10 Songs You Didn’t Know Bryan Adams Wrote for Other Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Early on, Bryan Adams swayed between dance and hard rock. At 16, Adams started playing in the glam rock band Sweeney Todd before dipping his hands into songwriting, penning tracks for Canadian bands like Prism and Bachman–Turner Overdrive (B.T.O.) and American singer Ian Lloyd. Around the same time, Adams released his disco hit “Let Me Take You Dancing” in 1978 before his self-titled debut album in 1980. Along with his longtime collaborator and co-writer Jim Vallance (formerly of Prism), Adams later connected with KISS and co-wrote two songs on the band’s iconic 1982 album Creatures of the Night, pushing him even deeper into rock. 

By the early 1980s, Adams’ was all over radio with power ballad hits like “Heaven” and the classic nostalgic drip of “Summer of ’69,” and straight into the ’90s with “Please Forgive Me” and the Grammy-winning “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”

Steadily building an iconic catalog of songs over the decades, Adams has become one of the best-selling artists of all time with nearly 100 million records and singles sold worldwide. Collaborating with everyone from Tina Turner, Hans Zimmer, Barbra Streisand, Sting, and Rod Stewart, Adams has also worked behind the lens for decades, shooting Iggy Pop, Cher, St. Vincent, Jennifer Hudson, and others as well as album covers for Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, and Rammstein.

As a songwriter and performer, Adams’ collection of awards and accolades stretch across 16 Grammy nominations, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and inductions into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. Adams was also nominated for induction into the 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Through it all, Adams continued writing songs for other artists from the late ’70s through the early 2000s.

Here’s a look at 10 songs Bryan Adams wrote beyond his own catalog throughout the years.

1. “Rock and Roll Hell,” KISS (1982)
Written by Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Gene Simmons

Off KISS’ 1982 album Creatures of the Night, Adams had one of his first big forays into rock songwriting and barely looked back. Adams and Vallance, along with KISS’ Gene Simmons, penned the chanter “Rock and Roll Hell,” as well as the closing track “War Machine” for one of the legendary rockers’ most iconic albums.

Originally written by Vallance and Adams and recorded by B.T.O. in 1979, the verses to “Rock and Roll Hell” were reworked for KISS with the exception of the chorus—Get me out of this rock and roll hell, take me far away—which remained mostly intact.

He’s on the run, won’t stand for second place, but his turn may never come
He’s not a victim, you can see it in his face
But he can’t see what he’s become
Well, he wants it bad, but he wants no charity
He seems to think it’s his destiny

Get me out of this rock and roll hell, I need to get away
Get me out of this rock and roll hell

2. “(Where Do You) Draw the Line,” Ted Nugent (1984)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Originally recorded for Adams’ 1984 album Reckless but later cut from the final track list, Ted Nugent released “(Where Do You) Draw the Line” on his eighth album, Penetrator. Addressing the mistrust and preconceptions of friends and lovers, Adams later released his own version of “(Where Do You) Draw the Line” on the 30th-anniversary reissue of Reckless.

I’ve been accused of jealousy
While you’ve been runnin’ ’round
To think that I trusted you and you let me down

You always liked the spotlight
Now you’re the talk of the town
If trouble’s what you’re lookin’ for, well it’s what you’ve found

3. “Teacher, Teacher,” 38 Special (1984)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

“Teacher, Teacher” was recorded by 38 Special for the 1984 dark comedy Teachers. The film detailed the struggles between the students and teachers of inner-city schools, starring Nick Nolte, Ralph Macchio, and Judd Hirsch. The soundtrack also featured songs by Freddie Mercury, Joe Cocker, ZZ Top, Bob Seger, and Ian Hunter.

“Teacher, Teacher” was one of many songs Adams would have featured in film soundtracks. Other songs include Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” in the 1991 action film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—earning Adams a Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1992—to “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” from the 1995 movie Don Juan DeMarco, starring Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp, and Barbra Streisand’s The Mirror Has Two Faces hit “I Finally Found Someone.”

Just when I thought I finally learned my lesson well,
There was more to this than meets the eye
And for all the things you taught me, only time will tell,
If I’ll be able to survive

4. “Can’t Wait All Night,” Juice Newton (1984)
Written by Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Eric Kagna

The title track of Juice Newton’s sixth solo album, “Can’t Wait All Night” was one of two singles off the album to hit the charts. Produced by Richard Landis (Neil Diamond, Vince Gill), the album was one of 14 solo releases by the country and pop artist after recording three albums with the country-rock band Silver Spur in the mid-to-late-’70s. Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock also appear on the album.

I’ve got a secret in my heart
I’ve been holdin’ for some time
But if I let the fire start
Would it be outta line

I guess there’s nothin’ left to say
I just wanna make you mine
Don’t let a good thing get away
Come on and make up your mind
Yeah, give me a sign baby

5. “It Should Have Been Me,” Neil Diamond (1986)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Though Neil Diamond wrote or co-wrote a majority of the tracks on his 17th album Headed For the Future, there were a handful he left in other writers’ hands, including “It Should Have Been Me,” which was co-written by Adams and Vallance. A classic Diamond tale of a love lost, the song also features David Foster, who had arranged the track, on keyboards.

It should have been me
That’s holding you instead of someone else
I needed you but never let it show
It should have been me
That’s loving you
Through all the lonely nights
I knew that I should have never let you go
My love

6. “When the Night Comes,” Joe Cocker (1989)
Written by Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Diane Warren

The opening track of Joe Cocker’s 12th album One Night of Sin, the soulful “When the Night Comes,” was the artist’s last Top 40 hit. The song was also featured in the end credits of the 1989 crime drama An Innocent Man. On One Night of Sin, Cocker also covered Elvis Presley‘s 1958 No. 1 hit “One Night” and Leonard Cohen‘s “I’m Your Man.”

Hold on
I’ll be back for you
It won’t be long
But for now there’s something else
That’s calling me
So take me down a lonesome road
Point me east and let me go
That suitcase weighs me down
With memories

7. “Rock Steady,” Bonnie Raitt, featuring Bryan Adams (1995)
Written by Bryan Adams and Gretchen Peters

Singing You need a man that’ll treat you like the woman you are, the fiery “Rock Steady,” was written for Bonnie Raitt‘s Road Tested Tour and later featured on her first live album (Road Tested), released in 1995. The original demo version of “Rock Steady” also appears on Adams’ 1996 single “Let’s Make a Night to Remember,” off his seventh album 18 til I Die.

You need a man that’ll treat you like the woman you are
Those little boys are just fooling around with your heart
Whatcha gonna do now that you’re all alone?
You need a rock not a rollin’ sone
Yeah so when I’m bored
It just ain’t enough
You need a man made of stronger stuff
Get ready

8. “I Finally Found Someone,” Barbra Streisand, featuring Bryan Adams (1996)
Written by Bryan Adams, Barbra Streisand, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Marvin Hamlisch

“I Finally Found Someone,” the theme song of the 1996 romantic comedy The Mirror Has Two Faces, starring Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges, reached No. 2 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and No. 8 on the Hot 100. Performed as a duet between Streisand and Adams, and arranged by David Foster, the song plays over the closing credits of the film.

“I wrote the love theme, the main love theme, then Marvin [Hamlisch]wrote a bridge to it, and that was going to be our song,” said Streisand in a 1996 interview. “Then David Foster had the idea that I should sing the duet with Bryan Adams. Bryan played our track and heard me humming and fell in love with this little theme that I wrote and then he and his producer Mutt Lange wrote a counter melody based on the track that I sent him, and they wrote the lyrics.”

She added, “I don’t think his record company wanted him [Adams] to sing with me, because I’m more traditional, and I haven’t had a hit since I don’t know when.”

“I Finally Found Someone” was Streisand’s first Top 10 hit in nearly a decade and her first gold single since “Guilty,” the title track of her 22nd album, which was written by the Bee Gees‘ Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibbs and earned her a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.

I finally found someone
Who knocks me off my feet
I finally found the one
Who makes me feel complete
It started over coffee
We started out as friends
It’s funny how from simple things
The best things begin
This time is different la la la la
It’s all because of you la la la la
It’s better than it’s ever been
‘Cause we can talk it through

9. “Let’s Talk About Love,” Celine Dion (1997)
Written by Bryan Adams and Elliot Kennedy

Perhaps Bryan Adams’ “Let’s Talk About Love” was overshadowed by “My Heart Will Go One”—both appeared on Celine Dion‘s fifth English-language album—but the rocker’s song did serve as the title track. The album also featured collaborations with George Martin, the Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, Carole King and more.

Everywhere I go, all the places that I’ve been
Every smile is a new horizon on a land I’ve never seen
There are people around the world, different faces, different names
But there’s one true emotion that reminds me we’re the same

Let’s talk about love

From the laughter of a child to the tears of a grown man
There’s a thread that runs right through us and helps us understand
As subtle as a breeze that fans a flicker to a flame
From the very first sweet melody to the very last refrain

Adams later co-wrote “Another Year Has Gone By,” off Dion’s first English holiday album These Are Special Times a year later.

10. “The Right Place,” Taylor Hicks (2006)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Fresh off of winning the fifth season of American Idol, Taylor Hicks released his self-titled debut, which featured tracks written by Diane Warren and Rob Thomas. Several songs were also written and co-written by Hicks, along with Bryan Adams’ sole contribution “The Right Place.” The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

When there’s no one left to trust
Well, I think that you’ll agree
That you’ve come to the right place, baby

When you’re down on your luck
Well, just look around, you’ll see
That you’ve come to the right place


Photo by Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images

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