Corey Hart | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Corey Hart

Corey Hart. Singer, songwriter, pianist, producer, b Montreal 31 May 1962. Raised in Spain, Mexico, and the USA, he returned to Montreal in his youth. He began writing songs in his teens and endeavoured to sell his early efforts there and, at 17, in New York.

Hart, Corey

Corey Hart. Singer, songwriter, pianist, producer, b Montreal 31 May 1962. Raised in Spain, Mexico, and the USA, he returned to Montreal in his youth. He began writing songs in his teens and endeavoured to sell his early efforts there and, at 17, in New York. His debut album, First Offense (Aquarius AQR-537), released in 1983, included 'Sunglasses at Night' and 'It Ain't Enough,' both modest international hits, and brought Hart a (US) Grammy nomination in 1984 for best new male vocalist. A second album, Boy in the Box (Aquarius AQR-539), released in 1985, was his most successful to 1990. It sold one million copies in Canada alone, equalling a mark established by Bryan Adams'Reckless, and included Hart's biggest hit, 'Never Surrender,' as well as 'Boy in the Box' and 'Everything in My Heart,' both also popular internationally. Between 1984 and 1990 Hart sold over 10 million records and earned nine US top-40 Billboard hits.

Hart's meteoric rise to fame was assisted by the then-new medium of music videos that carried his brooding intensity and boyish good looks to an adoring teenaged (and largely female) audience; if his precocity brought him comparisons to Paul Anka, his cinematic, angry young man image saw him identified with James Dean and the young Brando.

Juno and Félix Awards

The video for 'Sunglasses at Night,' directed by Rob Quartly, received the inaugural Juno Award (1983) in the 'best video' category. Hart received a Juno Award in 1985 for single of the year ('Never Surrender') and Félix Awards for rock album of the year (First Offense) in 1984, and for album by a singer-songwriter (Boy in the Box) and as singer-songwriter and male vocalist of the year in 1985.

Activities 1984-90

Selective about the projects he pursued, Hart turned down various offers to act and record. In 1985 he declined the leading role in the film Back to the Future and later refused an offer to perform the hit song "Danger Zone" for the film Top Gun.

An energetic performer in concert, Hart toured extensively in 1984 as an opening act in Canada (for April Wine, Thomas Dolby, Culture Club, etc) and the USA (for Rick Springfield and Hall & Oates). He headlined concerts in North America thereafter and toured also in Europe, Japan, and Australia by early 1986. A documentary of a Hart concert at the Montreal Forum attracted over one million viewers and was first telecast 13 Dec 1987 on CBC-TV. In 1989 the documentary won the Golden Gate Award for best fine arts or musical variety show at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Although moderately successful, Hart's albums 1986-90 did not match his early success. Fields of Fire (Aquarius AQR-542), issued in 1986, included 'I Am by Your Side' and a version of the Elvis Presley hit 'Can't Help Falling in Love,' both popular internationally. (The latter was the sole non-original song on Hart's first five albums.) Young Man Running (Aquarius AQR-551) followed in 1988 with the domestic hits 'In Your Soul,' 'Spot You in a Coal Mine,' and 'Still in Love'. Bang! (Aquarius 92513, CD and cassette), released in 1990 and regarded as a comeback of sorts, included 'A Little Love,' a modest US hit. Other Hart singles popular in Canada included 'Eurasian Eyes' (1986), 'Too Good to Be Enough' (1987), 'Still in Love' (1989), and 'Bang (Starting Over)' (1990).

Activities 1991-99

In 1991 Hart recorded the album Attitude and Virtue (Sire/Warner Bros. 26815, CD and Sire/Warner Bros. 92 68154, cassette). According to Hart, the ill-fated album disappointingly "sold nothing." Following a two-year hiatus, he began to produce and write songs for other recording artists. In 1994 he produced and contributed to French-Canadian singer Julie Masse's first English album, Circle of One.

Hart signed a new recording contract with Sony Music Canada in 1995 and in the next year released the self-titled album Corey Hart (Columbia CK 80240, CD and Columbia CT 80240, cassette). The album included three radio hits: 'Black Cloud Rain,' 'Tell Me,' and 'Third of June,' a number-one Canadian single written by Hart for Masse's birthday. The recording was followed by a CBC-TV special in 1996 and a Canada-wide tour in 1997.

In the same year (1997), Hart wrote and produced 'Miles to Go (Before I Sleep)' and 'Where Is the Love' for Celine Dion's multi-platinum album Let's Talk About Love. Two years later he appeared as a special guest on Dion's US and Canadian tour. In 2001 Hart wrote 'Prayer' for Dion's blockbuster international-selling album A New Day Has Come.

During 1998 Sony released Hart's album Jade (Columbia CK 80387, CD and Columbia CT 80387, cassette). The album contained his French hit song 'La Bas,' a duet with Masse, whom he wed in 2002.

Activities 2000-present

Also in 2002, Hart produced and wrote two songs for Quebec singer Garou's first international English album.

SOCAN honoured Hart in 2002 with two Classic Song Awards for 'Sunglasses at Night' and 'In Your Soul,' and a Number One Dance Single Award for 'Sunglasses at Night/2002.'

In 2003 Hart wrote and produced two songs for the debut album of Lava/Atlantic recording artist Cherie. Later in the year he announced the formation of Siena Records, his new music label with Warner Music Canada and Sire/Warner Bros. USA. Maintaining a strong creative presence, he signed an international licensing agreement with Warner Music Canada, allowing him to select Siena's artists and write and produce their work.

Further Reading