Corey Mitchell Hart on May 31, 1962 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
At around the same time fellow Canadian Bryan Adams began to dominate the pop and rock charts in North America, Corey Hart emerged as another major radio force from north of the border. His straightforward, fist-pumping brand of rock made an immediate splash in the U.S., unleashing a pair of classic Top 10 singles in 1984. Though he maintained big-time stardom only in Canada thereafter, Hart was an important singer-songwriter of the era who kept the flag flying for melodic arena rock through a period that could be fickle about its musical taste. Here's a look at Hart's solo career.
Hart grew up multi-lingual while moving around often as a child with his parents. After their divorce, he returned to Montreal to live with his mother, launching a singing career as a pre-teen. After much hard work and some flirtations with a recording contract while still in his teens, Hart eventually signed with Aquarius Records in 1982. A debut album of consequence, 1983's First Offense, followed, and upon its American release the record produced "Sunglasses at Night," an iconic classic of the '80s distinguished by a winning keyboard riff, power guitar, and a killer chorus.
Dominant Middle of Decade:
If the performance of his debut release (also featuring the excellent and underrated Top 20 American hit "It Ain't Enough") was impressive, Hart's sophomore effort, 1985's Boy in the Box, blew expectations out of the water. Topping the Canadian album charts and eventually going platinum in the U.S., the album produced Hart's biggest hit, the flawless soft rock nugget "Never Surrender." Ultimately, three Top 10 hits in Canada clearly cemented Hart as a favorite in his homeland - a status that became quite permanent - but overall, 1985 was in many ways defined by the music of Corey Hart.
Superstardom Wanes in America:
Hart maintained his recording and performing momentum into the second half of the '80s, with Fields of Fire in 1986 and Young Man Running in 1988. Huge in Canada, these albums churned out hits there but had an increasingly smaller impact in the States. Nevertheless, Hart continued to focus on his songwriting and the maturation of his sound to fine effect. A final release for EMI, 1990's Bang!, received considerable critical favor but only middling commercial success even in Canada. By the mid '90s, Hart had slowed his musical endeavors and turned his focus to starting a family.
Over the last two decades Hart's musical output as a solo artist has been relatively sparse, but he has maintained a position as dignitary and mentor to a number of Canadian music artists in the new millennium. At the same time, he has refrained from committing fully to a career resurgence, instead focusing on fatherhood with fellow singer and wife Julie Masse. Hart has also generally refused to exploit his past successes through opportunities to peddle his music. Therefore, having just reached 50 years of age, Hart maintains his integrity as a pop star as well as the potential for more great music in the future.