"Hey Mister don't shadowbox with me cuz' I don't wanna someday be an old man cursing what I might have been."
-Corey Hart, In Your Soul from the recording Young Man Running -
X-file? One of the many unsolved X-Files along the way was whether or not David Duchovny and 1980s Canadian pop singer Corey Hart were of the same birth mother, perhaps the result of a mutual zygote. I always found the two to be awfully similar in appearance. It may have been me, but I find things like this to amuse me. This genetic coincidence has always been one of those "extreme possibilities." But David Duchovny did spend a good deal of time in Canada for The X-Files. And in science fiction anything is possible.
This post, originally intended to be something of a light-hearted offering, transformed from a simple idea into a full blown 80s music retrospective. For fans of all things 80s, enjoy the memories.
It is without question, unlike Duran Duran, The Human League and Depeche Mode, pop star Corey Hart has been all but forgotten at least in the United States. The Canadian pop rock star who left girls swooning is all but a faded distant memory to most fans of the 80s never mind the casual music fan. I'm not even sure most remember he wore his Sunglasses At Night. How cool was this guy once upon a time? His big claim to fame was a pulsing, driving, delicious synthesizer delight. In fact, it's not until I started watching The X-Files again that I thought, "David Duchovny always reminded me of Corey Hart."
I'll have you know this random connection brought me back to my Fancave to dust off my collection of Corey Hart music. I honestly haven't touched those CDs in years and most of you would probably agree I'd be better off. But I refuse to bow to the pressure of my peers and relent to the sound sensations of 80s glories like those heralded by Corey Hart. Mult-instrumentalist, singer/ songwriter Corey Hart penned a number of fine little pop gems along the way and was certainly not without talent. The Montreal born native even penned songs for his wife Julie Masse and singer Celine Dion and was showered with awards for a solid decade. The very X-Files-like back cover of Corey Hart's First Offense.
As I poured over my collection of Corey Hart, I immediately knew I would need to load iTunes with the very best and burn a CD for the sandcrawler rides about town and to further torture my children with my clearly square choice of music. What I can't understand is how I can be scolded by a daughter who liked Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Nevertheless, there was no messing around here people. I had to get right to the heart [pun not intended actually] of the very best of Hart's work.
Fans of 80s music should know they cannot go wrong with the hits collection called Corey Hart: The Singles . That collection has almost everything you need. But running down the list. The aptly titled First Offense , produced by Jon Astley, was a solid start for a newcomer and had the two pop gems Sunglasses At Night and It Ain't Enough. Peruvian Lady, She Got The Radio and a few others are sub par but may be worth a purchase.
Boy In The Box  quickly followed suit with a lead-off ballad Never Surrender, a story about running away, and took full advantage of Hart's good looks at the registers. I recall my friends and I in high school thinking Boy In The Box was a pretty solid collection of pop songs. On the whole, the album is one of two solid productions by Hart and would be worthy of a place on your 80s shelf. The thrilling title track, the gorgeous Everything In My Heart, the stunningly seductive Eurasian Eyes [employed for the film 9 1/2 Weeks which says something], the aching Waiting For You, rockers Komrade Kiev and Silent Talking and even Water From The Moon are all perfect pop songs. There really isn't a misstep in the bunch. In fact, I always felt like British pop act Cutting Crew lifted Everything In My Heart for their recording The Scattering  and renamed it Everything But My Pride. It sounds incredibly close and many of you know I love Cutting Crew's Broadcast , but that group took their liberties with Hart's song or so it seemed. Well, like Broadcast, Boy In The Box is a classic.
Producer Jon Astley who recorded those first two Hart efforts did a couple of albums himself in much the same vain producer Rupert Hine dabbled outside of The Fixx on his own as a self-professed singer. Astley, you might recall, came out with an excellent production called Everyone Loves The Pilot (Except The Crew) [1987; a great name for an album] and another recording called The Compleat Angler . Each effort yielded two wonderful pop singles including Jane's Getting Serious and Put This Love To The Test respectively. Astley has mastered recordings for Led Zeppelin, Tears For Fears, Paul McCartney, The Boomtown Rats, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Level 42, Eric Clapton, Toto and even Bono. Astley is an interesting character but he's an X-File for another day.
Corey Hart followed up Boy In The Box a year later with Fields Of Fire , borrowing a refrain from Big Country's The Crossing . While Fields Of Fire certainly saw Hart maturing as a songwriter and vocalist it had its hits and misses and became an uneven follow-up. The standouts include the striking I Am By Your Side, the terrifically wistful Take My Heart and a very effective and simple remake of Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling In Love, one of the better remakes I've heard. But if I'm to be honest the song was omitted from my self-made CD compilation. Seriously, who hasn't remade that song? If I never hear that song again it would be too soon. Paul Young was one of the absolute finest vocalists to remake songs out of the UK, and he never remade that one and that's saying something. But, he's a more likely X-file for another day too.
Finally, the second must-own production for the library is Hart's underrated, under appreciated and essentially discarded work Young Man Running . Two years later and his selections are more sophisticated but just as melodic. Spot You In A Coalmine and Don't Take Me To The Racetrack are upbeat numbers you'll find on his best of collection as well as here. But the best songs for my money, hands down, some of which can only be found here, are in no particular order the fantastically reflective, even nostalgic In Your Soul [this one is a pensive beauty], the gorgeous Still In Love, No Love Lost, the yearning Chase The Sun and the incredibly moving Truth Will Set You Free, a gay anthem open for other interpretations. Truth even received a work over by Hart in 2012 with newly recorded vocals and an entirely restructured track by 1 Love. Young Man Running is a wonderful production. I can't tell you how many times I saw that one in a dusty bargain bin and thought to myself, what a shame. Hart was proud of that effort and deservedly so. A lot of effort was put into it. Pulling out those songs last night and hearing them again reminded me why I loved them so much. They are timeless and well-produced, while Boy In The Box may sound a little dated with its synth-heavy compositions, Young Man Running flows with a kind of grace to it. Minor quibbles aside, those two efforts are the classics.