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The Woman Behind 'My Sharona'

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The Woman Behind 'My Sharona'

The Woman Behind 'My Sharona'

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(Soundbite of song, "My Sharona")

GUY RAZ, host:

Finally today, 30 years ago, this song topped the Billboard chart for six weeks straight.

(Soundbite of song, "My Sharona")

Mr. DOUG FIEGER (Lead Singer, The Knack): (Singing) Ooh, my little pretty one, my 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. 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, aye-aye-woo.

RAZ: "My Sharona" by The Knack turned the band into instant stars. And it also made a star out of its namesake, a woman named, not surprisingly, Sharona.

The Knack's lead singer, Doug Fieger, wrote the song for a teenager who would eventually become his girlfriend, Sharona Alperin.

Sadly, Fieger died last month after a battle with lung cancer. Sharona, who stayed friends with him, was one of the people at his side during those last days. Sharona Alperin is now a real estate agent in Los Angeles, and she joins me from our studios at NPR West.

Sharona, welcome to the program.

Ms. SHARONA ALPERIN (Real Estate Agent): It's nice to be here, Guy.

RAZ: Tell me how you met Doug Fieger and The Knack.

Ms. ALPERIN: I was introduced by his girlfriend at the time. I was about 16, 17 years old and...

RAZ: Wow. You were in high school.

Ms. ALPERIN: Yes. And 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 soul mate, 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.

RAZ: So, when did you first hear the song that became so famous?

Ms. ALPERIN: We weren't together yet but we were friends and one day on my lunch break from my clothing store, I went to their rehearsal and I saw maybe Berton or Doug say, should we play it? Should we play it? All right, let's play it for her. And I sat down, cut to, I'm driving back to the clothing store and I'm thinking: did I just hear a song with my name in it? Was my name in that song? It was, you know, I just couldn't believe that I heard that.

RAZ: Eventually, the song is released. You are asked to be on the cover of the single wearing this very sort of tight tank top, these tight jeans, and you become a celebrity as well.

Ms. ALPERIN: That was, like, my normal outfit what I wore all the time, by the way. You know, I guess, you know, I didn't look at myself as a celebrity but people were very excited when they met me. And I remember going on tour and seeing sometimes people dress up. And I'd say, what are you dressed up as? And they would say Sharona.

Not everybody knew that, you know, Sharona was a person or, you know, they thought maybe it was a thing. I think in Japan, they might've thought it was, you know, the male organ. I don't - that's what I heard. But, you know, it's been great.

RAZ: Sharona Alperin, you eventually, of course, got married, so did Doug Fieger, and you were with him, I understand, during his final days before he passed away last month. Can you tell me about that?

Ms. ALPERIN: Well, he died on Valentine's Day. That was very fitting for him. And the day before, February 13th, I went to be with him. I had started to see him a lot in the last few months. And a lot of his idols, people that meant so much to him in the music industry came to pay their respects to him. And it was really beautiful. And then he died Sunday morning on Valentine's Day.

RAZ: That's Sharona Alperin. She's the woman who inspired the song "My Sharona." It was released in the summer of 1979 and stayed atop the Billboard charts for six weeks.

Sharona Alperin, thank you so much.

Ms. ALPERIN: It was my pleasure, Guy. I really appreciate it.

(Soundbite of song, "My Sharona")

Mr. FIEGER: (Singing) Come a little closer, huh, ah will ya, huh? Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona. Keeping it a mystery, it gets to me, running down the length of my thigh, Sharona. Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind. I always get it up...

RAZ: And for Saturday, that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Thanks for listening and have a great night.

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