With a catchy synthesizer sound and explosive chorus, this song was one of the most memorable hits of the '80s. In a Songfacts interview with Corey Hart
, he told the story behind the song:
"In the early Spring of '83, I was a starry-eyed 19-year-old kid from Montreal recording in a studio near Manchester, England. By late May, approaching my 20th Birthday, I finally held in my hands a cassette which contained the finished recordings of eleven original songs that would comprise my First Offense
However, there was one more song to come. Track twelve, 'Sunglasses At Night.' It was not yet written but the idea had already begun a subterranean journey through my creative subconscious. It rained almost every day I was in the UK for those sessions. I had a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses with me but I never had the chance to use them.
Later that summer my album was delivered to Aquarius-Capitol Records. Everyone seemed very pleased with the results. I was kinda like a writing magnet in those days so the song ideas kept flowing even though we were done with the recording. I started messing around with a melodic line and phrase called 'My Cigarette Got Wet.' It is an ironic lyric because I have never smoked in my life. It was the nascent embryo of 'Sunglasses' although I didn't realize it. I actually recorded a demo for 'Wet' which had many musical elements of 'Sunglasses' but I wasn't really sold on the song.
One night I went back to the 'Wet' demo and sang out the lines 'I Wear My Sunglasses At Night' over the melody. Wow. Just like that the song was born. It now spirited a cooler cadence from the new lyric that was missing before, plus I changed a few chord progressions. I wanted to add it to my album on the spot. Impossible, I thought, we'd already spent the full recording budget. But I will call the label first thing in the morning anyway and plead my case.
To their credit and intuition, Aquarius Records sent me back to England. They trusted me when I told them, 'I think this one is really good.' My Producers in London, Phil Chapman and Jon Astley, brought out the best in the song. They brilliantly produced the track highlighting the hip sounds and styles exploding out of the UK music scene during that prolific period in the early '80s.
When it was released in November 1983 I remember hearing the song for the first time on CHOM-FM in Montreal, but I only caught 30 seconds before I blew out my car speakers because I had cranked the volume up to overload!
I think I first knew I had a hit on my hands when I landed in the Detroit airport en route to my first US tour as opening act for Rick Springfield
in June 1984. I was mobbed at the airport by frenzied fans. We needed security to get me through the terminal to catch the connecting flight. It was a surreal experience. The song climbed slowly but steadily up the Billboard
charts into the Top Ten that summer as I crisscrossed the US on a massive radio-concert promo tour."