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
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