Before he became the go-to guy for light rock movie themes, Bryan Adams was a young rocker in Canada. He was born in Ontario in 1959 and originally played drums before switching to guitar.

The precocious Adams replaced Nick Gilder as the lead singer of Sweeney Todd at the tender age of 16. With their young lead singer, Sweeney Todd charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with Roxy Roller, a song Gilder later recorded as a solo artist.

Adams left Sweeney Todd and embarked on a career that was mentored by rocker-turned-songwriter/producer Jim Vallance. The pair wrote and produced a number of songs, even charting a minor disco hit in 1979. But by 1983, Adams was 24 and at the top of his game.

That is when he released his third album, Cuts Like A Knife, that included the hit singles Straight From The Heart, This
and Cuts Like A Knife. His early songwriting efforts began to get covered by other artists including .38 Special, Joe Cocker, Loverboy and Bonnie Tyler.

Adams’ ability to write a hook, deliver it with a raspy but on-key vocal and dirty blonde rugged good looks combined to catapult him to stardom. Although hit after hit kept coming, Adams and Vallance ended their partnership, and Adams joined forces with producer extraordinaire Mutt Lange.

The partners scored a pair of #1 hits when Adams was tapped to write for the movies. Their (Everything I Do) I Do It For You from the Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves became a monster hit that seemed entrenched at number one and earned Adams, Lange and co-writer Michael Kamen an Academy Award nomination. I Do It for You did manage to garner a Grammy, the sole Grammy of Adams’ career through 2004.

Two years after making movie magic, Adams collaborated on vocals with Sting and Rod Stewart to produce the power ballad All For Love for The Three Musketeers starring Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland. After another two years, Adams, Lange and Kamen created Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman for the Marlon Brando/Johnny Depp movie Don Juan DeMarco. Both songs became huge hits, reaching #1 yet again for Adams.

The top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 is familiar territory for the Canadian artist. In addition to his movie successes, Adams reached #1 with Heaven. Since then, Adams has sung a hit duet with Barbara Streisand and teamed with other Canadian artists for a fundraiser to build a cancer clinic in British Columbia.

Adams has mined his song catalog and released many live albums, greatest hits albums and the seemingly obligatory Unplugged album. He has also continued scoring movies and contributing themes, but none has broken through yet like his efforts in the early 1990s.

–G. Bounacos