Born: 1962, Montréal
Years Most Active: 1983-1998
- Juno Award for Song of the Year: “Never Surrender” (1985)
- 3 singles nominated for Song of the Year Junos: “Sunglasses at Night” (1984), “Everything in My Heart” (1986), and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1987)
- Félix Award for Male Artist of the Year, 1985
- 1 Diamond, 2 Multi-Platinum, and 2 Platinum albums
- Biggest Song of the Year: “Never Surrender” (1985)
- 2nd Canadian artist to score a Diamond album: Boy in the Box (1985)
- 28 Top 40 singles, including 8 Top 10, 3 of which were #1
- Sold 10 million albums in six years
“Never Surrender“ (1985)
- #1 Hit in Canada; #3 in the U.S.
- Juno Award for Song of the Year, 1985
- #1 in both the RPM and CHUM Year-End Charts, 1985
Studio Albums and Hit Singles
1983: First Offense
- #6 in Canada; #31 in U.S.
- 3x Platinum
- Hit Singles: “Sunglasses at Night” (#24 CAN; #7 U.S.), “It Ain’t Enough”, “She’s Got the Radio”, “Lamp at Midnite”
1985: Boy in the Box
- 2nd Canadian album in history to sell a million copies domestically (certified Diamond)
- Platinum in the U.S.
- #1 in Canada; #20 in the U.S.
- Hit Singles: “Never Surrender” (see above), “Everything in My Heart” (#1 CAN; #30 U.S.), “Boy in the Box” (#7 CAN; #26 U.S.), “Eurasian Eyes”
1986: Fields of Fire
- Peaked at #5
- 2x Platinum
- Hit Singles: “I Am By Your Side” (#6 CAN; #18 U.S.), “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (#1 CAN; #24 U.S.), “Angry Young Man”, “Dancin’ With My Mirror”, “Take My Heart”
1988: Young Man Running
- Peaked at #12
- Hit Singles: “In Your Soul” (#2 CAN; #38 U.S.), “Spot You in a Coalmine”, “Truth Will Set You Free”, “Still in Love”
- Peaked at #24
- Hit Singles: “A Little Love” (#9 CAN; #37 U.S.), “Bang! (Starting Over)”, “Rain on Me”
1992: Attitude & Virtue
- Hit Singles: “92 Days of Rain”, “Baby When I Call Your Name”, “Always”, “I Want (Cool Cool Love)”
1996: Corey Hart
- Peaked at #38
- Hit Singles: “Black Cloud Rain” (#2 CAN), “Tell Me”, “Third of June”, “Someone”
- Hit Singles: “La Bas”, “So Visible (Easy to Miss)”, “Break the Chain”
“…while his songwriting never managed to get very deep, he sang with a passion that made his songs appealing.”
Corey Hart, the youngest child in a family of five, spent much of his childhood travelling with his parents, as his father was in the real estate business. This brought him to places like the Bahamas, Mexico, the United States (Florida), and Spain. His parents divorced when he was 10. In his teens, he returned to his birthplace of Montréal and decided that he wanted to be a singer / songwriter. He began writing songs, sang for Tom Jones, and recorded with Paul Anka, Billy Joel, and Eric Clapton. After a stint in New York, he was offered a recording contract with Aquarius upon his return to Canada.
It was easy to promote Hart as a sex-symbol given his cool, clean boyish good looks and his brooding intensity. The new medium of music videos was taken advantage of resulting in Hart’s meteoric rise to fame. Comparisons were made to Paul Anka, James Dean, and young Marlon Brando.
Aquarius sent Hart to Manchester, England to write over a three-month period with studio musicians, including a special contribution by Eric Clapton, under the guidance of Phil Chapman and Jon Astley. The resulting album, First Offence, was released in late 1983 and became a sleeper hit in Canada. Eventually, hit singles “Sunglasses at Night” and “It Ain’t Enough” helped the album sell 3x Platinum. The following year, he was given a U.S. Grammy nomination for best new artist. “Sunglasses at Night” was nominated for Song of the Year at the Junos and won the award for Best Music Video.
Corey had never performed live and asked to open for Culture Club at the Montréal Forum in order to promote his new album. Rave reviews of his live performance landed him a spot in tours with April Wine, Thomas Dolby, Hall & Oates, and Rick Springfield.
Due to the great success of his debut album, Hart was under tremendous pressure for his follow-up release. In an interview he disclosed that he reacted well to pressure. In 1985, Corey Hart released Boy in the Box. To say that it sold exceptionally well would be an understatement. The album became the second Canadian album in history to attain diamond status domestically (1 million copies sold in Canada). Its song “Never Surrender” not only topped the charts but became the biggest song of the year in Canada and won the Juno, beating out Bryan Adams’ “Run to You”. South of the border, the song peaked at #3 and was nominated for a Grammy. Boy in the Box‘s title-track broke into the Top 10, and the single “Everything in My Heart” topped the charts and was nominated for a Juno the following year.
Due to his gigantic success, Corey was offered a number of deals. But he remained selective about the projects he pursued. He turned down the role of Marty McFly in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Back to the Future trilogy. He also refused an offer to perform the hit song “Danger Zone” for the Tom Cruise-led film Top Gun. He went on tour through North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. A concert documentary attracted over a million television viewers in Canada and won the Golden Gate Award in 1989 for best fine arts or musical variety show at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He also participated with many other fellow Canadian artists in the charity single “Tears Are Not Enough” for African famine-relief.
Hart had developed a reputation for coming up with the best song on the album after all the recording had finished. This happened again during the sessions for album #3. In one night, he tracked, recorded, and mixed a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Originally it was to be a throwaway B-side. But Aquarius loved it so much that they decided to include it on the album and release it as the first single. The decision proved wise, as it topped the charts in Canada. The second single “I Am by Your Side” peaked at #6 on the charts and Corey Hart’s third album, Fields of Fire attained double-platinum status.
Corey Hart’s fourth album, Young Man Running, reached platinum sales thanks to the #2 hit “In Your Soul”, but States-side, his fortunes began to wane. This was somewhat echoed in Canada with his fifth release, Bang! Although its lead single “A Little Love” was a Top 10 hit, the album sold poorly and Hart left Aquarius Records. In 1990 around the Bang! releases, Hart married his high school sweetheart Erika Gagnon.
In 1992, he released Attitude and Virtue with Sire/Warner. Although four singles made the Top 30, it was the first album without a Top 10 hit. Hart had shifted his style into a more bluesy approach which did not seem to appeal to fans. He divorced in 1994 and became involved with Québec songstress Julie Masse. He switched record companies again, signing with Columbia/Sony, and bounced back somewhat with a self-titled album in 1996. “Black Cloud Rain” reached #2 on the national charts and the album was certified platinum. His final album was 1998′s Jade, which included the French song “La Bas” which he sang with Masse.
Although he retreated from recording, he began writing songs for other performers, including Julie Masse, Garou, and Cherie. For Céline Dion, Hart wrote “Miles to Go (Before I Sleep)” and “Where Is the Love” for the multi-platinum seller Let’s Talk About Love. He appeared as a special guest on Dion’s Canadian and U.S. tour. In 2001, he wrote “Prayer” for her album A New Day Has Come.
In 2002, Hart married Masse and they relocated to the Bahamas with their three children.
Corey Hart’s Official Website is HERE.
An excellent interview with Corey Hart is HERE.