Sunglasses At Night

Album: First Offense (1983)
Charted: 7
  • 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 us 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 album debut.

    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."
  • While "Sunglasses At Night" is his best known song in America, Corey Hart is far from a one-hit wonder, with nine US Top 40 hits from 1984-1990. His biggest chart hit came on his second album when "Never Surrender" hit #3 in the US. In his native Canada, "Sunglasses" was just a minor hit, reaching #24. His three Canadian chart-toppers are "Never Surrender," "Everything in My Heart" and "Can't Help Falling in Love."
  • MTV, which launched in 1981, was a cultural force by 1984, which is when they put this video in hot rotation. Corey Hart told Songfacts: "I believe the video played a key role in establishing a strong image for me that certainly impacted the song's success. Music videos at that time were a new, exciting and innovative genre for record promotion. Within a few weeks of heavy MTV play your face and song would be known from coast to coast."

    The video was directed by Rob Quartly and won the Juno Award for Best Video in 1984, the first year the award was presented. The Canadian music video channel MuchMusic launched that year.
  • Is Corey Hart sick of this song? Not a bit. In 2012 he told us: "Last week I was on a crowded rental shuttle bus at Miami Airport on my way to pick up our car. The radio was blaring out 'China Girl' by David Bowie. As the tune faded out it segued into the next song. I heard the hypnotic intro riff of 'Sunglasses At Night' fill the air. Some folks started to tap their feet. I glanced over at my 13-year-old daughter. We both had big smiles on our faces. Yeah man, it still feels super cool to hear it - even after all these years."
  • At the request of his record label, Corey Hart recorded a new version of this song in 2002.
  • In 2001, Tiga & Zyntherius recorded an 8-minute dance version of this song.
  • In 2010, Miller Lite used this in one of their "Man Up" commercials with a guy committing the unmanly act of wearing sunglasses in a bar. When they play this song, he tries to deny that he likes it, but then we see him singing along with it.
  • The 2008 Miley Cyrus hit "See You Again" sampled this song.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 5

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 28th 1984, Corey Hart performed "Sunglasses At Night" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...Two months earlier on May 20th, 1984 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #75; and on the day of this appearance on 'Bandstand' the song was at position #19, five weeks later on August 26th it would peak at #7 {for 1 week} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {23 weeks}...On "Sunglasses" last week on the chart, his next release, "It Ain't Enough", was at position #31, eventually to peak at #17...Between 1984 and 1990 he had ten Top 100 records; two made the Top 10, his other Top 10 record was "Never Surrender", it peaked at #3 in 1985 {#1 in his native Canada}...Corey Mitchell Hart celebrated his 52nd birthday two months ago on May 31st, 2014.
  • John from Cg, NjI love the Guitar solo in this song, anyone know who plays lead guitar on it?
  • The Murf from Whitehorse, YtCorey also had a huge hit with "Never Surrender" so how does he qualify as a OHW?
  • Nicole from Plymouth, MaThis is a great song and deserves a lot more credit. "I WEAR MY SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT".
  • Lefteris from Nea Smyrni, GreeceCorey also made some song contributions to successful soundtracks (for example "Eurasian Eyes" in the movie "Nine 1/2 Weeks") but he will be mostly remembered for this 1983 song, although it is obvious that it shares the same intro as "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by Eurythmics (1982), an intro also used by The Cars in their 1984 smash hit "Heartbeat City (Jacki)" & its Hellenic cover version by Greek band Synnefa Me Pantelonia and their homonymous song in 2000.
see more comments

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dean PitchfordSongwriter Interviews

Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Graduation SongsFact or Fiction

Have you got the smarts to know which of these graduation song stories are real?

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.