites." Weird Al Yankovic paid tribute to the song
with his song "My Bologna," and Run DMC sampled it in 1997's "It's
Tricky." Doug Fieger called it the band's "golden albatross": a song
that managed to generate a whole lot of money while dangling around his
neck and preventing further success.
After splitting up several times, The Knack regrouped in 1997. Mr.
Fieger toured with the group until 2003, when he was diagnosed with lung
cancer -- and, later, brain cancer. In 2006, doctors removed two
tumours from his brain.
Yesterday, at the age of fifty-seven, Doug Fieger died at his home in Los Angelos.
In tribute to him, we give you his golden albatross. As Jeanne
Garofalo's character says in the famous scene in Reality Bites, turn it
up -- "You won't be sorry."