Bryan Adams is a musician, philanthropist, and photographer hailing from Canada but known across the globe. Born in Kingston, Ontario, he shot to fame in the 1980s thanks to a steady stream of amazing hits. He was born on November 5th, 1959 as Bryan Guy Adams, after the infamous Guy Fawkes.
His songs have won Grammys and Junos and have been nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes. With a career spanning at least four decades, the Canadian rocker has released thirteen studio albums and nearly seventy singles. Adams is also known for putting on an incredible live show, often giving fans multiple encores and staying late to sign autographs. In fact, one of my favourite concert experiences was the first time I saw him live. I went with my Aunt Laurie (I have the best aunts, by the way.), and we stayed through the whole show, three encores, and to watch him sign autographs for at least an hour after the show. A performer as dedicated to his fans as Adams is deserves a proper birthday celebration. To honour his 57th birthday, here are ten of his greatest hits.
Ten Classic Hits By Bryan Adams
"Summer Of '69"
Bryan Adams was just nine in the summer of 1969, which has prompted many questions about the title, with many concluding that the title is nothing more than an allusion to oral sex framed by a cute story. Adams has essentially confirmed those suspicions, telling CBS that the song is "about making love in the summertime" and that the year was specifically chosen "as a sexual reference". He has clarified that it isn't as biographical as it seems, also confirming our suspicions that he wasn't he world's most troubled nine year old.
"Cuts Like A Knife"
"Cuts Like A Knife" was the second single from Adams' 1983 record of the same title. It was his first top 20 hit, and it set the stage for 1984's Reckless, the album that made him a star. The song is a personal favourite primarily because of how much fun it is to sing along to. Something about the way Adams sings "but how was I to know that you'd be letting go/now it cuts like a knife/but it feels so right" just begs for your own harmonies.
"Run To You"
"Run To You" is another single from the incredibly successful Reckless album. Reckless was the first album by a Canadian artist to achieve Diamond status in Canada, which is an incredible feat. "Run To You" was penned by Adams and his writing partner Jim Vallance. The song was originally offered to Blue Oyster Cult, who, thankfully, turned it down. I mean, can you imagine the song with cowbell? Also, skip to 2:37 to hear my favourite guitar riff in history.
"Heaven" hit number one on the Billboard chart and was one of the most successful singles from Reckless. Bryan Adams wrote the song while opening for Journey and has said that their 1983 song "Faithfully" was an inspiration. Fun Fact: "Heaven" was Adams' first number one hit in the United States.
"Heat Of The Night"
"Heat Of The Night" was a 1987 single from Into The Fire, Adams' first record released after Reckless. The song reached number six on the Billboard charts and has remained a fan favourite every since. It was influenced, in part, by a recent trip taken by Vallance and Adams to Berlin and by a re-watch of the Orson Welles classic The Third Man.
"It's Only Love"
Recording this song was close to a dream come true for Adams. He told Songfacts that it was "amazing" to duet with the iconic Tina Turner. "I used to go to see her in the clubs when I was in my late teens/early 20s," Adams explained, saying that "it was incredible to watch her. It was such a privilege to have sung with her". The song itself is fantastic and perfect for just about any time romance, or the lack thereof, is making you want to tear your hair out in frustration. And, yes, Ms. Turner, he is really cute.
"There Will Never Be Another Tonight"
I dare you to listen to this song and not feel just a little bit happier by the time it's over. I'm not sure if it's the catchy chorus, the allegation that the desired female rides a broom, or the fact that it actually sounds like Adams was having a blast when he was recording the song, but something about it just lifts my mood each and every time I hear it. For a completely unique take on the hit, check out figure skating pairs champions Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler's 1993 Olympic Exhibition performance, set to this song. Fun Fact: Lloyd Eisler also lived in Kingston for a period of time.
"Hearts On Fire"
"Hearts On Fire" was another single from 1987's Into The Fire. For many fans, and for Vallance himself, the song seemed out of place on the darker album, with some (including Vallance) believing it was better suited to the more upbeat tones of 1984's Reckless. Adams, however, felt differently, saying that it was a great bridge between the two records. As the massive Bryan Adams fangirl that I am, it will come as no surprise that I also believe the song is best suited to Into The Fire. "Hearts on Fire" has a underlying theme of longing, one that fits into the darker tone of the record while still giving the album a bit of levity as a whole.
"Kids Wanna Rock"
"Kids Wanna Rock" was never released as a single on its own but proved to be popular enough among fans to warrant significant radio play regardless. Numerous live recordings of the song were released as B-sides to other singles, which is how the song managed to achieve any radio success. Anecdotally speaking, it's one of the most popular Bryan Adams songs on Canadian classic rock stations.
"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"
Okay, full disclosure here: I absolutely hate this song. Don't get me wrong; I love the lyrics, and the music can't help but touch even the coldest of hearts. But, whether it's due to my bitterness, cynicism, or the fact that the song was on the radio each and every time I turned it on from the ages of 10 until 14, I can't stand it. However, I won't deny that it's incredibly popular. It's the biggest hit Adams has ever released, and it's the theme to many successful, happy romantic relationships (as well as one of Kevin Costner's best movies). But, if you want a fantastic example of what an amazing Bryan Adams love song sound like, check out "The Only One", from Cuts Like A Knife. I mean, just read the lyrics to this this verse:
'Cause it's been so long/since I've felt so strong/about anyone at all/ I get so excited/I ain't gonna fight it/I think I might be falling in love
How are you not in love yet??
BONUS: "When The Night Comes"
Adams wrote this song for legendary rocker Joe Cocker, for his One Night Of Sin album. Adams later recorded it when he was on the road and included a live version on his 1994 VHS release So Far So Good (And More). The acoustic version recorded by Adams has been my favourite song from the moment I heard it. Lyrics like "we'll pick up all the pieces of this shattered dream/we're gonna make it out some day" combined with the echoing refrain of "I just wanna be the one you run to ... wanna be there beside you/when the night comes" have a huge heart-melting effect. If "The Only One" didn't make you fall head over heels in love, this one certainly will.
Did we forget your favourite? Let us know in the comments!