Opinion: "Never Surrender" (COVID-19 Edition)

There I was in the waning hours of August 5th, as my birthday approached Thursday morning, sharing a bunch of YouTube videos on Twitter from (mostly) 1984 — for no other reason than to have a theme to hang everything on. I had rustled up a nifty list from the folks at Album of the Year.org, a website which lists pretty much every major release from a given year. I also made an effort to stick to Top 40 songs, which were my soundtrack until sometime in high school when I learned who R.E.M. and the Smiths were.

But for me and my older sister Katy, back in ’84, it was Wham!, Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins, Culture Club, and a few others — and this tough-but-tender-looking Canadian dude named Corey Hart. He wore his sunglasses at night, so he could, so he could, something (this was the part where you pretended you knew the words and mumbled sotto voce).

Despite what some others may tell you, Hart was not a one-hit wonder of the Eighties. That’s a dirty lie! Anyone who was there knows that he had at least one, other major hit, thank you very much. And it was an even bigger hit than “Sunglasses At Night.” Yes, really.

According to Billboard.com, Hart garnered 10 Hot 100 singles in the decade, including a #7 spot for the 1984 hit most everyone knows; “Never Surrender,” in 1985, made it to #3 — and it remains his highest-charting hit today. My only guess on the misconception is that the first single from the “Boy In The Box” record (which reached #20 on the Billboard 200) got such heavy rotation on MTV that it just seems like it was everywhere.

Anyway, “Never Surrender” got its share of plays on MTV, too. In case you need a refresher (or it’s new to you), here’s the video:

Now, Hart has released a new version of the song, “Never Surrender (Angels) 2020,” which he said in a statement was inspired by what we’re all going through with COVID-19. Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada reports the singer wrote, in part:

“Since the pandemic surfaced, I have received so many heartfelt messages from people all over the world telling me how much ‘Never Surrender’ inspires them. It spurred me on to release a reworked version of the original song and film a new video (directed by Julie Masse) to accompany it.”

According to CBC.ca, Masse is Hart’s wife. The entire video was a family affair — and, ironically, it was out of necessity because of the Chinese coronavirus.

The Canadian Press publication reported:

Hart says his remake was recorded at Sanctuary Studio in Nassau, Bahamas, where he lives with his family, who all chipped in to make the video.

“As we are in a stringent lockdown here in the Bahamas, we had no other alternative but do it ourselves,” he said.

He added that it happened all in:

“One take, with no edits, and all my children worked as team crew on the shoot.”

Anyway, there’s a beautiful twist at the end of the video, so I’m going to be vague in talking about it here. One thing that pushed me to highlight this video for RedState readers was a specific gesture the man shown in it makes. It gave me one of those “aha” moments and — frankly — chills. I believe, in the re-imagining of “Never Surrender,”  it’s become a Christian anthem. Maybe that’s just how I’m interpreting it — but all art is up for interpretation, right? And I love how he changed it but kept the right parts the way they were.

You can check out more about what Hart’s up to these days at his homepage.

But like “Sunglasses At Night and the original version of the song, it’s the combination of the musical and the visual elements that give it such an emotional impact. Some things just don’t change.

See what you think:

Well? What did you think of the updated version of the song? Drop your thoughts in the comments area below!

And thanks again for reading. It means more than you know.

Becca Lower
Becca Lower is a writer with RedState and formerly worked at IJR.com as a writer and editor. She grew up outside Cincinnati, OH, in former Speaker John Boehner's district, and currently lives in Mesa, AZ.

Find her on Twitter at @BeccaJLower. Direct all tips/marriage proposals: [email protected]
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