#255: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Corey Hart
Corey Hart was born in 1962 in Montreal, Quebec. He is best known for his international Top Ten hits “Sunglasses at Night” (#7 Billboard Hot 100) and “Never Surrender” (#3 Billboard Hot 100). Hart is known as one of Canada’s most successful singer-songwriters. He’s sold over 16 million records worldwide. On the Billboard Hot 100 Hart scored 9 consecutive Top 40 Hits. Back in Canada he succeeded in charting 30 top 40 singles (including 11 Top 10 singles during his career). Hart is a Grammy Nominated, ASCAP & multiple Juno and ADISQ award winner. He has also written and produced several songs for fellow Quebec recording star Celine Dion.
Though he was born in Montreal, Hart grew up variously in Key Biscayne, Florida, Mexico City and Spain. During his childhood he became fluent in English, French and Spanish. His first time as a performer was in front of UK singer Tom Jones, when eleven year-old Hart sang the Michael Jackson tune “Ben”. In 1980 Hart was one of Canada’s entries at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo. While there he met fellow Canadian entry, Dan Hill, along with American recording artist Christopher Cross (“Sailing”).
In 1981 Hart heard Billy Joel in concert in Montreal and contacted Joel. Joel was impressed with Hart’s virtuosity on drums, guitar, vocals, piano and as well as a songwriter. Hart went to Long Island to record some demos at Joel’s recording studio in Oyster Bay. In 1982 Hart recorded his debut album, First Offense, in the UK. Hart had the humbling experience of Canadian listeners only being interested in his music if he could break into the US record market.
In 1984 “Sunglasses At Night” peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It only climbed to #24 on the Canadian RPM charts, #11 in Montreal, #13 in Toronto and got airplay, but no chart run, in Vancouver. (The latter was a big surprise to this writer). The song became a Top 20 hit in Australia, New Zealand and Germany. With international fame, Canadians warmed up to Hart as one of their own. Suddenly, things changed and Hart was a pop star. He later recalled:
“In retrospect, I was totally unprepared for the fan adulation. I really couldn’t go out anywhere without being mobbed or chased by my fans. The transformation from unknown artist to rock star was surreal and overwhelming. The power of video certainly played a key role. It was the same for many artists of that decade like Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and George Michael to name but a few.”
In 1984 Corey Hart was nominated for Best Male Vocalist of the Year, Composer of the Year (“Sunglasses At Night”), Single of the Year (“Sunglasses At Night”), and won a Juno for Best Video (“Sunglasses At Night”).
Hart’s second album was titled Boy in a Box. His first single release from the album was “Never Surrender.” And both “Boy In A Box” and “Everything In My Heart” were big hits in Canada. At the 1985 Juno Awards Corey Hart was nominated for Best Male Vocalist of the Year, Composer of the Year (“Never Surrender”), Album of the Year (Boy in the Box) and Best Video (“Never Surrender”). He won a Juno Award for Best Selling Single (“Never Surrender”). And in 1986 Hart was nominated for a Juno Award in the categories of Composer of the Year and Best Selling Single (“Everything In My Heart”).
His fourth was “Eurasian Eyes“, a track that made it’s way onto the Soundtrack to the 1986 film 9 1/2 Weeks, starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke.
That year Hart released his studio album Fields of Fire. The lead single was titled “I Am By Your Side”. In 1986, Hart had a #1 hit with a cover of the 1961 Elvis Presley song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, from the film Blue Hawaii. It was the second track released as a single from Fields of Fire.
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” is a song cowritten by Hugo E. Peretti, Luigi Federico Creatore, and George David Weiss. It was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961 and was a chart-topper in the UK, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Vancouver, Elvis’ recording stalled at #8 on the CKWX Fabulous Forty.
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” offers a simile of a river flowing to the sea, and likening it to the inevitable destiny of a couple meeting each other and falling in love.
Weiss was born in 1921 in New York City in a Jewish family. Weiss wrote many famous songs, including “Rumors Are Flying” for Frankie Carle (#1 in 1946); “Oh! What it Seemed to Be” for Frankie Carle and also Frank Sinatra (both #1 in 1946); “Surrender” for Perry Como (#1 in 1946); “Confess” for Patti Page (#12 in 1948); “I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore” for Gordon Jenkins (#6 in 1949); “Can Anyone Explain? (No! No! No!)” for the Ames Brothers (#5 in 1950); “I’ll Never Be Free” for Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford (#3 in 1950) and Dinah Washington (#3 R&B chart 1950); “To Think You’ve Chosen Me” for Eddy Howard (#9 in 1950); “Cross Over The Bridge” for Patti Page (#2 in 1954); “A Girl, A Girl” by Eddie Fisher (#6 in 1954); “How Important Can It Be” for Joni James (#2 in 1955); including “What A Wonderful World” for Louis Armstrong, “Wheel Of Fortune” for Kay Starr, “Lullabye Of Birdland” for Ella Fitzgerald; and “That Sunday, That Summer” for Nat King Cole”. Weiss also wrote scores for the gangster film Murder, Inc. (1960), teen flick with Sandra Dee Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), French-British drama Mademoiselle (1966) and others.
Hugo Peretti was born in New York City in 1916 in an Italian-American family. Luigi Creatore was born in New York City in 1921, also to an Italian-American family. The pari cowrote Sarah Vaughan’s #14 hit in 1955 “Experience Unnecessary”. They also produced a number of hits for Jimmie Rodgers including “Honeycomb”, “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling In Love Again”, “Secretly”, “Bombombey”, “Are You Really Mine” and other hits for . Later the pair worked with Van McCoy on his single, “The Hustle”, which became a #1 hit in 1975. And in 1977 Peretti and Creatore won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album with Bubbling Brown Sugar.
Among the records Peretti and Creatore produced are “Party Doll” by Buddy Knox, “I’m Sticking With You” by Jimmy Bowen, “Beep Beep” by the Playmates, “Don’t You Know” by Della Reese, “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, “Chain Gang”. “Having A Party”, “Twisting The Night Away”, “Another Saturday Night”, “Cupid” and “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson, “My Coloring Book” by Kitty Kallen, and “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March.
During the 60s Peretti, Creatore and Weiss co-wrote “A Walkin’ Miracle” for the Essex (#12 in 1963); “Snoopy’s Christmas” for the Royal Guardsmen, and the music for the 1968 Broadway production Maggie Flynn. Hugo Peretti died in 1986 at age 69. George David Weiss died at age 89 in 2010. Days before his 94th birthday, Luigi Creatore died of Pneumonia in 2015.
When Elvis Presley recorded “Can’t Help Falling In Love” for Blue Hawaii, Corey Hart wasn’t born. Hart’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” peaked at #1 in Edmonton (AB), #2 in Toronto, Halifax (NS), and San Jose (CA), #3 in Thunder Bay (ON), #4 in Vancouver (BC), #5 in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Montreal, and #6 in Hamilton (ON) and Calgary (AB).
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” was a number-one hit for UB40 in 1993. And Elvis Presley’s original version from 1961 returned to peak at #3 in the UK in 2005.
In 1987 Hart was up for more Juno nominations: Best Male Vocalist of the Year, Best Album Graphics (Erika Gagnon for Fields Of Fire), and Single of the Year (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”).
Next Hart also released his third album, Fields Of Fire. In the midst of these releases came a non-album synth-pop single titled “2 Good 2 Be Enough”.
Corey Hart had several more big hits in the next ten years. His next single release was “In Your Soul”, a track on his 1988 album Young Man Running.
His subsequent hits of note include “A Little Love” in 1990 from his album Bang!, “Baby When I Call Your Name” in 1992 from his album Attitude & Virtue, “Black Cloud Rain” in 1996 from his self-titled album, and from his 2018 album Dreaming Time Again Hart had a #9 hit on the Canadian singles chart with “Another December”. He kept receiving Juno Award nominations in the 1990s and the 2000s. These included nominations for Best Male Vocalist of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999; Best Producer in 1997 and 1998; And a Juno nomination in 2003 for Dance Recording of the Year.
Hart moved with his spouse Julie Masse, and their four children, to the Bahamas in 1999. Between 1998 and 2014 Hart didn’t release any new solo singles or albums. In 2003, Hart became involved in a joint venture record label business which he named Siena Records. It was headed by Seymour Stein, the CEO of Sire Records, and Steve Kane, Warner Music Canada’s President.
On June 3, 2014, after a 12 year break from live performance, Corey Hart took to the stage playing before a sold out audience at the Montreal Bell Centre Arena. It was billed as “One Night – Three Decades Of Music.” Hart also released his autobiography entitled Chasing The Sun the same night.
September 24, 2021
Corey Hart bio, Corey Hart.com
Karen Bliss, “Corey Hart On Crying At His Retirement Concert He Quit and What He’ll Do Next,” Huffington Post, June 16, 2014.
Corey Hart, Chasing The Sun – My Life In Music, (Warner Books, 2014).
Sam Roberts, “Luigi Creatore, 93; was Songwriter, Producer,” Boston Globe, December 19, 2015.
Spencer Leigh, “George David Weiss: Songwriter who Worked with Elvis Presley and wrote What A Wonderful World,” Independent, November 23, 2010.
“Hugo Peretti,” Wikipedia.org.
“Top Thirty Hot Hits,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, December 31, 1986.
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