I heard “My Sharona” for the first time when I saw Reality Bites in 1994. In the movie, Winona Ryder’s character and her friends are raiding a gas station food mart when the song comes on the radio. They ask the clerk to crank up the volume and start dancing manically, next to the twinkies. It’s a wacky scene made more memorable by the song choice.
The dunna dunna dun dun beat (as the professionals call it) really stays in your head. I wonder if The Knack knew they were creating such an earworm back in 1979. Lead singer Doug Fieger wrote the song about his actual girlfriend, Sharona. It’s basically about some guy trying to get with the hot girl he’s obsessing about. Simple and to the point lyrics. But the beat, stuttering vocal delivery, and guitar riffs make it more impactful. It’s also a bit of a throwback itself, with a sound some have likened to the bands from the British Invasion in the 60s. The track went to #1 on the Billboard 100 in the summer of ‘79, staying there for 6 weeks. And it became The Knack’s best-known song.
In the 80’s, Run-D.M.C. sampled “My Sharona” (without permission from The Knack) for their song “It’s Tricky”. The music goes perfectly with their rap, reinventing it for a new audience. Funny enough, I first heard “It’s Tricky” when I saw Can’t Hardly Wait in 1998. This just proves that movie soundtracks can introduce you to great songs from the past you wouldn’t have otherwise heard.