Among the friends and family who attended services for Knack lead singer Doug Fieger was Sharona Alperin, the real-life inspiration for “My Sharona.” Alperin, who dated Fieger for more than three years, toured around the world with the Knack and is now a real estate agent in Los Angeles who makes wise use of the domain name “I spent the entire weekend with him, with his body [at the services],” she told EW today over the phone. “It was beautiful to see the people who paid him respect on his deathbed — the people who he was the biggest fan of.” Alperin, who had kept in touch with Fieger until recently, commented on the frontman’s undying zeal for his genre up to the present. “He was so devoted to rock and roll — a walking encyclopedia,” she said. “He would know the b-sides of every single in the day. Just a real fan.” Fieger, who died after battling cancer for several years, “was too young for sure,” said Alperin. “But I’m grateful that he’s out of pain.”

The sleeve of the 1979 hit single featured a real picture of Alperin. She said the photo shoot took about 10 minutes, because “that’s just what I would walk around in, a t-shirt and Levis…I guess it was considered raunchy since you can see my nipples through the shirt. Nowadays, that outfit would be considered tame.” Despite the ubiquity of “My Sharona” when it first charted and since its revitalization in 1994’s Reality Bites, Alperin says the effect of being the subject of such a popular song has been overwhelmingly positive. She admits that back when “My Sharona” was constantly on the radio, there were one or two times she might have turned it off, but when she hears it now, she listens. “How many people have a song written about them?” she asked. “I mean, who would I be to say ‘it’s too much’? I don’t tire of it.” Some of the most surreal moments, she said, are when she randomly hears no-lyrics versions of the song at the supermarket and dentist’s office. Alperin also gets at least one message a month from friends who just want her to know “My Sharona” is on. Family members recently called her from a Dodgers game: “They’re playing your song!”

“About 70 percent of the people I meet, as soon as I introduce myself as Sharona, they say “My Sharona,” said the Sharona. “And another 20 percent, you can tell, they’re thinking it in their heads. It’s so funny.”

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