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From the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist Bryan Adams was one of the most successful recording artists in popular music worldwide. Usually dressed in blue jeans, sneakers, and white T-shirts, the energetic performer stalked stages around the globe, electric guitar in hand, singing his own up-tempo pop/rock songs and ballads before audiences numbering in the tens of thousands. He released a series of multi-platinum albums containing chart-topping singles featured in popular motion pictures. His raspy voice, simple compositions, and straightforward musical approach earned him early critical approbation as a likable rock & roll journeyman.
In January 1978, Adams met Jim Vallance. Seven years Adams' senior, Vallance had been the drummer in the successful Canadian band Prism and had written most of the songs for their self-titled debut album under the pseudonym Rodney Higgs. But, finding that he disliked touring, he had left the band and was trying to develop a career as a songwriter and producer. He and Adams agreed to form a partnership in which they would co-write songs and he would produce demo tapes of them, on which Adams would sing.
Utilizing Vallance's connections, they began sending those demos to Canadian music publishing companies, and in August 1978 they were signed to a songwriting and production deal with Irving-Almo Music, the publishing arm of A&M Records. Adams, meanwhile, was negotiating with RCA Victor Records for a separate recording contract, but when A&M got wind of that, they quickly signed him as an artist as well. In February 1979, A&M released his first single, the Adams/Vallance composition "Let Me Take You Dancing," a disco song he later disavowed, particularly the 12" single remix version. It spent 23 weeks in the Billboard dance chart, peaking at number 22, with a reported worldwide sale of 240,000 copies. March 1979 saw the release of Rock n' Roll Nights by BTO (formerly Bachman-Turner Overdrive), which Vallance had produced and on which he had placed several songs. Next, Adams and Vallance placed songs on the third Prism album, Armageddon, with "Rodney Higgs" and Adams credited on "Take It or Leave It," Adams collaborating with Prism guitarist Lindsay Mitchell on "Jealousy" (later recorded for Adams' second album), and Adams writing "You Walked Away Again" alone. Adams and Vallance also placed "I'm Ready" on the 1979 album Goose Bumps by former Stories singer Ian Lloyd. (Adams would record his own version of the song on his third album.)
Meanwhile, Adams was working on his debut LP, and Bryan Adams was released on February 12, 1980. The album was not released initially in the
As songwriters, Adams and Vallance continued to place their extra material with other artists. "Jump," written by Adams and band member Paul Dean, was featured on Loverboy's quadruple-platinum album Get Lucky, released in October 1981. And in January 1982, Prism's fourth album, Small Change, featured the Adams/Vallance compositions "Don't Let Him Know" and "Stay," the former becoming a number one hit on the mainstream rock chart and a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100. Adams toured
Meanwhile, Adams and Vallance had accepted an offer to write their first song for the movies, and November 1983 saw the opening of A Night in Heaven and the release of its soundtrack album, featuring their song "Heaven," which Adams performed. The track made the Top Ten of the mainstream rock chart in early 1984, but Adams declined to release it as a single just then. Instead, he held it back for his next album, which he and Vallance began writing after he completed a tour of the
Adams' fourth album, Reckless, was released on his 25th birthday, November 5, 1984, preceded by the single "Run to You," which reached the Top Ten. It was followed by no less than five Top 20 singles drawn from the album: "Somebody," "Heaven" (which hit number one), "Summer of '69" (Top Ten), "One Night Love Affair," and a duet with Tina Turner, "It's Only Love." The LP, which hit number one in the
Adams' success made him and Vallance, if anything, even more appealing to other artists as songwriters. In August 1985, Loverboy featured another of their compositions, "Dangerous," on the Lovin' Every Minute of It album. The song was later released as a single and reached the Hot 100. In September, Roger Daltrey included two Adams/Vallance songs, "Rebel" and "Let Me Down Easy," on his album Under a Raging Moon, and "Let Me Down Easy" also became a chart single. (The songwriters reworked "Rebel" for the next Adams album.) Adams was also in demand as a guest performer on records. Vallance was producing the Canadian group Glass Tiger, and Adams came in to sing a duet vocal on their song "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)." It hit number one in
Into the Fire, the fifth Bryan Adams album, was released in March 1987, prefaced by the single "Heat of the Night," which became Adams' fifth Top Ten hit in the
After finishing his tour in support of Into the Fire, Adams became involved in the Clint Eastwood movie Pink Cadillac, taking a bit part in the film and, with Vallance, co-writing "Drive All Night," which Dion sang on the soundtrack, released in May 1989. Adams, Vallance, and Diane Warren also wrote "When the Night Comes," which was featured on Joe Cocker's album One Night of Sin in August 1989 and, when released as a single, reached the Top 20. Unfortunately, this was one of Adams and Vallance's final collaborations. They broke up their songwriting partnership in August 1989. Adams teamed up with writer/producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, previously known for his work with AC/DC, Foreigner, and Def Leppard, to write songs for his next album. In December 1989, Live! Live! Live!, a concert album drawn from the 1988
In 1991, Adams was approached by the producers of the upcoming Kevin Costner film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and asked to work on a theme song. He was provided a melody written by the composer of the movie's score, Michael Kamen. With this, he and Lange fashioned "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," which he also recorded and which played under the closing credits of the film when it opened on June 14, 1991. Meanwhile, although he was still putting the finishing touches on his album, he had committed to begin a concert tour in support of it, and on June 8, 1991, he had gone back on the road in
Adams finally finished his sixth album, Waking Up the Neighbours, and released it on September 24, 1991, supporting it with his Waking Up the World tour, which ran through July 1993. Also featuring the Top Ten hit "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" and three other Top 40 hits, "There Will Never Be Another Tonight," "Do I Have to Say the Words?" (both co-written by Adams, Lange, and Vallance), and "Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven" (plus, of course, "[Everything I Do] I Do It for You"), the album sold four million copies in the U.S. and another six million in the rest of the world, becoming the second best selling single, second only to "We Are The World". It also earned Adams six Grammy nominations (a record for a Canadian): record of the year, song of the year, best pop vocal performance (male), and best song written specifically for a motion picture or TV, all for "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," and best rock vocal performance solo and best rock song for "Can't Stop This Thing We Started." "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" was also nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe. (Adams' only victory was the Grammy for movie song, for best song written specifically for a motion picture or television ("(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"). In the peculiar ways of the Grammys, there was also another nomination the following year for best rock male vocalist for "There Will Never Be Another Tonight.")
As he began to look forward to his next album, Adams as usual placed songs with other artists. "Feels Like Forever," co-written with Diane Warren, appeared on Joe Cocker's Night Calls album in July 1992, and "Why Must We Wait Until Tonight?," co-written with Lange, was sung by Tina Turner on the soundtrack to her film biography, What's Love Got to Do With It, in June 1993, later becoming a singles chart entry. Adams released a hits compilation, So Far So Good, in November 1993. It was a multi-platinum success, and "Please Forgive Me," a new Adams/Lange track on it, reached # 1. Within weeks came Adams' theme song for the movie The Three Musketeers, "All for Love" (co-written with Lange and Michael Kamen), recorded with Rod Stewart and Sting, which hit number one in the U.S. on January 22, 1994. The same month, Adams embarked on an ambitious tour of the Far East, including countries rarely visited by a Western pop artist, among them
Adams maintained a low profile through 1994 and the beginning of 1995 as, once again, he and Lange painstakingly crafted a new album. He re-emerged in the spring of 1995, however, with another romantic ballad written as the theme song for a film, the flamenco-tinged "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" (once again co-written with Lange and Kamen) from the Johnny Depp/Marlon Brando film Don Juan DeMarco. And he was rewarded with his fourth number one hit on June 3, 1995, as well as a Grammy nomination for best male pop vocal performance and his second Oscar nomination, for best song. He is one of two non-American singers to have four number one hits and the most successful Canadian singer ever.
In the fall, he contributed "Rock Steady" (co-written with Gretchen Peters) to Bonnie Raitt's live album Road Tested, performing the song as a duet with her, and the two shared a chart single with the song. These successes were enough to hold his fans until May 1996, when he finally delivered his seventh new studio album, 18 'Til I Die, which has garnered him another 2 Grammy nominations, and launched an 18-month world tour to promote it. Although it went platinum in the
Adams' next hit was something of a surprise, since it found him in the realm of country music. Lonestar released his and Lange's "You Walked In" on its Crazy Nights album in June 1997, and the song went on to become a Top 20 country hit and pop singles chart entry. Less surprising was his penning (with Jean-Jacques Goldman and Eliot Kennedy) of the title song for Celine Dion's November 1997 album Let's Talk About Love, which went on to top the charts and sell ten million copies in the U.S. Meanwhile, having finished up his tour, Adams filmed an appearance for MTV's popular Unplugged series on September 26, 1997, and it was released as an album, "MTV Unplugged" in December. It was only a modest success, but served as a stopgap until the appearance of his next studio album, On a Day Like Today, which was released in October 1998. On this album, Adams changed gears, abandoning Lange in favor of several songwriting collaborators, the most prominent of whom was Gretchen Peters, and completely eschewing ballads in an attempt to reestablish himself as a rocker. In the
Adams was absent from the American charts for more than a year, then surprisingly returned via the dance charts for the first time in two decades. His vocals were heard on Chicane's "Don't Give Up," which was a number three dance hit in the spring of 2000. Adams himself, meanwhile, was collaborating with Hans Zimmer on his first full-length song score for a film, the animated DreamWorks feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which appeared in the spring of 2002. Its soundtrack made the Top 40, and the emphasis track "Here I Am," featuring Adams, peaked at number five in the adult contemporary chart.
Adams released his ninth studio album, Room Service, and the two CD/one DVD set Anthology in 2005. 11 followed in 2008.
Bryan Adams’ Trivia…
He may be
His album, Reckless (1984), is the best-selling Canadian album of all time. He received the Diamond Sales Award (equivalent of a platinum award in the
His 1991 album was declared "non-Canadian" at the time, because some of the songs were co-authored by RJ Lange, who's British. The regulations later changed and Waking Up The Neighbours (1991) was declared a Canadian album.
Refuses to attend the Juno Awards (
Of his #1 hits, only one ("Heaven") was not written for a motion picture.
The title theme to the film A Night in Heaven (1983) was recorded at the time of the film's release and, at the time, his album, "Cuts Like A Knife (1983)", yielded several Top 10 hits. The song was later included in his album, "Reckless (1984)", which later became a Top 10 hit. The same album also has a duet with Tina Turner titled "It's Only Love".
Had a number one single for 16 weeks (4 months) in
His first job was washing dishes.
He was awarded the C.M. (Member of the Order of
Recorded "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" in Spanish in 1992.
Bryan Adams’ Albums…
I love Bryan Adams’ voice, and it’s nice to know he’s still recording new songs. He has a new CD, Eleven (2008), I need to get a copy, and listen to it.
My favorite Adams’ songs are Cuts Like A Knife, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Kids Wanna Rock, Please Forgive Me, Run Rudolph Run (a loud, edgy, different song, to mix in with all the cheesy ballads, during the holidays), Somebody, Something About Christmas Time (another holiday tune), Straight From The Heart (probably my favorite – I love how he can do hard, edgy, rock songs, then, create an awesome ballad like this, with some great piano playing), Summer Of ’69, and This Time.