Summer of '69 (live acoustic) - Bryan Adams (mp3)
Words I’ve never heard uttered:
“Bryan Adams is my favorite all-time musician ever ever ever.”
Not once. I checked Snopes.com, and there's no record of anyone ever making this claim. Not male, female, or even a transgendered person in transition.
Recently, I heard a talking head point out that Mitt Romney had only won one single solitary popular election in his entire political career. That one-time victory to lead Massachusetts was the only time he ever won an election.
Bryan Adams is the Mitt Romney of pop rock.
Billboard named him #38 on their “Hot 100 50th Anniversary Charts.” That’s, like, #38 over 50 years of pop and rock and stuff. And you just know there were staffers in that room who saw Bryan Adams landing at #38 and threatened to burn down the building. “Fuck this. This is a joke. Bryan Adams shouldn’t be #338, much less #38 on this stupid list,” they surely said. "Hell will freeze over before we sign off on this." And then, predictably, like the wuss music nerds they were, they threw a Nerf ball at the glass meeting windows with righteous vitriol and accepted that hell would just have to freeze over.
Meanwhile, no one in that room would actually defend him. Everyone would just sit quietly in their Billboard meeting room chairs, shrugging their shoulders and sharing those higher-than-thou looks of disgust. But, in their heads, quietly to themselves, they’d be humming the tune to “This Time" or "Summer of '69."
BA had 5 different albums go Platinum in the U.S. For roughly a decade, Canadians used BA songs instead of their national anthem when TV service was announcing the end of air time*.
If you know your cheesy pop music history, then you’ve already formed a theory on when the BA Train went off the rails, and it’s eight cute little words. You know it’s true. He did it for you. Somehow Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman get away with participating in this farce, but BA gets forever damned to the fires of sellout hell.
Here’s the real problem with this theory: it assumes that at some point people loved them some Bryan Adams, and to the best of my memory and understanding, this simply isn’t true. He was never loved. People never sat around water coolers asking each other:
“Hey, you pick up that new Bryan Adams album yet?”No, that conversation never happened anywhere in the USA. We didn’t brag about it. We didn’t show him off. We carefully and sparsely placed him on mixtapes, more than prepared to act like it was a mock-ironic decision if someone dared question it.
“Shit, he’s got a new one?? When’d it come out?”
“Tuesday. There was a hundred of us camped out down at Record Bar Monday night waitin’ for the doors to open. We was so damn pumped.”
“It’s good, huh?”
“Oh man, everything you loved about Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless gets ramped up on this one. It’s just awesome.”
In fairness, this is probably the fate he deserved: popularity sans conviction.
Hell, I was one of his fans, and it’s taken me almost 500 words to even admit it. I buried it down here in the hopes that only a few people will mock me for it later.
another rock star to consistently lose his shit? You woulda thought Ryan Adams was being mocked for being Andy Gibb. BA never aided the Nazis. He never remade “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as some horrifying ‘70s movie. He just sang poppy rock songs and sold out a few dozen times.
I like Bryan because he made it OK to shout out "Me and my baby in a 69!" at the top of your lungs, and adults didn't seem to mind. I like him because he seemed almost semi-normal in a business (especially in the '80s) when some kind of costumed get-up or big hair or wild makeup or funky fashion statements or massive and obvious drug addictions seemed mandatory to even get your foot in the door. I like him because he crafted a mean damn hook that sold 10 million albums no one will proudly claim.
Like. Not love. Because nobody wants to own up to that level of devotion when it comes to BA.
* -- Yes, kids, there was a time in our world when most television stations signed off the air for a majority of the early morning hours. And yes, I totally made up the part about Canadian TV sign-off song, but it wouldn't surprise me. Canada is funny like that.