When word came recently about the death of Doug Feiger, lead singer for The Knack, I found myself with conflicted feelings. Sure, I remember the song “My Sharona,” also known as “The Little Pop Hit That Wouldn’t Die,” a song that love or hate depending on the mood could never be ignored or forgotten.
And of course as with the deaths of most famous folks, Feiger’s obit hit the wires and gave people a chance to recall the man and his career, which all said may seem puny compared to the initial expectations for the band. Considered in their day as the next Beatles, they took a career parabola that tracked closer to Badfinger’s in terms of output and staying power. Still, they had that song, “My Sharona,” and if nothing else, it gave them a lot of currency on which they could call on for years.
The funny thing is, the song and the artist responsible for it generated a lot of attention and interest, more so than the inspiration.
And it’s a shame, because Sharona Alperin is a remarkable woman in her own right. Her’s is a story that had it not been a reality would have made amazing unbelievable fiction, a piece I would have given someone else’s soul to write.
The first time I got introduced to her story was in a piece in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY from 1998. A high school student when she met Feiger in 1978, she left behind everything and one she knew to live the rock and roll lifestyle with the band, which considering how fast their rise was a year later meant a particularly harrowing course with all the pressures that sudden fame brought with it. One thing that stood out was this quote from the profile:
”My life was decadent then,” [Alperin] admits. ”When Doug [Feiger] was looking for houses, he was always on tour, so I would house-shop in the limo. I’d choose five houses and then show him. One of the agents said to me, ‘I’ve never seen anyone show houses like you; you should be an agent.”’
Consider this a moment: A sudden head-on slam into instant fame, followed by a quick burn out as the Knack found themselves unable to capitalize on the song Alperin inspired, would have left most people brought along for the ride adrift and without direction at the end, with the chance of something the rest of us consider ‘normal’ a distant dream. Alperin found herself there, took her experiences with Feiger and turned them into a career. At the time of the article, she was with the real estate firm of Dalton, Brown and Long; she’s now a prominent agent with Sotheby’s International Realty, and through her web presence you can contact her to help you find the property you desire in the Los Angeles area (if you’re looking for something about $850,000 and up).
There are further details mentioned in passing in the statement Alperin released to the press via PRLog. By all accounts, she certainly came through the other end a lot better than she entered, with more to show than most folks who don’t sign on to accompany a rock star through the machine.
What makes all this relevant is how much Alperin’s experiences echo through the tale here. Like the women in the novel, here’s someone who was expected to fill a certain role, was given her marks on the stage, took one look at the script before chucking it aside, and took the role in a new direction that was worthy of an Oscar nomination.
So when I hear “My Sharona,” it’s not so much underage lust that comes to mind (or more appropriately, the places lust is supposed to go…), or who I was dancing with when the song had its chart run and occasional revivals. It’s more for me the reminder of someone who didn’t do what she was told… she did better than that.
Good for you, Sharona! Lord bless and keep you.