'The Man, The Legend, The Myth ... The Penguin Lover!'
With a career spanning over 20 years and worldwide album sales that rival the biggest recording artists in the world, Bryan Adams's "I'm just the bass player in the band" attitude seems rather simple, compared to his career achievements, but that's just how he is.
His songs have achieved #1 status all over the world, and his career has seen some amazing recordings with other music legends from around the world. He holds the record for the longest running #1 single in British music history with his hit '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You' and has topped the charts in the USA four times with hits 'Heaven', '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You', 'All For Love' (with Rod Stewart and Sting) and 'Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?'.
In addition to these recordings he has been awarded the Order Of Canada from the country he was born in, which is the Canadian equivalent of the British MBE.
I recently was lucky enough to chat one-on-one with Bryan and I first asked him to recall those early days at the very beginning of the '80s, struggling to get his self-titled debut album out, and his working relationship with Jim Vallance therein. "Broke! That's what I was. I couldn't even afford the bus to get to Jim's place. I remember the day I started to get some studio work as a singer and people actually sent me some money, I thought WOW! The rest is just the same old story; artist signs crappy record deal, then works hard only to find that after selling a million records, no money was made! Thank goodness I had another record or two in me!"
Is it true that your second album released in '81 was originally to be called 'Bryan Adams Hasn't Heard Of You Either'?! If so, why did it end up as 'You Want It, You Got It'? "Yes, that was the title and it got changed cuz the guy that ran the art dept at the record company hated it! At the time I was a starting musician who had zero say in the matter, all I could do was be frustrated that someone was able to change the direction of things. I remember asking why the lyrics for the album weren't printed in the sleeve, and the same guy said 'If you make it big we'll print your lyrics ... ha ha ha'. What a prick! That was also a lesson I needed in taking charge of my own career."
Do you believe that 'Reckless' was finally the album that put you on the musical map, at least here in the States? And, if so, what was so special about the way that album was constructed that it suddenly spawned hit after hit to radio? "Actually, 'Cuts Like A Knife' was the kick off there, and it happened because of momentum. I had been touring there incessantly since 1981 and had built a good following amongst the record people. Plus, it's a little bit of that old expression of 'right time - right place' and unbelievably hard work preceeding it."
One of your highlights in 1985 has to have been being the first artist to open the American side of the Live Aid concert from Philadelphia on July 13th ... but, what are your memories of that incredibly special day? "Every day was a highlight back then. Live Aid was interesting as it was never supposed to have been recorded and supposedly there were lawyers hanging around the recording truck to make sure of it, but someone recorded it cuz it's out now! One of the highlights I remember was walking onto the stage and the stage manager came up and said we were to be the first artists broadcast live, then Jack Nicolson introduced me to the world, ... now that was a great memory!"
Come on now, and direct from the horse's mouth, just what made '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You' so bloody successful ..... and for so long?! "People loved the song and they still do, it's a universal melody and lyric that is so simple that even if you didn't speak English you would get it."
When we saw you play live with Def Leppard earlier this year here in Michigan (08/10), you only played the one song from your new album. Was playing all your hits (and some personal fav cuts) a pre-requisite made to you by the organizers beforehand, perhaps? "Sort of, but to be honest people only want to hear the hits. I've been to many shows myself and I always get annoyed when bands don't do the songs I know."
'When You're Gone' + Pamela Anderson + duet = Incredibly tuneful song! Who'd have thought it ... did you?! "Well, I love it. I didn't know if Pam would pull it off, but she did. I believe she could do an album. That would be a riot. She says loads of funny things to me like 'Why did I buy these breasts?', and I'm like "That's a song title, Pam'!"
It seems that after twenty five years in the business that you have been keeping a slightly lower profile these past few years with regard TV and such. Was this brought about by anything in particular or simply that the music scene that you were used to just isn't what it used to be? "I find it difficult to complain because I've had such a great run over the years. I think it's pretty normal that at some point every artist becomes a page in the billboard book of hits, you just flip over and check out the new guy."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Maybe 'Turning Japanese' by the vapors. Was that 80's? I think it was!"
Talking about your recent photographic book release, 'American Women,' why take such a project on, and which one woman (and her photo therein) turned out to be the true firefly of the finished project? "I did the project for the same reason I did the previous two projects - for breast cancer awareness. I lost a friend to the disease and I've devoted my energy to doing as much for the cause as I can. The real firefly was Britney Murphy. What a lovely lady, ... Eartha Kitt was firey too!"
If there was just one of your songs that truly encapsulated Bryan Adams connecting both musically and lyrically at his musicianship finest, which one would it be? "It would be 'The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" from the album '18 Til I Die'."
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3
other known musicians to aid you in the project, who would they be, what
instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "I'd put Dave Grohl on drums, me on bass, and Noel Gallagher on guitar. The song would be called 'We Are Not The World (And So What If We Were)'."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I love Penguins. That film the 'March Of The Penguins' is my favourite picture of last year. I also like John Lennon's book 'Penguin'. Check it out if you can find it."
Bryan, thank you so much for doing this for us today, and we wish you all
the best for the future. "Thanks."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a brand new copy of Bryan's latest greatest hits CD 'Anthology,' just answer this easy question: 'Anthology' is Bryan Adams's first-ever career-spanning 2-CD collection, including 33 classics and three new recordings. But, where was the track '18 'Til I Die' recorded live?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new Bryan Adams CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before February 23rd with your answer and the subject title 'BRYAN ADAMS CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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