Propelled to international success by the hits "Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender," Canadian singer/songwriter Corey Hart's earnest tone and brooding good looks helped him become a pop icon of the mid-'80s MTV era. Although his popularity in the U.S. began to wane after 1986's Boy in the Box, Hart continue to enjoy a high profile and chart success at home well into the '90s, after which he stepped away from recording to raise a family and write and record for other artists. He later returned to public visibility in the 2010s, performing around Canada and returning to the studio with a pair of EPs, including 2019's Dreaming Time Again.
Born in Montreal on May 31, 1962, Hart took to music at a young age, making his first public appearance at the age of 11 and writing songs throughout his teenage years. He traveled to Tokyo in 1980, representing Canada at the World Popular Song Festival. A year later, he reached out on a whim to Billy Joel during a Canadian tour and was subsequently contacted by Joel's band, who flew him to Long Island to record a handful of demos. While Hart's early efforts to sign with Canadian record companies were fruitless, he eventually landed a contract with Aquarius Records in 1982 and headed to England to record his debut album.
Released in 1983, First Offense got off to a slow start at home and it was only after "Sunglasses at Night" became a massive Top 10 hit in the U.S. in the summer of 1984 that his success in Canada and beyond followed suit. The album eventually went gold in the U.S. and triple platinum in Canada, setting the table for his 1985 follow-up, Boy in the Box. An even greater success than his debut, Boy in the Box was buoyed but the hit single "Never Surrender," which spent nine weeks atop the Canadian pop chart and won a Juno Award for Best Selling Single of 1985. Hart's third album, 1986's Fields of Fire, met with some commercial success in Canada, landing another number one with his cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," though sales were slower in the U.S., where his fortunes had begun to wane. 1988's Young Man Running and 1990's Bang! sold modestly and represented a more mature approach to Hart's songwriting. They also represented the end of his contract with Aquarius Records and with EMI in the U.S.
1992's Attitude & Virtue was his first album with Sire/Warner, and yielded a handful of singles that performed decently on the Canadian charts, though his 1996 self-titled album fared slightly better, particularly with the single "Black Cloud Rain," which hit the number two spot. Also during this period, Hart worked with rising Quebecois pop star Julie Masse on her first English-language album. It marked Hart's first foray into writing songs for another artist. Their creative partnership soon blossomed into a romantic one, and Hart and Masse married and started a family. In 1997, he again contributed material to another artist, with two of his songs appearing on fellow Canadian Celine Dion's hit album Let's Talk About Love. Following 1998's Jade, Hart backed away from recording and performing his own material and focused on raising a family and occasionally writing and producing for other artists.
Through Siena Records, his boutique imprint for Sire/Warner Canada, he wrote songs for and helped produce a 2011 album, Walk in Beauty, for Montreal pop artist Marie-Christine Depestre. In the years that followed, Hart began to maintain more of a public presence, performing on occasion, and in 2014 releasing the digital-only Ten Thousand Horses EP, which featured duets with his wife, Masse, and fellow Canadian, Jane Siberry. In early 2019, Hart and Warner Bros. Canada announced a massive national tour that would be accompanied by the release of the EP Dreaming Time Again. ~ Timothy Monger & Stacia Proefrock