First Offense

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First Offense
First Offense.JPG
Studio album by Corey Hart
Released April 1984
Recorded 1982–1983 Revolution Recording Studios, Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester, England
Eel Pie Studios, London, England
Genre New wave, synthrock
Length 41:28
Label Aquarius (Canada) - AQR 537
EMI (United States) - 2401861
Producer Jon Astley, Phil Chapman
Corey Hart chronology
First Offense
(1984)
Boy in the Box
(1985)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link

First Offense is the first album by Corey Hart, released in 1984. It includes the hit single "Sunglasses at Night" and the ballad "It Ain't Enough". Hart was subsequently nominated for four Juno Awards and a Grammy Award for "Best New Artist".

Background and writing[edit]

After meeting Billy Joel in a New York City recording studio, Hart was signed to Aquarius Records and went to England to record his first album. Much of it was recorded at Revolution Recording Studios in Cheshire, where owner Andy Macpherson helped him to gather a mix of British musicians who were known for their work in other bands, including Gary Tibbs (Adam and the Ants) on bass guitar, Paul Burgess (10cc) on drums and Michael Byron-Hehir (Sad Café) on guitar. Byron-Hehir became a full-time member of Hart's band for the next seven years. The album also features a cameo by Eric Clapton, playing the Dobro (resonator guitar); a fact mentioned in Hart's early promotional materials.

Hart had completed the album by August 1982, apart from "Sunglasses at Night" which had yet to be written. In a 1985 radio interview with CHUM-FM, Hart described how he returned to Canada and then wrote the song: "I wrote 'Sunglasses' and I said to the record company "I gotta do this song. I've just got to put it on the album" because ... it's just such an immediate song for me that when I wrote it, when I wrote the riff to that song, I said there's just something about it, some magic about this song. It was one of the only songs that I've written where I actually thought of the video at the time that I was writing it. I had that same gut feeling about 'Sunglasses' the minute I wrote it." The song, with its synthesizer-driven beat and distinctive guitar, was added to the album and became the hit lead single, rising to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

The other singles from the album included the ballad "It Ain't Enough" which became a Top-20 hit, "She Got the Radio" which features a lead saxophone and "Lamp at Midnite". Hart toured North America and subsequently Europe and Australia on the strength of the "Sunglasses" single.

Three versions of First Offense were released. Both Canadian editions (on Aquarius Records) feature a black and white photograph of Hart on the cover standing against a brick wall. After the initial 1984 release, the track listing was amended for a revised 1985 issue, with one track being dropped, another added, and two tracks appearing in edited or remixed form. The U.S. edition (released on EMI in 1985) is more familiar as it is the cover used for all CD releases of the album (including the Canadian CD release) and features a color close-up shot of Hart with stubble. Both versions of the Canadian LP edition feature an extra track, "Araby (She's Just a Girl)", which was not used on the EMI edition and has never been released on CD. As well, the initial Canadian LP edition features the track "Don't Keep Your Heart" which has similarly never been issued on CD.

In the liner notes, Hart dedicated the album to his mother Mindy.

Track listings[edit]

All songs written by Corey Hart.

Original Canadian album (1984)[edit]

  1. "Sunglasses At Night" 3:58
  2. "Peruvian Lady" 4:20
  3. "She Got The Radio" 3:54
  4. "It Ain't Enough" 3:30
  5. "Araby (She's Just A Girl)" 3:40
  6. "Does She Love You" 3:31
  7. "Cheatin' In School" 4:24
  8. "Don't Keep Your Heart" 3:45
  9. "The World Is Fire" 5:03
  10. "At The Dance" 3:29
  11. "Jenny Fey" 3:35

Revised Canadian album (1984)[edit]

After the success of the initially non-LP single "Lamp At Midnite", the track listing and running order of First Offense was changed. The track "Don't Keep Your Heart" was dropped, "Lamp At Midnite" was added, "She Got The Radio" was shortened by about 15 seconds, and the single remix version of "It Ain't Enough" was substituted for the original album version.

  1. "Sunglasses At Night" 3:58
  2. "Peruvian Lady" 4:20
  3. "She Got The Radio" 3:39
  4. "It Ain't Enough" 3:29
  5. "Araby (She's Just A Girl)" 3:40
  6. "Does She Love You" 3:31
  7. "Cheatin' In School" 4:24
  8. "Lamp At Midnite" 4:10
  9. "The World Is Fire" 5:03
  10. "At The Dance" 3:29
  11. "Jenny Fey" 3:35

U.S. album (1984)[edit]

Compared to the revised Canadian version, the U.S. album featured an extended version of "Sunglasses at Night", restored the version of "She Got The Radio" back to its original length, and dropped "Araby (She's Just A Girl)". "Araby" saw release in the U.S. as the B-side of "It Ain't Enough". "Don't Keep Your Heart" (from the initial Canadian album release) was never issued in the U.S. in any form.

  1. "Sunglasses at Night" 5:20
  2. "Peruvian Lady" 4:21
  3. "Lamp at Midnite" 4:06
  4. "She Got the Radio" 3:56
  5. "It Ain't Enough" 3:31
  6. "Does She Love You" 3:35
  7. "Cheatin' in School" 4:25
  8. "The World Is Fire" 5:09
  9. "At the Dance" 3:31
  10. "Jenny Fey" 3:37

Singles[edit]

The following singles were released from the album, with the highest charting positions listed.

# Title B-side (in Canada) Date CAN US
1. "Sunglasses at Night" "Don't Keep Your Heart" 1984 24 7
2. "It Ain't Enough" "Cheatin' in School" 1984 4 17
3. "She Got the Radio" "Araby" 1984 40
4. "Lamp at Midnite" "Sunglasses at Night" (extended version) 1985 38

Charts and awards[edit]

  • First Offense reached a high of #31 on the Billboard 200 album charts.
  • The album was certified gold in the U.S. (over 500,000 sold) by the RIAA in January 1987.
  • Hart was nominated for four Juno Awards in 1984 including "Male Vocalist of the Year", "Composer of the Year", "Single of the Year" and "Best Video" (winner).

Music videos[edit]

Three music videos were produced for this album, all of them directed by Rob Quartly who was one of the most active Canadian music video directors at that time (and who went on to produce more videos for Hart).

The iconic video for "Sunglasses at Night" featured a futuristic vision of a police-run state with a young Hart wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses and trying to outrun the authorities. The video received heavy airplay on MTV and helped push the song up the Billboard charts. Quartly received the Juno Award for Video of the Year for "Sunglasses" in 1984.

Two versions of the video for the ballad "It Ain't Enough" were made, one redone for the U.S. market. The difference between these two versions is that one simply features Hart singing the song into a classic Shure model 55 microphone in a shadowy room, while the other focuses on a storyline of Hart trying to win back the affections of a girl. The audio is also different. The first version has the original mix of "It Ain't Enough", while the second version features the remix/single version, which adds a little guitar riff throughout the entire song.

The girl who appears as Hart's love interest in both the video for "Sunglasses" and one of the versions of "It Ain't Enough" is Laurie Brown, who was a host of The NewMusic and later became a VJ on MuchMusic.

Personnel[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

References[edit]