Sep 30, 2011
It wasn't until Corey Hart was finished recording his debut album First Offense that he had the brainchild for "Sunglasses At Night". After returning to Canada from Britain, he had a vision of the song, recalling his days in the UK studio when he would wear his sunglasses - you got it - at night. Now, 29 years later, Corey Hart took some time to tell us the inside scoop behind the making of this Canadian classic!
"Sunglasses At Night" was (famously) a last-minute addition to First Offense. What are some other little-known facts about the making of this timeless tune?
Before I had the epiphany for "Sunglasses At Night" I was toying around with a melody that was similar, but the words were: "I keep getting, I keep getting my cigarette all wet." It's quite ironic because I never smoked a cigarette a single day of my life but while I was in the UK recording my first album it was raining so much that I had this idea about getting "Wet." Thankfully it eventually morphed into a much cooler concept with "Sunglasses at Night."
The song was recorded in a very small studio called Revolution in an even smaller town near Manchester called Cheadle Hume. The legendary comedian Bob Hope and I met, sharing the same elevator in a Minneapolis Hotel after the song was released in America. As we walked into the lobby he said, "Hey - aren't you the Canadian kid who sings about sunglasses in the dark?" I was thrilled.
What was your label's reaction upon hearing it? Did you get any "notes"?
The label sent me back to the UK not having ever really heard it except in bits and pieces but believing in my incessant pleas that we must add this song to the Album! No notes per say but big thumbs up and smiles upon my return.
You've said in the past that you're not a fan of interpolation, and you've refused many offers from artists who want to interpret "Sunglasses At Night". What eventually changed your mind?
This is quite a sensitive topic for me. I have refused 30 requests or more for interpolation on the song since the year 2000. Very often from some of our industry's most successful recording artists like P. Diddy or Nelly Furtado. It has never been about me not liking their versions, although naturally some were better than others.
It is the overall concept of interpolation that I cannot reconcile with creatively. Someone randomly chopping up the song - or let me rephrase this with a kinder analogy, someone editing out the parts of the song that they don't want and replacing them with newly created ones. This process doesn't feel right for me as a songwriter.
However, covers are a completely different animal. I think if interpreted well they are simply wonderful. Some of my favourite songs have been covers, like Sheryl Crow's "First Cut Is The Deepest" or Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" - covered beautifully by Chantal Kreviazuk.
I also did a cover myself of the Elvis classic "Can't Help Falling In Love" in 1987. It was a hit record for me around the world reaching #1 in many countries from Canada to Japan. Of course many people preferred the original version & this is also totally cool. But I didn't chop the song up, I simply performed it in my own style.
Marie Christine is the first signing to my label Siena Records with Warner Music Canada. While I was over in England playing some of the songs for Warner UK record executive Dion Singer he mentioned the idea of me doing "Sunglasses At Night" with Marie Christine. I asked him if he meant a cover and he remarked, "no, not really, but just do your own thing with it."
Somehow it all finally made sense. It had never even occurred to me before. So Marie Christine's "Girl In Shades" is the first authorized interpolation of "Sunglasses At Night" and the dude interpolating is Corey on Corey :) ha ha
What characteristics do you see in Marie Christine that you would hope to see in the Cover Me Canada contestants?
Passion, commitment and musical authenticity are all key elements I recognized immediately in Marie Christine. It doesn't matter the genre of music but being true, knowing who you are is important for an artist in the long run. That doesn't mean we all can't evolve or be open to new ideas but the essence of who we are as artists should remain constant.
Do you still rock the Ray-Ban Wayfarers?
You're damn right I DO! :)
Corey Hart, September 30, 2011
Stay tuned, cause Georgia Murray will cover "Sunglasses At Night" this Sunday at 9pm! And have you seen the week three Song list?
For more info on what Corey Hart has been up to lately, go to coreyhart.com.