The Meaning of The Knack’s “My Sharona”

“My Sharona” was the first single ever released by The Knack, and it took the Los Angeles-based rock band straight to the top. Released in June of 1979, “My Sharona” spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard charts and later appeared on The Knack’s debut album, Get the Knack.

Many don’t know that the Sharona of the sexually-suggestive hit “My Sharona” is actually a real person — Sharona Alperin. She’s also the young woman featured on the cover art for the 7″ version of the single who became a heartthrob for some, and a fashion inspiration for others during the single’s initial surge of popularity.

In an origin story that would be considered creepy by today’s standards, Sharona Alperin was only 17 years old when she met The Knack’s 25 year old singer and guitarist Doug Fieger at the clothing store where she worked at the time. He fell in love with her immediately, and soon wrote “My Sharona” about her.

Sharona Alperin with Doug Fieger, 1979-1980.

Alperin spoke about first meeting Fieger during an interview with NPR that took place in March of 2010, just a few weeks after Fieger passed away on Valentine’s Day following a battle with lung cancer:

I was about 16 or 17 at the time. He was nine years older than me. And within a month or two later, he told me that, ‘I’m in love with you, you’re my soulmate, you’re my other half, we’re going to be together one day.’ And I was madly in love with my boyfriend at the time, and so it took a year for me to leave my boyfriend.

Sharona Alperin on meeting Doug Fieger of The Knack.

After Sharona left her boyfriend, she ended up dating Fieger for four years, and they were also engaged for a year but never ended up getting married. She was also featured on the cover for the band’s follow-up album to Get the Knack, 1979’s …But the Little Girls Understand.

…But the Little Girls Understand (1979)

After their relationship ended, Sharona left the music scene after in favor of a career in real estate, while Doug continued to chase success with The Knacks. They did, however, remain friends all the way until his dying day.

“My Sharona” was a one hit wonder for The Knack, as they were never quite able to follow up on the song’s popularity. They faded away into obscurity, but “My Sharona” will live on in the American pop-cultural landscape for the rest of time.

Let’s take a look at the lyrics and see how Fieger really felt about Miss Sharona Alperin, starting with the first verse:

Ooh, my little pretty one, pretty one
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run
Gun it coming off of the line, Sharona

First verse to “My Sharona” by The Knack.

Right off the bat, we can see that Fieger is enamored by this Sharona, wondering when she’s going to give him the time of day. When he talks about how she makes his motor run, he is referring to his heartbeat, or just a general sense of getting riled up about her.

Doug Fieger with Sharona Alperin, 1979-1980.

Similarly, when he sings of gunning it off the line, he refers to being in a hurry to make something happen. Waiting for that starting gun so he can zip away from the starting line into a relationship, or a one night stand, with Sharona.

In the famous chorus, we can see that Fieger has sex on his mind:

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, I, yi, woo!
M-m-m-my Sharona

Chorus to “My Sharona” by The Knack.

This chorus was all over the radio to the point where people got sick of hearing it, and the raunchy nature gave a rallying cry to haters of rock music everywhere. There is no question about what the singer hopes to do with Sharona, he seems quite determined to do it.

Then, we have the lyric that almost ruins this song, given the context: “I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.” This lyric is almost explicitly about getting a boner for young girls — there really isn’t another way to interpret it.

Get the Knack (1979)

Still, it’s catchy, and many listeners don’t hear anything except the surf-shuffle beat and the infectious chorus. M-m-m-my Sharona!

The second verse is up next:

Come a little closer, huh, ah, will ya, huh?
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona

Second verse to “My Sharona” by The Knack.

Here, Fieger fantasizes again about how he hopes things will go when he finally gets a chance with Sharona. He imagines her coming closer, and looking him in the eyes. The mystery of whether or not she loves him back is driving him crazy, and he just wants her hand running down the length of his thighs.

Keeping the sexual energy strong, another chorus comes next, then the bridge, and then the third and final verse:

When you gonna give to me, g-give to me?
Is it just a matter of time, Sharona?
Is it j-just destiny, d-destiny
Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?

Third verse to “My Sharona” by The Knack.

This Doug Fieger guy is really determined to make Sharona his girlfriend, huh? He wonders if it is ever going to happen, if it’s destiny like he hopes or if his mind is just playing tricks on him.

“My Sharona” closes out with another chorus, and then about six more m-m-m-my Sharona‘s for good measure. Watch the music video below.

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