Bryan Adams One of Rock n' Roll's Most Diverse Artists

Musician, Noted Photographer, & Humanitarian, Adams is Passionate About Everything He's Involved In

Jeff Walker,  Entertainment Writer

While his self-titled 1980 album 'Bryan Adams' and his 1981 follow up 'You Want It You Got It' were met with critical success and introduced his signature sound, it wasn't until the 1983 release of 'Cuts Like a Knife' that the Canadian born singer songwriter took the music industry by storm. aaaaaaaabryanadams2

A multi-platinum selling album with the hits 'Straight From the Heart', 'This Time', and the title track put Bryan Adams on the map, and proved he was as comfortable singing soft rock, mainstream pop, and arena rock anthems.

41 years later Adams admits 'Cuts Like a Knife' had all too do with having the right combination of talent. "It was my third album and I had been working with a fantastic mixer and engineer Bob Clearmountain, together with my songwriting partner Jim Vallance. It was, as it turns out, a formidable team and that album was the turning point from which I went from obscurity to suddenly being on MTV."

Despite bringing him overnight notoriety, the album's acclaim comes with an odd back story, mostly due to his naivety early on. "Weirdly, after all its success, I had made very little money from that album. The album had recouped all the expenses from terrible contracts and agreements that I had made as a youngster." He adds, "Thankfully, there were more records to come."

His next four albums 'Reckless' (1984), 'Into the Fire' (1987), 'Waking Up the Neighbors' (1991), and '18 til I Die' (1996) would certify Adams as one of the top selling solo artists of all time, having sold a 100 million plus combined albums and singles. He would eventually rack up 25 Top 40 hits, including 11 Top 10's, with four topping the charts.

65 years young and looking back on a career that began nearly five decades ago, Adams never envisioned where his journey would take him. "Who could imagine such a thing?" His initial aim was focused more on his day to day needs. "My goal in the beginning was to simply try to pay my rent doing something I loved, and it worked out. So happy it hurts actually!" A shout out to his latest tour.

Without question, the 1980's was the decade Adams went from obscurity to worldwide notoriety. Was there a particular moment in time when he said to himself he made it. "We (he and his band) had been on tour with Tina Turner in Europe and we were returning to America to do our first arena tour. It was massive."

The year was 1985. “'Reckless' was the number one album and I can distinctly remember walking over to my guitarist Keith Scott one night and saying “what are we doing different?” I said this because we were playing virtually the same songs, with the same band as the previous tours. The only difference was the arena was packed, for us. It was our time." ' aaaaaaaabryanadams3

Reckless' reached number one on the Billboard 200 album charts, with six of the singles peaking inside the Top 15. 'Somebody' and 'Heaven' went all the way to number one on different Billboard charts, with 'Summer of 69' becoming a standard on classic rock radio formats. The album gave us 'It's Only Love' his duet with Tina Turner, with the accompanying video winning an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.

As his popularity began to rise in 1985 he would go on to record with fellow Canadians Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young on 'Tears Are Not Enough', a single that helped raise funds for Ethiopia. He would go on to perform the song later that summer at the global music fundraiser Live-Aid in Philadelphia.

Whether the Ethiopian famine was the catalyst, Adams has been active in several humanitarian issues (Amnesty Int'l, Greenpeace, animal rights) for nearly four decades. "All artists get asked to participate in philanthropic causes and I am no different." A cause heavy on his heart today involves the middle east. "My focus lately has been sending aid to organizations helping the children of Palestine."

Adams was suddenly in demand, soon working alongside an A-List of rock n' roll royalty. He was attracting top music producers like Robert 'Mutt Lange', recording with heavyweights like Rod Stewart, Sting, and Barbra Streisand, as well as opera superstars Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli.

Despite sharing the stage with rock legends Elton John, Billy Joel, and The Who, among countless others, Adams admits it was his breakthrough moment that still resonates with him among the who's who list. "Tina Turner was the standout. She and I sang the duet 'It’s Only Love'. I don’t think my record company at the time knew quite what to do with me. They were like "who the hell is he to sing with her?" I was fucking no one, that’s who, but she liked the song and she liked me and that’s all it took." aaaaaaaabryanadams4

Sadly Adams and the music world lost Turner in May of last year. He reflects with melancholy. "In the end we had an amazing friendship and it was one of the hardest days when she passed last year." Adding a salute to their duet, "I’m releasing a new version of the song later this year."

Although music and touring has been his so called bread & butter, Adams has dabbled in a variety of entertainment related avenues. He's written music for television and film projects among other side projects. "I have always enjoyed working in film and creating music for it. I have recently written songs for a couple of films."

He adds, "Even this week, I wrote a song for a documentary called 'Someone’s Daughter Someone’s Son' on the plight of a woman named Lorna Tucker, who was once homeless and has become a film director. It’s her story. The song is on YouTube"

Fans of Adams might be surprised he was one of a few artists that helped create a musical stage version of one of Hollywood's most iconic movies. "A girlfriend of mine who worked in the West End in London as a dancer said to me one day 'I wish someone would make 'Pretty Woman' into a musical'."

That spark became a full-fledged fire a decade down the road. "Almost ten years later, I auditioned to be the composer for the Broadway production and got the gig. I enlisted my good friend Jim Vallance to help me and together we lived in a hotel in NYC."

Adams says even though it was a challenge, he couldn't let the opportunity pass him by. "Broadway was calling. It could be the hardest songwriting job I’ve ever had, but in some ways quite gratifying."

As if his dance card wasn't busy enough, many people may not know Adams is an award winning photographer, having photographed the late Queen Elizabeth as well as album covers for Annie Lennox, Amy Winehouse, and Diana Krall. He has photographed for both the art and fashion world, in addition to taking photos of diverse artists such as Iggy Pop, Cher, and Jennifer Hudson.

His passion with the photography evolved over time. "I always carried a camera around with me, and as I got more into it and could afford it, I got better cameras. Thankfully the photos got better too. It has been a good creative diversion from my work in music, inspiring I might add." 

Adams admits the camera has been beneficial on several fronts. "It’s been enormously helpful as I now make my own videos and album covers, not to mention making books like 'Wounded - the Legacy of War', which is portraits of wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. This was five years in the making." aaaaaaaabryanadams1 1

15 Grammy Award nominations, including a win for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1992 for '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You', combined with Academy Awards and Golden Globes nods makes Adams one of the most celebrated artists in the recording industry.

However, the 20 Juno Awards from his native Canada tops the list of recognitions. "There ain’t nothing like it! Seriously it’s humbling to be recognized by anyone for your work, but when your country hands you a nod, you have to be thankful you listened to your gut, dropped out, ignored the naysayers and went on the road less travelled."

40 years at the forefront of contemporary music Adams has seen several changes in the recording industry, mostly due to evolving technology. "It’s easier to record in places more obscure for starters, because all you need is a laptop. Other than that, there are a lot less guitars on the radio and I can only attribute that to people making more music on computers and less as a band."

Adams has been impacted by many musical artists over the years. "Heavy rock of course." Humbly he admits a couple that have effected him the most hit closer to home. "In school I had an electronic music teacher who introduced me to music of Stockhausen and music concrète (music type constructed by mixing recorded sounds & perfected by Karlheinz Stockhausen in early 1950's). But my biggest teacher was my friend Jim Vallance with whom I wrote many songs and who taught me the basic skills of songwriting."

Four decades removed from opening for the likes of Loverboy, Journey, and The Police, Adams is a bona-fide headlining act. His versatility to sing soft rock ballads alongside hard hitting arena rock anthems has garnered him legions of life long fans. aaaaaaaabryanadamsbb

Charleston, South Carolina fans get ready as Bryan Adams brings his 'So Happy It Hurts' tour to the North Charleston Coliseum on Tuesday March 12th. Although he's performed several times in the low country over the years he hasn't explored the city as much, rather preferring to prepare for the reason he's in town. "Mostly I just take it easy and wait for the show. After all, that’s why I’m there. I want to make sure I deliver a rocking show." I feel certain fans appreciate that.

Adams special guest on tour is fellow 80's pop rocker Dave Stewart who's bringing the Eurythmics Songbook along with him. Tickets are still available. For more visit

To see the compelling and inspirational video   'Someone's Daughter Someone's Son' dealing with homelessness visit,vid:I6GHciC1Sj0,st:0