Top 10 Bryan Adams Songs

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

When Bryan Adams was 19 he released his first single, a disco song, “Let Me Take You Dancing.” After co-writing some songs for the Kiss 1982 album, Creatures of the Night, Adams transitioned his sound more into rock. By the early ’80s, Adams was all over the airwaves with “Summer of 69” and power ballads “Straight From the Heart” and “Heaven,” and continued his streak throughout the ’90s with one of his biggest hits “Everything I Do, I Do It For You,” and into present-day as one of the best-selling artists of all time with nearly 100 million records and singles worldwide.

Collaborating with everyone from Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, and Sting, and writing songs for other artists, Adams has also shot dozens of artists as a photographer, including Cher, Iggy Pop, St. Vincent, Jennifer Hudson, Rita Ora, Saweetie, sports icons, and personalities. Adams also shot several album covers, including for Annie Lennox (The Annie Lennox Collection), Amy Winehouse (Lioness: Hidden Treasures), and Rammstein’s 2021 release Zeit, and his work was published in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Vanity Fair, GQ, British Vogue, Interview, and other publications.

When asked about the best advice he had ever received Adams said “Keep writing songs, make a cool album, do some gigs, and everything else will follow.”

Of the hundreds of songs he has written and continues to write, here’s a 1980s through ’90s timeline of 10 Bryan Adams classics.

1. “Cuts Like a Knife” (1983)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Peaking at No. 6 on the Top Rock Tracks chart in 1983, “Cuts Like a Knife” was the second single, and title track, off Adam’s third album. Cuts Like a Knife also peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200.

2. “Straight From the Heart” (1983)
Written by Bryan Adams and Erica Kagna

Also off Cuts Like a Knife, “Straight From the Heart” was originally recorded by Ian Lloyd on his 1980 album, Third Wave Civilization before Adams released the ballad himself. “Straight From the Heart” was Adams’ breakthrough song in the U.S., reaching No. 10 on the Hot 100.

3. “Summer of 69” (1984)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Adams’ fourth album, Reckless, birthed a number of hits from “Run to You,” “It’s Only Love,” his Tina Turner duet, and the ballad “Heaven” (see below), but “Summer of 69” remains one of his most iconic releases.

“It’s a very simple song about looking back on the summertime and making love,” said Adams. “For me, the ’69 was a metaphor for making love, not about the year. I had someone in Spain ask me once why I wrote the first line ‘I had my first real sex dream,’ I had to laugh.” Adams’ lyrics are actually I got my first real six-string / Bought it at the five and dime / Played it till my fingers bled / Was the summer of ’69.

Sexual innuendos aside, the single climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and pushed Reckless to the No. 1 spot in 1985. 

Read our full Behind the Song on “Summer of 69” here.

4. “It’s Only Love,” featuring Tina Turner (1985)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

The final single off Reckless, “It’s Only Love” featured Tina Turner and earned the duo a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Adams, who was scheduled to perform at Turner’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021 but was forced to cancel after contracting COVID, said working with Turner was one of his memorable experiences.

“Working with Tina Turner was amazing,” said Adams. “I used to go to see her in the clubs when I was in my late teens, early 20s before she hit the big time. It was incredible to watch her. It was such a privilege to have sung with her, especially since I was only 24 at the time”

5. “Heaven” (1985)
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

First appearing on the soundtrack for the 1983 romantic comedy A Night in Heaven, starring Leslie Ann Warren and Christopher Atkins, “Heaven” was the third single off Reckless and finally reached No. 1, Adams’ first, on the Hot 100, more than a year after the album was released.

6. “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” (1991)
Written by Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen, and Robert John”Mutt” Lange

Featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and on Adams’s sixth studio album, Waking Up the Neighbours, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” reached No. 1 in nearly 20 countries and is one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling more than 15 million copies worldwide.

7. “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” (1991)
Written by Bryan Adams and Robert John “Mutt” Lange

Released as the second single off Waking Up the Neighbours, “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” received two Grammy nominations in 1992 for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Solo.

8. “Please Forgive Me” (1993)
Written by Bryan Adams and Robert John “Mutt” Lange

“Please Forgive Me” was the sole single released off Adams’ greatest hits album, So Far So Good. The ballad was also the only new single on the compilation, which also featured Adams’ hits from 1983 through 1991.

9. “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” (1995)
Written by Bryan Adams, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, and Michael Kamen

Written for the soundtrack of the 1995 film Don Juan DeMarco, starring Marlon Brandon, Faye Dunaway, and Johnny Depp, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” is featured several times in the movie, including two versions in Spanish. Adams’ version, featuring flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, was also released on his seventh album, 18 til I Die.

10. “All For Love,” featuring Sting and Rod Stewart (1993)
Written by Bryan Adams, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, and Michael Kamen

Returning with his songwriting trio of Mutt Lange and Michael Kamen, who worked with Adams on the Don Juan DeMarco hit “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” the group got together to write the anthemic “All For Love,” featured in the 1993 action comedy The Three Musketeers. The title is inspired by The Three Musketeers’ motto of “All for one, and one for all,” and also features vocals by Rod Stewart and Sting.

Photo: Courtesy of Sonic PR

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