Bryan Adams

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Bryan Adams
Background information
OriginKingston, Ontario, Canada Canada
GenresRock & Roll
Arena Rock
Soft Rock
Pop Rock
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Photographer
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Bass guitar, Piano, Harmonica
Years active1977 – Present
LabelsA&M, Badman/Polydor, Universal Music

Bryan Adams OC, OBC, (born 5 November 1959) is a Canadian rock singer, guitarist, songwriter and photographer. Some of his best-known albums are Reckless, 18 til I Die, and Waking Up the Neighbours.

Adams was awarded the Order of Canada[1] and the Order of British Columbia[2] for his contribution to popular music and his philanthropic work. He was also inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998,[3] and more recently inducted into the Music Hall of Fame at Canada's Juno Awards in April 2006.[4] He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for songwriting,[5] and was recently nominated for his fifth Golden Globe (2007) for his songwriting in the film Bobby.[6]

Early life

Adams was born in Kingston, Ontario[7] to English parents, and lived in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria with his diplomat parents through most of the 1960s. They periodically returned to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [8] until settling in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1973. Adams started his musical career after dropping out of school at the age of 15.

Musical career


As an adolescent, he pursued his musical goals with a singlemindedness. He explained to Steve Pond from Rolling Stone magazine[citation needed], "In high school, I was too far into my music to even pay attention to girls." At the age of 15 Adams quit school and played in nightclubs in bands like Shock and Sweeney Todd, which released an album called If Wishes Were Horses with the very young Adams as lead singer.[9][10] He supplemented his income by washing dishes, selling pet food and working in record stores. A serendipitous meeting with drummer Jim Vallance in a Vancouver music store led to a song-writing partnership that continues to this day. As O'Hara from Macleans magazine phrased it, "Vallance was looking for a singer, Adams was looking for a route to musical respectability, and the two hit it off immediately." The pair began writing songs together and recording demonstration tapes.

In 1978, at the age of 18, Adams sent a few demo recordings to A&M Records in Toronto, and was signed to them not long afterwards for the sum of one dollar.[11] He has released 14 albums since then. Some of the first demos written in 1978 have surfaced over the years, most notably "I'm Ready" (recorded for both the album Cuts Like a Knife and later his release for MTV Unplugged) and "Remember," which went on his first album. Both songs were covered by other artists before his first album was even released.


The self-titled debut album was released in February of 1980, and marked the beginning of what was to become a long songwriting partnership between Adams and co-writer Jim Vallance. With the exception of "Remember" and "Wastin' Time" most of the album was recorded from October 29 - November 29 1979 at Manta Studios in Toronto and co-produced by Adams and Vallance. The album was certified gold in Canada much later in 1986.

During the early 1980s Adams and Vallance also co-wrote a number of songs for Vallance's band Prism. Among these was "Don't Let Him Know", which turned out to be Prism's only Billboard Top 40 hit (#39 in 1982), but the first of many for Adams as a songwriter.

Adams' second album, You Want It You Got It was recorded in New York City in two weeks and it marked Adams' first album co-produced by Bob Clearmountain. It was released in 1981 and contained the FM radio hit "Lonely Nights", but it was not until his third album, Cuts Like A Knife February 1983, that he broke through with four hits in 1983, most notably with the title track. The album achieved much commercial success, rising to #8 on the Billboard Album Chart. Several of the songs on the album, including the title track, remain concert favourites with Adams to this day.

Reckless was released on Adams' 25th birthday, 5 November 1984. It reached #1 on the Billboard Album Chart and gave rise to no fewer than six hit singles, including Run to You, Summer of '69 and Adams' first #1 single, Heaven. Reckless has since been certified five times platinum in the US.

In 1984, Tina Turner recorded a duet with Adams entitled "It's Only Love". In addition to being a radio and MTV staple, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Adams' 1987 album, Into the Fire was also certified platinum. This was the last album completely written by Adams and Vallance, but many of the fragments of their other songs ended up on the forthcoming block buster Waking up the Neighbours.

Live! Live! Live! is the complete recording of a concert in Werchter, Belgium on 3 July 1988, which was broadcast by the CBC in Canada and on MTV around the world.


One of Adams' most successful albums is Waking up the Neighbours co-produced by Adams and Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The album was released in September of 1991 and featured the single "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You", which was also used in the film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", starring Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman. This album and the single went to number one in many countries in the world in 1991 and 1992, with the song spending a record-breaking 16 weeks at number one on UK Singles Chart and 17 weeks on top of US Hot 100 Singles Sales, including record-breaking sales of 3 million in the US. Canadian content regulations were revised in 1991 to allow radio stations to credit airplay of this album towards their legal requirements to play Canadian music.

The next album was the hits collection So Far So Good lead by a new song "Please Forgive Me", a slow rock ballad, both released from 1993. So Far So Good has since been certified five times platinum in the US.

Later the same year Adams recorded the single "All for Love" together with Sting and Rod Stewart, for the film "The Three Musketeers", starring Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen.

In 1995 "Bryan Adams", a book written by Bryan Adams, was published by Firefly Books.

In the period 1996-1999 Adams released an album each year. 18 til I Die in summer 1996, which featured the flamenco flavoured hit "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" with Spanish guitarist Paco De Lucia from the film "Don Juan DeMarco" starring Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. This song earned Adams his second Oscar nomination. The album sold more than 1 million copies in the US. Bryan Adams MTV Unplugged was released in the winter of 1997, On a Day Like Today autumn 1998, and The Best of Me worldwide in 1999 and in the U.S. in early 2002. In this period Adams made 3 duets; "Rock Steady" (with Bonnie Raitt), "I Finally Found Someone" (with Barbra Streisand) earning him his third Oscar nomination and "When You're Gone" (with Melanie C). When You're Gone was a #3 hit in the UK in 1999.


In 2000, Adams provided vocals for Don't Give Up by Chicane, alias for English producer Nick Bracegirdle. This song went to #1 in the UK singles chart.

In 2001, Adams released the live videos Live at the Budokan recorded at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo, and Live at Slane Castle, the recording of the Slane Concert which Bryan headlined in 2000

In May 2002, he released the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron DreamWorks soundtrack, which went gold in the US.

In 2004, Adams released his first studio album in six years, Room Service. The album went to #4 in the UK and #1 in all of Europe, selling 440,000 copies in its first week there.

In 2005, Adams issued Anthology, a two disc set, released as a retrospective collection of hits and some more obscure tracks from 25 years of recording. He also released the DVD, Live in Lisbon.

Also in 2005, Adams sang the theme song for the Fox TV series Stacked (starring Pamela Anderson), which ran for a season and a half.

Recent/Future Events

Adams continues his work in film soundtracks, in the hit movie, "The Guardian" starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, Adams wrote and performed the song "Never Let Go" which was featured in the closing credits. It has become known as the theme to the movie. Adams also co-wrote the song Never Gonna Break My Faith for the film Bobby which was sung by Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige. This work earned him a Golden Globe Nomination in 2007.

Adams has talked of recording a new album since 2005 and summer of 2007 seems possible.

On 9th May 2007, during his concert at the NEC Arena, Adams announced to fans that his new album was intended to be released simultaneous with his tour, however, the album is still unfinished. He is now hoping for a release before the summer of 2007.

Adams also continues to tour regularly.

Backing Band

Unlike many solo artists, Adams does not use a rotation of session musicians in his Backup band; he has a group of musicians with whom he tours regularly, the lineup of which seldom changes. In this respect, Bryan Adams is more like a band than a solo artist, with the same group of musicians appearing on all albums and live performances.

The current lineup is as follows:

Scott and Curry have been working with Adams consistently since the early 1980s, while Fisher and Breit have only been part of the band since the early 2000s. Before them, Tommy Mandel regularly played keyboards in the band and Dave Taylor played bass guitar (80s-1997)

Social Activist

Since the 1980s, Bryan Adams has been a noted social activist, to this day participating in concerts and other activities to help raise money and/or awareness for a variety of different causes.


Over the years, Adams has taken part in many charity concerts. What was perhaps his first high profile charity appearence came in 1985 when he opened the United States portion of Live Aid. In June of the next year, Adams participated in the two-week Amnesty International "A Conspiracy of Hope" tour alongside Sting, U2 and Peter Gabriel. His next appearence for amnesty was in February of 1987 on Rock For Amnesty with Paul McCartney, Sting and Dire Straits, among others.

Playing in the U.S. section of Live Aid, Adams did not get the chance to play at Wembley Stadium, however another chance came in June of 1987 when Adams played there at the 5th Annual Prince's Trust Rock Gala along Elton John, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and others. Adams was to return to Wembley Stadium the following year when he played at the Nelson Mandela birthday party concert.

Adams helped commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall when, in 1990, he joined many other guests (including his songwriting partner Michael Kamen) for Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin, Germany.

Adams has played his part in helping to raise money for more recent causes. On January 29 2005, Adams joined the CBC benefit concert in Toronto for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. 20 years after performing at Live Aid in the USA, Adams played at Canada's Live 8 show in Barrie, Ontario. Later that year, he played in Qatar and raised an astonishing £1.5M ($2,617,000) from the performance and the auction of a guitar he purposely had signed by many of the world's most prominent guitarists. The money went to Qatar's "Reach Out to Asia" campaign to help the underprivileged across the continent. Money raised also went to some of his own projects like rebuilding a school in Thailand and building a new sports center in Sri Lanka, both of which had been devastated by the aforementioned Indian Ocean tsunami.

"Historic Day." Adams in Karachi.

On January 29 2006, Adams became the first western artist to perform in Karachi, Pakistan, in conjunction with a benefit concert to raise money for underprivileged children to go to school. Some of the proceeds of that concert also went to victims of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.


Adams has also been involved in the production of records that have raised money for charity. In 1985, Adams and songwriting partner Jim Vallance along with David Foster co-wrote the Canadian benefit record for Ethiopia called Tears Are Not Enough. In March 1989, Rainbow Warriors, an album supporting Greenpeace and featuring Bryan Adams with other artists, is released in the Soviet Union on the Melodiya label. Adams' [[1998] album, On a Day Like Today, supported the Elephant Sanctuary, Hohenwald in Tennessee and Elefriends in England.

Campaigns/Awareness Raising

In 1992, Adams became the centre of a dispute on Canadian Content regulations which were changed as a result.

In the mid 1990s, Adams successfully campaigned for the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with Greenpeace Chairman David McTaggert (the two distributed over 500,000 postcards at concerts around the world encouraging politicians to vote yes for the creation of the sanctuary).

After a performance in Amman, Jordan Adams pleased his Arab fans when they heard (during an interview with a local TV channel) that he was not a supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Other Charity Work

On May 25 2005, Adams raised £1.3M with cousin Johnny Armitage, from a concert and auction entitled Rock by the River for the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. On May 15 of the next year, Adams returned to London to attend the Hope Foundation's event (hosted by designer Bella Freud), helping to raise a portion of the £250,000 to support the Palestinian refugee children. On the same day, he was made an ambassador to the Prince's Trust, an honorary appointment made by Prince Charles' Charity in London to raise awareness for young people looking for work. The following June, he offered individuals from the public the chance to bid to sing with him live in concert at three different charity auctions in London. Over £50,000 was raised with money going to the NSPCC, Children in Need, and the UCLH (University College London Hospitals).

As a photographer

Adams accepting a LeadAward for photography in 2006.

Adams has had his photographs published in British Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Jane, Interview Magazine and i-D, among others. His other photographic efforts include publishing 'Zoo Magazine', the fashion/art magazine based in Berlin, Germany. On 1 June 2005, he published his first book of photos in the United States with Calvin Klein called American Women; proceeds from this book go to breast cancer research for programs at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He released a similar book of photos called Made in Canada in December 1999, both of his books have been dedicated to his friend Donna, who died of breast cancer.

As a photographer, Adams has worked with many of his musical peers, including Robert Plant, Joss Stone, Placido Domingo, Celine Dion, and Moby.[12]

In 2002, Adams was invited, along with other photographers from the Commonwealth, to photograph Queen Elizabeth II during her Golden Jubilee; one of the photographs from this session was used as a Canadian postage stamp in 2004[13] and again in 2005 (see Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp (Canada)), another portrait of both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

On the 15 March 2006, Adams was presented with the Gold Award for his photo editorial on actor Mickey Rourke at the German Lead Awards in Hamburg, Germany.

In September 2006, a retrospective portfolio of Adams's work was released by Stern Magazine in Germany with a topless photograph of the singer Pink on the cover.

Bryan Adams supports the Hear the World initiative as official photographer in its aim to raise global awareness for the the topic of hearing and hearing loss. Adams recently photographed stars Joss Stone, Moby and Lindsay Lohan for their magazine, a quarterly culture and lifestyle publication dedicated to the topic of hearing.

Photographic Exhibitions include:

Personal life

  • Adams speaks French and has lived in France.
  • He currently lives in England and supports Chelsea F.C.
  • Adams is a vegan and takes his cook with him when he travels for concerts all over the world.
  • In his acceptance speech for his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2006 Juno Awards, he named his long-time guitarist Keith Scott as his best friend. The two have been playing together for over 25 years.
  • The song "We're Gonna Win" from his album 18 Til I Die is dedicated to Chelsea FC, the football club he supports. It was also used by the HNL to promote the Stanley Cup playoffs on the CBC.
  • He created his own recording studio in Vancouver, British Columbia called The Warehouse Studio out of a historical Gastown building.
  • Although many sources give Adams' middle name as "Guy", he does not use a middle name.[14][15]



In Popular Culture

See also


  • Sorelle Saidman Bryan Adams Everything He Does, Random House, Toronto, 1993 ISBN 0-394-22300-X
  • Bryan Adams, Bryan Adams (pictorial collection), Firefly Books, Willowdale Canada, 1995, ISBN 1-895565-83-9


  1. ^
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  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Doug Stone. All Music Guide. "Sweeney Todd." Retrieved 2007 03 07
  10. ^ Sorelle Saidman Bryan Adams Everything He Does, Random House, Toronto, 1993 ISBN 0-394-22300-X Chapter 3: Sweeney Todd: In the Nick of Time p. 23 and ff
  11. ^ Saidman, page 47
  12. ^ Richard Melville Hall (March 20 2007). "you want to hear a funny story?". Moby's journal. Retrieved 2007-03-20. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^
  14. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia 2000 edition article "Adams, Bryan Guy"
  15. ^ Sorelle Saidman Bryan Adams Everything He Does, Random House, Toronto, 1993 ISBN 0-394-22300-X Chapter 3: Sweeney Todd: In the Nick of Time p. 23 and ff

External links (articles/pictures)]

Preceded by
Shania Twain
Grey Cup Halftime Show
Succeeded by
The Tragically Hip