Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Apr 16th 2010 2:30PM by Jenny Charlesworth
This re-lit limelight comes at a time when many may have lost track of the blue-collar kid from North Vancouver who rose to fame in the '80s belting out rock anthems like 'Summer of '69' and 'Cuts Like a Knife' -- and then rose to infamy in the '90s crooning soundtrack staples like '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.'
But as one-hit wonders come and go with increasing frequency -- and Adams follows up his Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony performance by continuing his 'Bare Bones' solo acoustic tour across America and later the UK -- it seemed high time to reevaluate the iconic rocker's unfairly sullied rep.
Bursting onto the scene at time when hair-metal gods like Twisted Sister were running rampant on the airwaves, Adams offered an immediate escape from glitter-fuelled pageantry. Proving his ability to churn out stadium-worthy chart-toppers like 'Straight From the Heart,' he was embraced as Canada's golden boy.
Following the release of 'Reckless' (an album that would go on to sell 8 million copies worldwide and become the first Canadian album in history to sell a million units at home) in '84, it was impossible to miss the rocker's bombastic choruses and raspy voice blasting from car radios and ghetto blasters everywhere you turned.
"I had a teacher in high school who thought that every production or assignment would sound really good if it had a Bryan Adams song playing as part of it," Maya Miller, drummer for bluesy Vancouver-based duo The Pack A.D., tells Spinner. "And you know, I think he was definitely on to something."
Canadians couldn't get enough of their prized national treasure, beaming with pride each time Adams conquered another continent with a string of sold-out dates.
"Bryan had us open for a German arena tour and I remember standing there watching him perform the first night, and thinking, 'I know every word to everyone of these songs, and so do all these German people," recalls Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson.
But once the '90s hit, Adams decision to take on the so-so sounds of adult contemporary left longtime fans scratching their heads. Devoting his energy to sappy throwaway tunes like 'Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?' and awkward collabos like the ultra-cheesy tag-team number 'When You're Gone' with Sporty Spice or 'All For Love' with Rod Stewart and Sting, the former champ of hard-hitting radio rock slid into the realm of guilty pleasures.
Which is where the poor guy still sits today. We've let a few musical missteps -- okay, almost two decades worth of them -- eclipse the fact that there was a reason Bryan Adams sold 75 million albums, became the best-selling Canadian male artist of all time and can more recently claim 85 million views of his YouTube channel. Newer efforts like 'On a Day Like Today' and 'Room Service' may not be all that compelling, but the lengthy list of accolades the singer, now 50, has racked up over the years certainly is.
As the recipient of 18 Junos, a Grammy (among 15 nominations), numerous Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, a spot in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other honours, Adams can't be so easily dismissed. The legendary musician, who is also set to receive Canada's Governor General's Performing Arts Award, as well as the aforementioned humanitarian award, has earned a second look.
After all, as Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Serena Ryder puts it: "Bryan Adams was the voice of an entire generation."
Why not celebrate the riffs that brought together a nation and captivated the world? There's a reason why 'Summer of '69' is the go-to number at hockey games or anywhere else people gather to hoist a beer -- the song still ignites the spirit like only a timeless rock 'n' roll number can. Should we really miss out on Adams' grade-A anthems just because we weren't smitten with the discography that followed?
Holding out for the guy to revisit his classic sound isn't a wise notion, either. In the last several years, Adams seems more interested in charity work (an example of which was opening up The Warehouse, the recording studio he owns in Vancouver's historic Gastown, to 50 Canadian artists including K'naan, Metric, Broken Social Scene, Justin Bieber and Drake to record the Young Artists for Haiti charity anthem) and his successful career as a photographer shooting for the likes of Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar.
To paraphrase one of Adams' early-'80s hits, his best has likely already come. But there's no reason why his later, lesser works should prevent us from re-embracing his decade-defining rock classics without shame or irony.
When the iconic musician walks up to the podium on April 18 to accept his latest honour, let's applaud him for more than just his selfless humanitarian efforts though; let's also pay Bryan Adams respect for giving us some of rock's most memorable music.