Bryan Adams – Still Rockin’ and Reckless (Interview)

Bryan Adams – Still Rockin’ and Reckless (Interview)

BA_b-w_selfportrait_20142014 marks a milestone in Bryan Adams’ illustrious career, the 30th anniversary of Reckless, the multi-platinum 12 million plus selling smash that catapulted the Canadian rocker into a global superstar on the heels of five radio-ready, perfectly crafted pop rock miniatures—Run to You, Summer of ’69, Heaven, Somebody and It’s Only Love, their million dollar hooks blasting permanently blaring out of radios non-stop in the ‘80s.

Slated for release on November 24th, a new 2-CD Reckless deluxe edition chronicles the artist’s best selling release with significantly expanded content. Along with culling the songs heard ‘round the world, the reissue is enhanced by the addition of a bounty of revelatory bonus cuts.

Also out now is a new Bryan Adams album, Tracks of My Years, which finds the gifted artist essaying thrilling covers of songs by a disparate swath of artists numbering The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Jeff Beck Group, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Eddie Cochran, Bobby Hebb, The Association, Kris Kristofferson and others.

And if that’s not enough for this man for all seasons, he’s also carved out a second career as an in-demand photographer.

Now and into the future, Bryan Adams, best-selling rocker and acclaimed photographer, lives up to the promise of his artistry and ideals; he’s not content with sitting still and resting on some pretty lofty laurels, instead he’s determined to continue to grow and challenge himself as an artist and forge new frontiers in his career.

Bryan Adams 'Reckless' 1400x1400 standard

Rock Cellar Magazine: How did the success of your third album, Cuts like a Knife set up the stage for Reckless?

Bryan Adams: Quite a bit because at the time for me it was the beginning of a very long treadmill between touring and recording, touring and recording. We concentrated for most of 1983 on America and nowhere else; actually, we did a few shows in Canada and the UK but we really set up America for the next album.

You could feel it growing on Cuts Like a Knife, you could feel the momentum as the tours went on. People started recognizing the songs; it was no longer just a set list of literally unknown songs, it was suddenly becoming a set list of very well known songs. So yeah, I think by the time Reckless came along we had touched ground in most places in America and we built a very good base with FM radio.

This was also around the time MTV was about to explode as well. Cuts like a Knife was one of the first videos every played on MTV so it made an enormous difference to be there in the groundbreaking days.

Rock Cellar Magazine: Knowing that you’d reaped success with the Cuts like a Knife album and had started to build an audience, did that add a different layer to the songs you writing for Reckless?

Bryan Adams: No, I never felt like that. I kind of only thought, let’s just make songs that will be good for the set list.

What do I need? I need this kind of song and I need this kind of song. So I just set about to write them.

Fortunately, during 1983 and the Cuts like a Knife album and going into ’84, Jim Vallance and I had a very good writing style where practically  every time we sat down we ‘d end up writing another song that ended up being on Reckless. For example, Monday was Heaven, Tuesday was Run to You, Wednesday it was Somebody and Saturday it was the Summer of ’69.

We just had this momentum of writing song after song and without really realizing what we were doing because we were just writing what came to us. We were inspired. Heaven was written for a really bad movie. A&M Records wanted me to write this song for a film they were producing so that song came about because of that.

And then one of our good friends, Bruce Fairbairn, who was a great producer who’s no longer with us, was producing Blue Oyster Cult and he asked me if I’d write a song for them. During that time he asked me tow rite a song for Blue Oyster Cult and Jim and I submitted Run to You to them and I wrote Somebody thinking about Nile Rodgers and his guitar playing. I was just riffing on different influences that were happening at the time.

Rock Cellar Magazine: Many other writers I’ve spoken to have also pointed to how their work was initially inspired by another song or the feel of another song but ultimately once it goes through you. It comes out sounding nothing like the initial spark of inspiration.

Bryan Adams: Yeah. With Summer of ‘69 one of my favorite songs around that time was Bob Seger’s Night Moves. I really wanted to write the bookend to Night Moves, people figuring out their sexuality, young lust and young love. It’s such an enticing topic that I thought I broached it with Summer of ’69.

Rock Cellar Magazine: Lyrically, the meaning behind Summer of ‘69 has been explained differently by you and your co-writer, Jim Vallance.

Bryan Adams: All you have to do is read the lyrics and the lyrics speak for themselves. Read the lyric; it’s about figuring out young love. I don’t know where Jim’s references are in the song with 1969, but he may have been riffing in his head and getting inspired by something else.

It doesn’t matter where he came from on the song or where I came from on the song, just collectively it is what it is. It may have started out in one place but it ended up in another. I’m really proud of that song. I love the fact that people think it’s about one thing and it’s really about another.

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