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Music / Bryan Adams

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"I've seen it all from the bottom to the top!
Everywhere I go—the kids wanna rock!"

One of Canada's most successful musicians, Bryan Guy Adams OC (born 5 November 1959) entered the music industry as a songwriter in the late 1970s before achieving solo fame in The '80s. Initially marketed as a "Canadian Springsteen", Adams developed his own distinctive melodic rock beginning with his second album, You Want It, You Got It.

In 1984, Adams became a global superstar with the release of his most successful album, Reckless, which produced a number of hit singles, including the anthemic "Summer of '69" and the Power Ballad "Heaven".

In 1991, Adams teamed up with Robert John "Mutt" Lange to record the album Waking Up The Neighbours. During these sessions they wrote a new ballad for the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack. Originally intended to be given to another artist, Adams released "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" himself, and it subsequently became ludicrously successful.

While his success has declined in America, Adams is still very popular in Europe and remains one of the most influential and best-selling Canadian artists of all time. Adams is also a very accomplished professional photographer.

Not to be confused with Ryan Adams, nor with Brian Adams, aka Crush.


  • Award-Bait Song: Starting with the Robin Hood song, he became well known for these.
  • Best Years of Your Life/Love Nostalgia Song: "Summer of '69". In the chorus, he even says outright "Those were the best days of my life".
    • Fun fact: he was 9 years old in 1969, so he took his nostalgia from somewhere else. (His co-writer, Jim Vallance, was 17.)
  • Canada, Eh?
  • Changing Chorus: "Summer Of '69" changes all but the last line of the chorus between the first and second verses and the second line between the second and third.
    • First verse:
      But when I look back now,
      that summer seemed to last forever.
      And if I had the choice,
      yeah, if there was one, I'd be there.
      Those were the best days of my life.
    • Second verse:
      Standing on your mama's porch,
      you told me that you'd wait forever.
      Oh, and when you held my hand,
      I knew that it was now or never.
      Those were the best days of my life.
    • Third verse:
      Standing on your mama's porch,
      you told me that it'd last forever.
      Oh, and when you held my hand,
      I knew that it was now or never.
      Those were the best days of my life.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Grey. Many records of his feature black and white photos of him on the cover. His album You Want It You Got It features a painted in grey background. This color scheme was probably done to distinguish him from the brightly colored album covers of The '80s and became a standard for him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Into the Fire album.
  • Double Entendre:
    • 18 'til I Die is essentially "Double Entendre: The Album".
    • Adams confirmed in an interview that "Summer of '69" actually is named in reference to the sex act and that anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. His co-writer, Jim Vallance, however claims otherwise. (It's possible that Vallance was thinking of the year and Adams wasn't, considering that Vallance was 17 at the summer of 1969, but Adams was only 9.)
  • Drive-In Theater: Part of the video for "Summer of '69" is set there.
    Spent my evenings down at the drive-in
    And that's where I met you, yeah!
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: His first recordings as part of the band "Sweeney Todd" are definitely this, where he sings in a falsetto British accent that was his attempt at singing like the band's previous singer. Similarly, his first single "Let Me Take You Dancing", which is a disco-influenced song, with some varispeed on the vocals making him sound younger than he is. From his first album onwards, he starts to reach his recognisable sound, but doesn't quite get there until his second album You Want It You Got It.
  • Empty Swimming Pool Dive: The video for "Cuts Like A Knife" features one.
  • Epic Rocking: While they are not very rock, his ballads "Let's Make a Night to Remember", "Do I Have to Say the Words" and "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (at least the album version) all clock in at over six minutes each. The mid-tempo song "Don't Drop That Bomb on Me" just makes the cut at six minutes dead and "Native Son" gets over the line at 6:04
  • Genre Roulette: Though his primary genre is pop-rock or ballads, Adams has experimented with Disco ("Let Me Take You Dancing", "Don't Ya Say It"), Punk ("You Want It, You Got It"), Reggae ("Reggae Christmas", "I Want It All"), Blues ("If Ya Wanna Be Bad, Ya Gotta Be Good", "Black Pearl"), Rap ("Bin There, Done That"), Dance ("Don't Give Up", "Cloud Number 9") as well as acoustic renditions of harder songs (the most famous being "I'm Ready").
  • Glory Days: Deconstructed by "Summer of '69".
  • Greatest Hits: "So Far So Good", "The Best Of Me", "Anthology" and "Ultimate". "Anthology" is the only one to include material from all of Adams' albums up to that point (including the first two) but "Ultimate" covers some of the material released afterwards.
  • Green Aesop: "Don't Drop That Bomb on Me" is a rather unsubtle one.
  • Intercourse with You: "Give Me Your Love", "I'm Ready", "Heaven", "Summer Of '69", "Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven", "Before The Night Is Over", as well as a good half of the songs on "18 Til I Die" (which is practically a Concept Album about the subject).
  • In the Style of: A few examples
    • Jim Vallance said that "Coming Home" was written in the style of Rod Stewart, though he said that they never got the chance to offer the song to him so Adams kept it.
    • Adams and Vallance wrote "Run To You" in the style of "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult and offered it to the group as a potential comeback single, though they turned it down.
    • A Reckless outtake "Too Hot To Handle" strongly resembles "Gimme All Your Lovin" and "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top which were current hits at the time of its recording. It's especially evident in the drum pattern, which uses the style of drum machine used on those songs.
  • The Not-Remix: "I'm Ready (Extended Version)" [from the US promo 12" of This Time) is actually the full uncut studio track - otherwise unreleased as the album version was edited for time. It features a second guitar solo and complete ending. On the album, it was shortened by 2 minutes - then an earlier part of the song was simply repeated and faded out.
    • "Run To You (Specially Remixed Version)" is oddly enough, no different to the album version.
  • Ode to Youth: "Summer of '69"
  • Quitting to Get Married: In "Summer of '69", he describes how his first band never got far because "Jimmy quit and Jody got married" (Jody, actually a guy, refers to Bryan's sound manager.)
  • Rearrange the Song: The "MTV Unplugged" album and in particular its rearrangement of "I'm Ready" into a slow orchestral ballad, which became a hit single. Years later Adams repeated the trick with an entire acoustic tour and live album called "Bare Bones".
    • Adams had a couple of single releases where remixes were more popular than the original -these being the disco mix of his first single "Let Me Take You Dancing", and years later the Chicane mix of "Cloud Number Nine".
  • Spell My Name with an S: It's "Summer of '69" not "'69"
    • Adams is fond of the phonetic spelling 'ya' for you, and it frequently appears printed as such in the booklets for his albums, as well as in the track titles "Fits Ya Good", "Is Your Momma Gonna Miss Ya", "If Ya Wanna Be Bad - Ya Gotta Be Good" to name a few. However, he does have a fair few tracks that are just 'you'.
  • Textless Album Cover: "On A Day Like Today" does not appear on the cover of its CD or digital versions, though it is present under the clear jewel tray. It is, however, present on the cassette cover.
  • Title by Year: "Summer of '69", released in 1985.
  • Title-Only Chorus:
    • "You Want It, You Got It"
    • "Long Gone"
  • Title Track: "You Want It, You Got It", "Cuts Like A Knife", "Into The Fire", "18 Til I Die", "On A Day Like Today", "The Best Of Me" and "Room Service". Averted with "Reckless" and "So Far So Good", as they were both omitted from the albums they gave their names to (though released years later).
  • Vocal Tag Team: Adams is fond of duets, for example: "It's Only Love" (with Tina Turner), "All For Love" (with Rod Stewart and Sting), "Rock Steady" (with Bonnie Raitt), "I Finally Found Someone" (With Barbra Streisand), "When You're Gone" (with Melanie C) and "The Way You Make Me Feel" (with Ronan Keating) and "Don't Let Go" (with Sarah McLachlan).