Picking Apart The Whole Sunglasses At Night Phenom

I’ve always had trouble with the logic of wearing sunglasses at night.

The phenomenon (or “phenom” for short) began in the mid-80’s when super one-hit wonderer, Corey Hart blasted onto the scene with his hit song Sunglasses at Night. It raced up the charts like a fireball, burning up the competition, and forever solidifying Hart’s place in history as a pop singing star who possessed the unique talent of writing songs that made no logical sense whatsoever.

And that’s why we’ll spend today picking apart the whole “sunglasses at night” phenom.

To begin with, we might as well break down the “logical reasons” that Corey Hart suggests wearing sunglasses at night and why he, the singer himself, wore them at night in the narrative of the song. Hart suggests that he wears those sunglasses at night so he can:

  • Watch you weave then breathe your story lines
  • Keep track of the visions in his eyes
  • Forget his name while you collect your claim
  • See the light that’s right before his eyes
  • Cry to you

I don’t know about you — but he just ain’t selling me on the whole sunglasses at night thing.

First of all, I can watch you weave and breathe your story lines no matter if I’m wearing sunglasses. In fact, if I’m watching you weave and breathe your story lines on a laptop, at night, those sunglasses aren’t going to help me in being able to even read what you’re typing on screen. And if you’re writing them on a legal pad with a number two pencil – forget about it. Pencil lead is hard to see with sunglasses on.

As for keeping track of the visions in your eyes, I have to give it to Corey Hart on that one. For, if you’re blocking out the light and wearing sunglasses — you’ll be better able to concentrate on the pictures and visions you’re imagining are in your head and be able to turn inward to look at them. Although, it’s nighttime anyway, so do you really need the glasses to do that? I say, go to some dark room, close the shades and just keep track of the visions in your eyes that way. Now, if this song was about wearing sunglasses during the day, it would be a different story. Then, I could support Corey Hart suggesting that you wear sunglasses during the day so you could:

  • Keep out the sun while I watch you type your storylines on a laptop computer in a really bright Starbucks coffee
  • Keep track of the visions in your eyes and keep the sunlight from distracting you

But what about forgetting your name while collecting your claim? I don’t know about you, but just because I wear sunglasses I’m not going to forget my name when I go up to the bank teller in the last few minutes of the business day and ask them to cash my weekly paycheck. There’s no way. In fact, I might want to wear my sunglasses so they don’t see that egotistical look in my eyes as I pull in the cold hard cash.

As for seeing the light that’s right before my eyes — this seems to make sense to me. That’s the only way to look at the sun, or stare into a really bright marquee at night, by wearing sunglasses. Here, finally, the Hartster is finally making some sense. Course, if you forget your name and then find yourself staring at marquees and the police ask for your I.D. and you can’t even tell them who you are and you’re mumbling on and on about picking up your claim and then you start crying or something…

Say hello to the slammer, my friend.

Personally, if I was wearing sunglasses at night, I would suggest wearing them for a different (and more sane) list of reasons. I would wear sunglasses at night so I could:

  • Look cool
  • Lie, without people knowing I was lying
  • Hide my bloodshot eyes, from the previous night of partying
  • Keep my dates from seeing that I’m not really looking at them over a candlelit dinner
  • Keep my pupils dilated for as long as possible, as part of my friend’s latest idiotic game, “Who Can Keep Their Pupils Dilated The Longest!?”
  • Cry to you, without you knowing I was crying to you, in an attempt to seem emotional…but not that emotional.

These are just my personal thoughts, but I think you’ll all probably agree that Corey Hart has a long way to go when it comes to writing lyrics that make sense in a world such as ours.

16 comments on “Picking Apart The Whole Sunglasses At Night Phenom

  1. jerry - September 5, 2006 at 8:50 am -

    Paul I agree that his first couple of reasons are weak but I think Cory is ‘fessing up with reasons 3 and 5 – forgetting his name while you collect your claim and cry to you. Anyone will tell you making it in the Biz is tough work. Sometimes it is humiliating before it is exhilarating. Cory had to pimp himself before making it as a one hit wonder. the glasses helped him forget who he was while his customers collected their claim. He wore them to hide the tears he cried while pimping himself. Now when you look at reason #4, see the light right before his eyes, he is just saying, the glasses again help him to see himself as the pimped out man ho he was before this song topped the charts thus gving him the inspiration to write this auto-biographical ballad.

    Once I cracked the Cory Hart code, the song moved me like no other had before or since. Powerful stuff, man. If I were a struggling man ho, singer/song writer I would wear my sun glasses at night in solidarity. As it is I wear them now because my future is so bright…

  2. The Centaur - September 5, 2006 at 9:21 am -


    As Corey Hart advises, “Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades, oh no.”

    I’m not sure what exactly that means, but this post might be doing that. Fair warning.


  3. susan - September 5, 2006 at 9:40 am -

    I run my dishwasher at night. I run my dishwasher at night, so I can, so I can, have some clean dishes when I wake. (that’s just about as interesting as Corey Hart’s reasons for his behavior.)

  4. Dave2 - September 5, 2006 at 9:56 am -

    Huh. All this time I thought it was “watch you LIVE AND breathe your story-line”. Always learning something new at WFME…

  5. Hilary - September 5, 2006 at 10:00 am -

    I’m with Dave2. Thanks for the misheard lyrics lesson, Pauly.

  6. Pauly D - September 5, 2006 at 10:12 am -

    Centaur – What Corey was trying to say (he’s always “trying to say” something isn’t he?) with “don’t masquerade with the guy in shades” is that you shouldn’t go spend time with him while wearing a costume. So, had this post been put up on Halloween, then I’d be worried. But I’m not, so there.

    Dave & Hil – Yeah, it’s a good thing he wasn’t suggesting we “live and breathe” our story lines. Just plain scary.

  7. James Cooper - September 5, 2006 at 11:00 am -

    Yeah, but, “I wear my nightvision goggles at night” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

  8. The Centaur - September 5, 2006 at 11:03 am -

    Ok, you’re probably safe. Just don’t get on Corey Hart’s bad side. He’s tenacious. He Never Surrenders.

  9. cdub - September 5, 2006 at 12:04 pm -

    I once wore my sunglasses at night (well, it was dusk, really), because I’d been wearing them all day and my eyes were so used to having them on that I forgot about them – I was embarassed when it was pointed out to me and I took them off hastily. Maybe, just maybe, our beloved Corey Hart was in a similar situation, but was so embarassed by it, he was inspired to write this song in order to refute the idea that he may have forgotten to take his sunglasses off…..

  10. monkeyinabox - September 5, 2006 at 12:36 pm -

    Corey Hart was really a man a head of his time. Back then, thsi song was about The World Series of Poker. Yep, Corey knew that sunglasses were the key to playing in those all-night poker games.

    “While she’s deceiving me, It cuts my security” – Can you trust her bluff, or does she have pocket aces?

    “And I wear my sunglasses at night, So I can, so I can, Forget my name while you collect your claim” – Nice call, good pot.

    “Don’t switch the blade, On the guy in shades, oh-no, Don’t masquerade” – Well, I’m not sure what this has to do with poker, but it’s poetry of the finest, says I!

  11. Flower Girl - September 5, 2006 at 1:07 pm -

    I like to visualize the moment when Corey finished up this record at the recording studio. That moment where he was like “Yeah, man…that’s cool. That’s exactly what I wanted to say.” Then he put on his shades and strolled out into the night…

  12. Jennifer - September 5, 2006 at 2:42 pm -

    I wear sunglasses at night when I’ve got a big ol’ glare headache. Yes, I look cool, but I’m still waiting for the aspirin to kick in.

  13. Karl - September 6, 2006 at 6:36 am -

    I always thought Corey was on something when he wrote that one. That’s why he really needed to wear the shades at night, to hide his big red eyes.

  14. Julia Farley - September 6, 2006 at 3:49 pm -

    Those specs were on because hie ego grew so big it blew out the front lobe of his brain, thus causing serious eye impediment. Felt sorta like a frozen Vagus Nerve, ice dream headach. Someone should have glued those suckers onto the bridge of his nose. Then he would have at least a smattering of veracity to his resons for keeping them on in the dark of night.

    Ego, I tell you. It blows out your mind. Makes a mess of things. Makes you bump into things in the night. Boo!

  15. cinekat - September 7, 2006 at 7:23 am -

    I lost a contact lens while on holiday and, inspiteo f being practically legally blind, preferred to roam the night wearing one lens rather than look like a pretentious twat in prescription sunglasses. My depth perception suffered, but my dignity did not (ok, maybe ust that one time)
    So in conclusion, CH, I’m not buying it.

  16. Lynn - September 8, 2006 at 12:50 pm -

    OMG! I always thought Corey was saying “Don’t masturbate with the guy in shades!” Eeek!

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