Twenty-six years after he met his wife at the 1993 Juno Awards, Corey Hart returned with his entire family, to be inducted to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
In introducing the '80s icon, the show's host, Sarah McLachlan, told the sweet story of how Hart met his wife of nearly 20 years, Quebec singer Julie Masse. It was a last-minute scheduling change: he had initially been tapped to present the 1993 Juno for Video of the Year, but didn't think it made sense for a musician to present a visual prize. So the producers paired him up with Masse to present the award for Group of the Year (the award, if you're wondering, went to the Barenaked Ladies).
The two had palpable chemistry onstage. After the ceremony, Masse's manager made a comment about their stage presence. Hart ended up producing one of her songs, they fell in love, and the rest is history.
"Literally from the time we started seeing each other in the summer of 1994, we've never been apart for more than a few days," Hart said in a pre-Junos interview with The Canadian Press.
During his acceptance speech, a visibly emotional Hart referenced the special meaning the awards have for his family. "Without music or the Junos, I would have never met my precious Julie," he said.
By the late '90s, the couple had three young daughters, and Hart took time off from touring and recording to raise his kids. He also mentioned that in his speech, following a comment from McLachlan about how when he was faced with the choice between his family and the spotlight, Hart "chose love."
He thanked his daughters India, Dante and River, as well as his son, Rain. "As a songwriter, I can honestly say that those are the greatest songs that I'll ever write," he said.
His wife and his four children, who accompanied him to the awards, were wiping away tears in the crowd as he spoke.
He also thanked his fans. "Without you my songs would have no home, and they would ultimately be unrequited and empty," he said. "I believe music and love are the most enduring and powerful forces of good in the world."
Jessie Reyez, who was onstage just after Hart, picked up on that message. While accepting her Juno for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year after Hart's induction, Reyez told the crowd, "To quote Mr. Hart, without y'all, there's no home for my songs."
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Hart closed out the show with a stripped-down piano performance of "Never Surrender" followed by crowd-pleaser, "Sunglasses At Night," which involved him, yes, wearing sunglasses.
That fun-loving quality was present in his speech, where he also said "I'm very proud to be Canadian and very proud to be a musician," before he thanked the crowd "from the bottom of my heart — no pun intended."
With files from David Friend at The Canadian Press
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