Life and career
Bryan Guy Adams was born on 5 November 1959 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, to parents from the United Kingdom: Elizabeth Jane (née Watson) and Captain Conrad J. Adams, who emigrated to Canada from Plymouth, England in the 1950s. Adams' father, a Sandhurst officer in the British Army, joined the Canadian Army and later spent time as a United Nations peacekeeping observer for Canada, which led to him becoming a Canadian foreign service diplomat. Adams travelled with his parents to diplomatic postings in Portugal and Vienna, Austria, during the 1960s, and to Israel during the early 1970s.
Raised in Ottawa, Adams attended Colonel By Secondary School in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood of East Ottawa. In 1974, Adams, his mother, and younger brother Bruce moved to North Vancouver while his father was posted abroad.
By age 15, Adams had started working in the Vancouver music scene, as a background vocalist for the CBC and backing local artists and with Motown keyboardist Robbie King, who Adams attributes to giving him his first salaried session.
In late 1976, Adams became the vocalist for pub band Sweeney Todd, who had only a few months earlier hit number 1 on the Canadian charts with a song "Roxy Roller". Adams was made to sing a re-make of the song for the US, which made it to number 99 on the US charts. The new incarnation of the band released an album If Wishes Were Horses (1977) with Adams billed as "Bryan Guy Adams" on vocals. Despite co-writing three of the album's songs, Adams left the band within a year.
Around this time, Adams was often seen sitting in with cover bands at nightclubs. He and guitarist Keith Scott met in Toronto during those club years and still work together today.
In 1978 at age 18, Adams met Jim Vallance through a mutual friend in a Vancouver music store. Vallance was the former drummer and principal songwriter for Vancouver-based rock band Prism and had recently quit that band to focus on a career as a studio musician and songwriter. They agreed to meet at Vallance's home studio a few days later, which proved to be the beginning of a partnership which, as of 2017, is still in existence.
Later in 1978, Adams signed to A&M records for one dollar. Some of the first demos written and recorded in 1978 have surfaced over the years, most notably "I'm Ready", recorded for both the Cuts Like a Knife and MTV Unplugged albums, and "Remember", recorded for his first album. Both songs were covered by other artists even before his first album was released.
Also recorded during this time was the disco song "Let Me Take You Dancing", featuring Adams' vocals sped up to meet the 122BPM dance tempo. The song made the Canadian RPM chart in March 1979 along with its B-Side "Don't Turn Me Away".
"Straight From The Heart" was also written during this period. The song was later recorded for Adams's third album "Cuts Like A Knife" in 1983 and released as a single, becoming Adams's first top 10 record in the U.S. in 1983.
Adams's self-titled debut album was released in February 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 29 October up until 29 November 1979 at Manta Studios and co-produced by Adams and Vallance. The album was certified gold in Canada in 1986.
Adams's second album, You Want It You Got It, was recorded in two weeks and it marked Adams's first album co-produced by Bob Clearmountain. It was released in 1981 and contained the FM album-oriented rock radio hit "Lonely Nights", (as well as Seattle-area favorite "Fits Ya Good") but it was not until the third album that he achieved international recognition, popularity. Adams also co-wrote songs for other artists during this time including Billboard charted songs like "No Way to Treat a Lady" for Bonnie Raitt and "Don't Let Him Know" for Prism.
Cuts Like a Knife, which was released in January 1983, was Adams's breakout album due mainly to the lead singles. "Straight from the Heart" was the most successful song, reaching number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another single, "Cuts Like a Knife" charted at number 15. "This Time" also placed on the Hot 100. Music videos were released for four of the singles from the album. "Cuts Like a Knife" arguably became Adams's most recognizable and popular song from the album. Its music video received heavy airplay on music television channels. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 album chart and achieved three times platinum status in Canada, platinum in the United States and gold in Australia.
Adams's album, Reckless, produced by Adams and Bob Clearmountain, peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. The album was released in November 1984 and featured the singles, "Run to You", "Summer of '69", "Heaven", "One Night Love Affair", "Somebody", and "It's Only Love", a duet with Tina Turner. All the singles had accompanying music videos and all peaked in the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Run to You" (number 6) and "Summer of '69" (number 5), peaking in the top ten; "Heaven" became the most successful single from Reckless at the time of its release on the pop charts, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Heaven" had reached number nine on the mainstream rock chart the previous year as it been released as a non-album track "Run To You" was the most successful single at album-oriented rock stations as it spent 4 weeks at the top of the mainstream rock chart. "It's Only Love" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. In 1986, the song won an MTV award for Best Stage Performance. After the release of the album, Adams was nominated for Best Male Rock Performance. The album is Adams's best-selling album in the United States and was certified five times platinum.
In December 1984, Adams embarked on a two-year world tour to launch the album starting in Canada and United States, then into Japan, Australia, back to the UK and again to Canada. After winning four Juno Awards, he headed south towards the American West Coast, culminating with two dates at the Paladium in Los Angeles. After the tour in the United States, Adams took part of a grand ensemble of Canadian artists named Northern Lights, who recorded "Tears Are Not Enough" for the African famine-relief effort. Adams later headed back to Europe for a 50-city concert tour with rock singer Tina Turner, culminating in April with his return to London to headline three sold-out shows at the Hammersmith Odeon. Adams began the first leg of his tour entitled "World Wide in '85" which started in Oklahoma and ended in October 1985. Adams later visited Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and afterward returned to the American East Coast to play two sold-out concerts in.
In 1985, Adams worked on Roger Daltrey's sixth solo album, Under a Raging Moon, which was a tribute album to The Who's former drummer Keith Moon who died in 1978. Adams co wrote two tracks for the album those being: "Let Me Down Easy" and "Rebel". The track "Let Me Down Easy" was a Top 15 Hit on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and featured Adams playing guitar and singing backing vocals aside Daltrey with Robbie McIntosh playing guitar in the music video. Nearly 30 years later, Adams would release his own version of "Let Me Down Easy" on a 30-year anniversary version of Reckless.
The follow-up album to Reckless was Into the Fire which was released in 1987. The album was recorded at Cliffhanger Studios in Vancouver and mixed at AIR Studios in London and Warehouse Studio in Vancouver. This album contained the hit songs "Heat of the Night" and "Hearts on Fire" and hit the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.
On 24 September 1991, Adams released the album Waking Up the Neighbours. Co-produced by Adams and Mutt Lange, it topped the charts around the world including number 1 in both the UK and Germany and number 6 on the Billboard 200. The album featured four singles including "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You", that also featured in the motion picture Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and spent 16 consecutive weeks at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart. That was followed by "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" which peaked at number 2 in the USA, "Do I Have to Say the Words?" reached number 11, and in the UK, "Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven" was the second most successful single reaching the Top 10. The album won many awards including a Grammy Award in 1991 for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television.
6 July 1991 was the start off of the "Waking Up the World" tour which went on until 1993. The first concert was at Milton Keynes festival with ZZ Top. Adams played a whirlwind tour which brought him to places many Western artists had never played, India, Egypt, Portugal, Vietnam, Reykjavík, Iceland to name a few.
On 13 January 1992, the Canadian leg of the tour kicked off in Sydney, Nova Scotia and wrapped up with a standing room only concert in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 31 January. In February 1992, Adams toured New Zealand and Australia for seven dates—kicking off with a press conference in Sydney. On the 21 February, the tour headed to Japan for approximately a dozen shows in six cities. The tour continued through several European countries in June 1992, including Italy, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia, and in July 1992, Adams performed for the first time in Hungary and Turkey (where he filmed his video for "Do I Have to Say The Words?"). The USA tour continued from September through December 1992. February 1993 was the Asian leg of the tour including Thailand, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong and then straight back to the US to tour from March to May 1993 
In 1993, Adams collaborated with Rod Stewart and Sting for the single "All for Love" co-written by Adams for the Motion Picture Soundtrack of the movie Three Musketeers. The single topped the charts worldwide. In November 1993, Adams released a compilation album entitled So Far So Good, that again topped the charts in numerous countries such as the UK, Germany and Australia. It included a brand new song called "Please Forgive Me", that became another number 1 single in Australia as well as reaching the Top 3 in the US, the UK and Germany. It was followed in 1995 by, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" (song released from the Motion Picture Soundtrack of the movie Don Juan DeMarco). It was number 1 in the US and Australia as well as a Top 5 hit in the UK and Germany.
In June 1996 the album 18 til I Die was released. It contained the three singles including two UK Top 10 singles "The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me" and "Lets Make a Night to Remember" and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?". The album peaked at number thirty-one on the Billboard 200 in the United States and held that position for three weeks. It was far more successful in Europe and Australia reaching the top spot on the UK charts for Adams's third number 1 in a row.
The album has been certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA. 18 til I Die was certified three times platinum in Canada and Australia and two times platinum in the UK.
On 27 July 1996, Adams performed his second sold-out Wembley Stadium in London in front of a crowd of approximately 70,000 people.
In 1996, Adams joined Don Henley on stage with a Duet at Live at Honors, Everybody Knows.
In December 1997, Adams released MTV Unplugged with three new tracks: "Back to You", "A Little Love" and "When You Love Someone". "Back to You" was the first single, followed by "I'm Ready", an acoustic version of the Cuts Like A Knife track. The album was a top 10 success in Germany while both singles reached the top 20 in the UK.
On a Day Like Today was released in 1998 and the release coincided with his contract being sold to Interscope Records. Despite Interscope's involvement or lack of, On a Day Like Today enjoyed tremendous success internationally, entering the Top 5 in Germany and was certified platinum in the UK. It generated two British Top 10 singles: "Cloud Number Nine" and "When You're Gone", which featured Melanie C of The Spice Girls.
In 1990, Adams voiced the evil rat henchman Hoodwink in the Canadian children's animated television special The Real Story of the Three Little Kittens which was created and produced for The Real Story of... (a.k.a. Favorite Songs) anthology series. It was first broadcast on CTV Television Network in Canada and later on HBO in USA.
To commemorate the millennium, Adams released The Best of Me, his most comprehensive collection of songs at that time, which also included two new songs, the title track "The Best of Me" and the UK number 1 track "Don't Give Up". The album reached the Top 10 in Germany and was certified three times platinum in Canada and Platinum in the UK. The single from the album, "The Best of Me" was a successful hit with the exception of the US, where neither the single or the album were released by Interscope Records.
Adams live in the Line Arena, Hamburg
, Germany, on 3 June 2007.
In 2000, Adams co-wrote and sang on the UK number one song for Chicane's album Behind the Sun called "Don't Give Up".
Adams co-wrote and performed the songs for the DreamWorks animated film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, in 2002. The songs were included on the film's soundtrack. The most successful single from the soundtrack was "Here I Am", a British Top 5 and German Top 20 hit. The song also gave him his fourth Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Song from a Motion Picture.
In 2004, ARC Weekly released its chart of top pop artists since the last 25 years and Adams came up at number 13 in the chart with four number-one singles, ten top five hits and 17 top ten hits. Six years after the release of On a Day Like Today, Room Service was released in September 2004. It topped the charts in Germany and Switzerland and peaked at number four in the UK, selling 440,000 copies in its first week in Europe and thus debuted at number one on Billboard's European album chart. The single, "Open Road", was the most successful single from the album and peaked at number one in Canada and number twenty-one in the UK. In May 2008, the album was also released in the US but charted only at number 134 on the Billboard 200.
In 2005, Anthology, the first 2-disc compilation was released, containing two new tracks. The US release features a new version of "When You're Gone", a duet with Melanie C. Also in 2005, Adams re-recorded the theme song for the second season of Pamela's Fox sitcom Stacked.
In 2006, Adams co-wrote and performed the theme song "Never Let Go" which was featured in the closing credits of the film The Guardian starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. Adams also co-wrote the song "Never Gonna Break My Faith" for the film Bobby. The song was performed by the R&B singers Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige and earned him a Golden Globe Nomination in 2007.
In 2007, he co-wrote two songs "A Place for Us" and "Another Layer" for the Disney film Bridge to Terabithia.
Adams released his eleventh album internationally on 17 March 2008. It was appropriately called 11. The album was released in the US exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club retail stores on 13 May 2008. The first single released from the album was "I Thought I'd Seen Everything". Adams did an 11-day, 11-country European acoustic promotional tour to kick off the release of the album. The album debuted at number one in Canada (making it his first album to reach that position since Waking Up the Neighbours in 1991) as well as reaching number two in Germany. In the United States, the album charted at number 80.
Adams was one of the four musicians who were pictured on the second series of the Canadian Recording Artist Series to be issued by Canada Post stamps on 2 July 2009. The total estimated number of Adams stamps that were printed is one and one-half million. In December 2009, he co-wrote, produced, and performed the song "You've Been a Friend to Me" for the Disney film Old Dogs.
In February 2010, Adams released "One World, One Flame." On 12 February 2010, Adams performed a duet with Nelly Furtado. The song was called "Bang the Drum" and was co-written with Jim Vallance for the opening ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. The ceremony was held indoors at BC Place Stadium.
Adams performed at Wayne Gretzky's final game in 1999 at Madison Square Garden, when Gretzky then played for the New York Rangers. Adams then sang the Canadian national anthem and ad-libbed a line to acknowledge Gretzky's departure, singing, "We're gonna miss you Wayne Gretzky."
Adams was one of several well-known Canadian musicians to visit Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at his official residence. Originally, the visit was meant to be Adams's plea to the Prime Minister to change the archaic copyright laws; instead, Harper turned it into an informal "jam session."
In November 2010, Adams released the acoustic album Bare Bones. It was recorded live at various locations on his "Bare Bones Tour" earlier in the year. It was certified gold in India a year later.
On 19 February 2011, Adams and his band played in Kathmandu, which was organized by ODC Network and made him the first ever international artist to perform in Nepal. He performed at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cricket World Cup on 17 February 2011 in Dhaka, Bangladesh and also performed in a solo concert in the next day.
On 19 November 2011, Adams co-wrote and recorded the dance music single/video for the Loverush UK! single "Tonight in Babylon" in Southwark, London.The X Factor in the UK with the remaining acts in the competition.
This song was also recorded/released on his Bare Bones Sydney Opera House video. On 20 November 2011, Adams performed "When You're Gone" on the TV show
In July 2012, Adams was featured as the voice of the lead character of a dog called Jock, in the animated South African film Jock of the Bushveld. He also co-wrote and sang two of the main songs: "Way Oh" and "By Your Side". The American released of the film was retitled "Jock the Hero dog".
In 2013, he wrote and sang on "After All" with Michael Bublé from his album To Be Loved.
In an interview on 18 March 2014, Adams revealed that he has signed a contract with Verve Records in the US. With one album celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Reckless, a new album of covers. On 30 September 2014, Adams released a new album titled Tracks of My Years. The album reached number 1 on the Canadian album chart. The album contains cover songs and one original song co-written with Jim Vallance. On 13 July 2014, Adams presented a live concert on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Canada. Adams was moved by the crowd and mentioned: "Quebec City is the Capital of music and artists." In July 2014, Adams filmed Bryan Adams in Concert for the American program Great Performances on PBS. It was recorded at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto and first shown on American Public Television on 2 March 2015.
Adams released his first album of all new material in seven years on 16 October 2015. The album, titled Get Up, was co-written with longtime collaborator Jim Vallance and produced by Jeff Lynne. On 7 September 2015, it was announced that Adams would be performing at the 2015 AFL Grand Final, along with English singer Ellie Goulding and American musician Chris Isaak.
On 21 September 2017, Adams announced via social media his release of a new compilation album: Ultimate with two new songs "Please Stay" and "Ultimate Love", on the 3 November 2017. In May 2018, he was invited to perform at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.