Friday, August 25, 2006

M-M-M-My Sharona!

In today's WaPo there is something of an obit for Bruce Gary, the drummer for The Knack, who recently died from cancer. Rather than getting into a lengthy retelling of his life and times, the article focuses on the drum beat for one of the biggest hits of the "80's" (the song was actually released in 1979 however the guys were wearing skinny ties in the video).

Honestly, I think "My Sharona" is one hell of a pop song. It's got a driving almost punding beat, utterly filthy lyrics (the song is about jailbait; "always get it up for the touch of the younger kind"), and a circular chord structure that swells into each "My, my, my, my, my, whoo!!" The whole song is capped by a simple I-V-IV-V bridge with a bitchin' guitar solo. On the full six minute non-radio edit version of this track Berton Averre really stretches it out and every time I hear it I am always impressed with the chops this guy has got. It's full-on cock rock to be sure but man it sounds good. Ironically, this song sort of helped "usher in the New Wave era" which was the death of the guitar solo for a time.

The Knack got a bad rap for being mysogynistic and somewhat contrived, and while that may be true, I think "My Sharona" is better than just a novelty song or something to be regarded simply with ironic ennui. One of my bands would cover this song and every time we played it people could not help but get into it. That probably says everything that needs to be said about a pop song.


At 8/25/2006 11:28 AM, Anonymous Media Concepts said...

I happened to hear the song on the satellite radio a few days ago, and was thinking some of the same things you mentioned. Aside from the song's appearance during my impressionable years, what got to me was how it stops and restarts several times. I think the "drum breaks" are mostly responsible, but I'm not sure that's the correct term. As for the guitar solo, listeners seem to fall into 2 distinct camps. Either they find it bitchin' as you do, and even sublime, or they think it's really awful, amateurish and simplistic. That may again be a result of how impressionable one was at the time they heard it. Unfortunately, I'm in the second camp, but I still enjoy the song for its fun factor and its time-capsule power to captivate.

At 8/25/2006 3:45 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Not to totally dork out here, but I think there is something cool about how he used some major scale tones instead of just the rote pentatonics. And those sweet 32
^nd note pops in the middle are pretty badass.

I love getting all guitar geeky.


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