Jenny Fey – Inside The Music

“Jenny Fey”
Words & Music by Corey Hart
Recorded at Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme, United Kingdom, April 1982.
Released on Corey Hart´s “First Offence” Album, November 1983.
Produced by Jon Astley &Phil Chapman

It was December 8, 1980. Erika and I had just returned from a movie date. Not sure which one we saw that evening but on the drive back home from dropping her off I heard “Imagine” on the Montreal radio station I always listened to. The DJ announced as the song ended that the legendary John Lennon had just been shot down in New York City in front of his home at The Dakotas . I was incredulous. I just sat in the car completely stunned.

In an instant, one single moment of random insanity, the world needlessly lost a musical genius. In those early pre fame days, I somewhat associated myself with John Lennon because I was in love with Erika who was half-Japanese (hence “Eurasian Eyes” written in 1985) Yoko Ono was Japanese. Lennon was a profound songwriter, something I aspired to become hopefully one day. “Woman” was one of our special songs together, Erika and I.

That night every Montreal radio station played John Lennon or Beatles songs. “Hey Jude”, “Let It Be”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Eleanor Rigby”. But this last one somehow left me captivated, entranced as I sat alone in my car just listening.

I was inspired, motivated, all the melodies running through my brain, my blood, my musical heart beating wildly. I raced upstairs to our apartment. My mom was at home as always, sitting alone watching TV by herself.  It was close to midnight. We talked briefly about the senseless murder. I looked at her. I heard the music of “Eleanor Rigby”.

I told her I needed to compose right away, maybe all night long. I hoped the music droning, pounding wouldn’t t keep her up. I then went straight to my piano. I began to write the nascent dreams of “Jenny Fey”.

I thought about my mom´s life. Her melancholy, her utter loneliness. My father had meant everything to her.  He was like her existence.  She married when she was just 17 years old. Can you believe. When their marriage ruptured after 5 children together, she clung desperately close to her last baby boy, Corey. Ironically, I resembled my father physically more than any of my other siblings.

The bond between us is stronger than mighty winds or oceans which might geographically separate us now. Our bond is inviolate. She has always loved me unconditionally. She has always given me the purity of her heart to follow my music.  I may not have had a father like I longed for but I had my special Mom. I wrote “Jenny Fey” for Mina Weber Hart.  I was 18 years old. Ah, it feels like a century ago but I remember staying up past 4am that December night still working on the choruses, verses. I finished the song by morning´s light. I am humbled “Jenny Fey” touched so many of you all, my true fans.

“O can’t you hear the lonely crying in the world
O can’t you feel the lonely crying in the word
Yet the Jenny Feys go on
Jenny Fey has got no friends, she feeds her cat and knits amends
Jenny Fey would smile a song but now her face is sad and drawn”

This was a portrait of my Mother in those days.

I sang JF like many others from that era on my debut Album “First Offence” without much experience or studio technique. Today, I know I could perform this song so much better, giving it depth in tone and pronunciation. But what is ´better´ anyways. It´s all subjective isn´t it? I can still hear the sincerity of my vocal despite its many shortcomings. I guess many of you hear it the same way too.

I am forever grateful for the guidance and immense talent of my two UK Producers Jon & Phil.  One afternoon while Jon and I strolled the park with his 2 young daughters near their home in Twickenham, he casually turned to me and said:

“I thought of ringing up Eric to come play on Jenny Fey.” Eric??
“Eric who?” I asked confused. Jon replied with his cheeky soft grin:
“Eric Clapton, playing on Dobro perhaps.”
Holy shit, Miracles!

The experience of watching Mr. Clapton record his Dobro will always remain one of my true career highlights. While he played so gracefully you get hear his deep breathing through the open mic.  As if he was living through the song, becoming a part of the song´s soul through the process. When he finished & came into the studio for a playback listen. He looked towards me, as I was kind of sheepishly hiding in the corner trying not to get in the way. He gently expressed words I shall never forget:
“What a very pretty song you wrote there Corey”.  Thank you Mr. Eric Clapton.  Thank you all.

Corey Hart , January 27th, 2012

10 Responses to “Jenny Fey – Inside The Music”
  1. Denise

    You amaze me even more than you use to! I guess that what 25 odd years does to someone. You still are number one Corey!

  2. Greg

    You are truely in the class of Lennon and Clapton. Your lyrics are incredible. You have to do a concert in the States (it’s been a while).

    Great new website, too!

  3. Melinda Smith

    Corey, I have loved your music, your lyrics, your voice since the FIRST time I heard it. I have relied on your songs for the past 27 years and they are part of who I am. My kids (19,17, and 9) have all grown up listening to you and if anyone asks them who their Mom’s favorite artist is, they all say, without hesitation “Corey Hart”. I have always related to, been inspired by, and actually SAVED by your music. Your music is a constant in my life, and I am thrilled to have the oppurtunity to let you know how much it means to me- and to all of us! Thank you for being you! ♥ My son’s name is Corey, and he is the “baby” (at 9) . Ever since I was 15 I said I would name my son Corey. My hubby knew this and was ok with it from the beginning because he too knows what your music means to me. Thank you . 🙂

  4. Juliet

    After all these years, I still love your music. It’s like a soft shoulder in a hard world.

    • Eddie Rivera

      Wow, I have listened to your music since I was 16 years old, thats when “First Offense” came out. This song Jenny Fay was one of the songs that really hit and opened the emotional part of me and inspired me to take on the piano. At the time I did not know how to play chords or anything melodic, but I banged that casio until my hands needed an ice pack, not to mention what happened to the cassette which I had worn out from so much rewinding. Suffice it to say, I kept listening to your music until the early 90’s when suddenly it was not played often on the radio anymore. I thank you and your music for being there in those times of confusion at the crossroads when becoming a young man, your songs kept motivating me to keep moving forward regardless of the strives and stumbles of life. I had a similar experience with my own father and somehow your music kept telling me, withstand the present pain but never perpetuate it in your future with your own children. A seed was planted in the passage of time, which is now being passed onto my children who have listened to your music all their lives. My 13 year old son said to me that, his teacher who is in his mid 40’s played Never Surrender in the class room and that he pointed out to the him that it was from Corey Hart, to the bewilderment of all the other kids. Thank You and Best Wishes.

      Eddie Rivera

  5. Alex

    I have been a fan since your first album. The updated site has been a long time coming. As a fan I am so happy that you are sharing these stories. My son is turning one and he loves your music. There will be a new generation of Corey Hart fans that will be inspired by your music just as you were with John Lennon’s music.

  6. tna

    I am confused. You have said you went to school in many different countries also that you never knew your Dad so were you traveling with your Mom? Also in some interviews you suggest you were not a good student yet through your song lyrics and interviews you seem quite well educated. Was this self education on your part or did your time spent in various schools help mold the mind that speaks and writes quite eloquently?

  7. Leanne

    This post made me cry. I used to love this song. Melinda Smith said it all. Ch, are you truly aware of the impact your music has had on us and what we in turn are doing with that. You know, like pay it forward…

    • Odd

      Sara Knoedler – John, I cannot even begin to tell you how thfaknul Corey and I are for what you have done. We love the photos wait . is there a better word?? Idk but we LOVEEEEEEEEEE them Thank you so much! We will treasure them forever. You captured so many great moments you truly are great at what you do.

  8. Kim M Balz

    This song was so important to me back in High School. I was the untimate “Jenny Fey”. I was shy, withdrawn, and stayed glued to the inside of my house. I was alone, lonely, and longed to “belong” to the teenage class who seemed to be having such a blast with their Youth,, I was an :outsider:. Corey you seemed to “get me” and I did feel valued then. :)) I played Jenny Fey- over and over again. Love Love Love this SONG!!! <3 😉 Thank YOU Corey!

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