The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
Bryan Adams

Born into a military family on 5 November 1959 in Kingston, Ontario, Bryan Guy Adams spent most of his childhood living all around the world, attending military schools in Austria, Israel, Portugal and France  until, at the age of 14, he was taken to Vancouver by his recentl-divorced mother. He dropped out of school at age 16, formed a band and played the Vancouver nightclub scene, augmenting his finances with jobs as a clerk in a pet store and dishwasher at the Tomahawk Restaurant. In 1976 he replaced Nick Gilder as frontman for the band Sweeney Todd. In 1978, a mutual friend introduced him to Jim Vallance, a songwriter and drummer for the band Prism; the two hit it off and began a songwriting collaboration that would last for many years. They penned two tracks for  Prism's 1980 album Armageddon, and also wrote hit songs for groups like Backman Turner-Overdrive, Joe Cocker, Loverboy and Bonnie Tyler.  A&M signed Adams to a recording contract for the sum of one dollar; in 1979, the artist's first release for the label, "Let Me Take You Dancing", became a disco hit, selling 80,000 copies in the New York City market alone. Now managed by Bruce Allen (Bachman Turner-Overdrive), Adams recorded his debut album in Toronto in 1980. Though the album produced no hits, A&M remained confident in Adams -- a confidence amply rewarded in the Eighties, during which Adams established himself as a mainstream rock'n'roll star, whose trademark hard-edged, down-to-basics sound and raspy vocals contributed to an incredible string of hit songs...


November 1980
Adams' debut album, Bryan Adams, featuring Keith Scott on guitar, Dan Taylor on bass, and Jim Vallance on drums, is released by A&M.
March 1982
In a year that Adams spends on the road opening for the Kinks, Foreigner and Loverboy, the album You Want It, You Got It reaches US#115, while the single "Lonely Nights" peaks at US#84.
May 1983
Adams opens for Journey on tour; the ballad "Straight From The Heart" becomes his first hit, climbing to US#10.
June 1983
Cuts Like A Knife, featuring Foreigner's Lou Gramm and Chic's Alfa Anderson on backup vocals, soars to #8 on the US album chart. Mickey Curry replaces Vallance on drums, while Vallance concentrates on co-songwriting duties. (He would co-write with Adams virtually every song on subsequent albums during the 1980s.)
August 1983
"Cuts Like A Knife" reaches US#15; its parent album by the same name is certified platinum by the RIAA.
October 1983
"This Time" makes it to US#24. Soon Adams will play his first concerts in the UK. By year's end he will have spent 283 days on the road, and earned a reputation as a standout live performer.
January 1985
"Run To You" climbs to US#6 and becomes Adams' first UK hit, peaking at UK#11 the following month. Its video is an MTV favorite.
March 1985
Reckless, co-produced by Adams and Bob Clearmountain, soars to UK#7 in its first week. Adams again tours UK, this time supporting Tina Turner on her Private Dancer tour.
April 1985
"Somebody" climbs to US#11 and UK#35.
June 1985
"Heaven," featured two years earlier on the soundtrack to A Night in Heaven, hits UK#38. It will reach the top of the US chart, becoming the artist's first million-selling single.
July 1985
Adams opens the Philadelphia Live Aid benefit concert at JFK Stadium. He, Vallance and David Foster have composed "Tears Are Not Enough," recorded by Canada's Northern Lights all-star gathering, proceeds going towards Ethiopian famine relief.
August 1985
Reckless reaches #1 on the US album chart. (It would eventually sell over eight million units.) "Summer of '69" peaks at US#5 and UK #42.
September 1985
1982's You Want It, You Got It makes it to UK#78.
November 1985
"One Night Love Affair" climbs to US#13. A duet with Tina Turner, "It's Only Love," reaches UK#29. In january of 1986 the song will peak at US#15.
March 1986
1983's "This Time" is re-released in the UK and this time makes it to #41 on the singles chart, while Cuts Like A Knife hits UK #21.
June 1986
Along with Sting, U2 and Peter Gabriel, Adams participates in the two-week Amnesty International "A Conspiracy of Hope" tour.
July 1986
1983's "Straight From The Heart" is reissued in the UK, and climbs to #51.
September 1986
"It's Only Love" wins Best Stage Performance at the 3rd Annual MTV Video Music Awards.
February 1987
Adams appears on Rock For Amnesty with Paul McCartney, Sting and Dire Straits, among others.
April 1987
Into The Fire soars to UK #10 and is on a fast track to its peak at US#7. "Heat Of The Night" climbs to UK#50, and next month will hit US#6; it will have the distinction of being the first commercially-released cassette single in the U.S.
June 1987
Adams participates in the 5th Annual Prince's Trust Rock Gala at London's Wembley Stadium, along with Elton John, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and others. While in London he records a live version of "Run Rudolph Run" for a charity album, A Very Special Album which reaches US#20 and UK#40 in December.
August 1987
"Hearts On Fire" makes it to US#26. Last month it peaked at UK#57.
October 1987
"Victim Of Love" climbs to US#32 and peaks at UK#68.
June 1988
Adams takes part in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium. In July he will headline the Peace Festival in East Berlin, with an audience estimated at 140,000.
December 1988
A live album, Live! Live! Live!, is released in Japan.
March 1989
Rainbow Warriors, an album supporting Greenpeace and featuring Adams with other artists, is released in the Soviet Union on the Melodiya label.


Bryan Adams (A&M, 1980)
Hidin' From Love
Win Some Lose Some
Wait And See
Give Me Your Love
Wastin' Time
Don't Ya Say It
Remember
State Of Mind
Try To See It My Way

You Want It, You Got It (A&M, 1981)
Lonely Nights
One Good Reason
Don't Look Now
Coming Home
Fits Ya Good
Jealousy
Tonight
You Want It You Got It
Last Chance
No One Makes It Right

Cuts Like A Knife (A&M, 1983)
The Only One
Take Me Back
This Time
Straight From The Heart
Cuts Like A Knife
I'm Ready
What's It Gonna Be
Don't Leave Me Lonely
Let Him Know
The Best Was Yet To Come

"With one eye on production values and the other on the bottom line, Bryan Adams has crafted a flashy third album that's more a carefully constructed shot at the big time than essential rock & roll."
Errol Somay, Rolling Stone (395)

"Exquisitely asinine drivel, second-rate Saccharine rock."
Melody Maker

"If I were Bryan Adams, I think I would see Nick Gilder haunting my dreams, and a million other scrumptious boys with photogenic faces and fixations on jukebox pop."
CREEM

Reckless (A&M, 1984)
One Night Only Love Affair
She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
Run To You
Heaven
Somebody
Summer of '69
Kids Wanna Rock
It's Only Love
Long Gone
Ain't Gonna Cry

"A helluva record to beat."
Sounds

"With his born-to-rock rasp, his pungent guitar-and-drums sound and his severely undernourished lyrics, Vancouver-bred Bryan Adams has typically produced the closest thing yet to generic rock & roll, long on formal excellence but short on originality."
Christopher Connelly, Rolling Stone (439)

"You wonder how many hours of MTV and AOR radio monitoring went into the creation of this."
Melody Maker

Into The Fire (A&M, 1987)
Heat Of The Night
Into The Fire
Victim Of Love
Another Day
Native Son
Only The Strong Survive
Rebel
Remembrance Day
Hearts On Fire
Home Again

"Adams has come up with the best-sounding record of his career, actually recording it in his living room. Except for 'Heat of the Night,' which opens the record on a somewhat plodding note, each track has a winning quality ranging from the hazy groove of the title song (sort of a cross between the Beatles' 'Rain' and the Who's 'Baba O'Reilly' to the Stonesish electricity of 'Hearts on Fire.'"
Steve Hochman, Rolling Stone (500)

Live! Live! Live! (A&M, 1988)
She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
It's Only Love
Cuts Like A Knife
Kids Wanna Rock
Hearts On Fire
Take Me Back
The Best Was Yet To Come
Heaven
Heat Of The Night
Run To You
One Night Love Affair
Long Gone
Summer of '69
Somebody
Walking After Midnight
I Fought The Law
Into The Fire.


In 1991, "Everything I Do I Do For You," which Adams co-wrote with Michael Kamen for the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, topped the UK singles chart for a record 16 weeks. In the US, the song claimed the top spot on the chart for seven weeks, and became the country's second-biggest selling single to date. It also hit #1 in 16 countries, selling over eight million copies worldwide in one year. The song would win Billboard's Top World Single, Top Adult Contemporary Single and Top 100 Hit Single honors. The song also won a Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture.

In September of 1991, Adams was awarded with the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia.

That same year, as his album Waking Up The Neighbors debuted at #1 on the UK chart, Adams broke the record for the largest all-standing indoor concert attendance (12,000) in the UK at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. Waking Up The Neighbors had sales of three million units certified by the RIAA, and was named Best Selling Album at the 22nd Annual Juno Awards in Toronto.

In 1994, Adams played two shows at Le Let Theatre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the first western pop star to do so since James Brown in 1971.

That same year, Adams recorded "All For Love" with Sting and Rod Stewart, the theme for the movie The Three Musketeers. It climbed to US#1 and UK#2.

In 1995, Adams had yet another hit from a movie-related song, this one "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" from Don Juan DeMarco. It made US#1 and UK#4. He performed the Oscar-nominated song at the 68th Academy Awards ceremony.

In 1997 Adams recorded an MTV Unplugged show with the Julliard School of Music Orchestra.