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Bryan Adams - Cuts Like A Knife [A&M SP-4919] (1983)

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Bryan Adams


Cuts Like A Knife

Released: 1983
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP-4919
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 The Only One
02 Take Me Back
03 This Time
04 Straight From The Heart
05 Cuts Like A Knife
06 I'm Ready
07 What's It Gonna Be
08 Don't Leave Me Lonely
09 Let Him Know
10 The Best Was Yet To Come
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Album Review

Beverly Paterson []

By the time Cuts Like a Knife was released in January of 1983, Bryan Adams had spent several years refining his craft. Smitten with rock and roll since elementary school, the Canadian born singer, songwriter and guitarist started playing in bands, touring and making records as a teenager.

Although Bryan chalked up a credible reputation on the live front, his first two albums, Bryan Adams and You Want It, You Got It failed to ignite much fanfare. But all that changed with his third outing - which has now been reissued in a remastered, limited-edition 24-karat gold CD format by Audio Fidelity.

Aside from featuring an avalanche of wildly catchy tunes, Cuts Like a Knife is also the record where Bryan found and established his own recognizable style and identity. Sealed tight with heaps of huge hooks and communal choruses normally reserved for sporting events, Cuts Like a Knife fastened pop elements to a hard-rocking essence with poise and presence. Bryan's raspy, sandpaper vocals, which often recall a pleasant pairing of Rod Stewart and John Mellencamp, are an ideal match for the mode of music he performs. His sturdy lungs fill the room, cordially encouraging listeners to sing along with his infectious tunes.

Among the delights included on Cuts Like a Knife are the title track, ''This Time,'' ''What's It Gonna Be'' and ''The Only One.'' Torched by a bluesy lick, ''Take Me Back'' stands as another memorable number, while ''Straight From The Heart'' is a convincingly impassioned power ballad. Robust arrangements, crowned with stabbing melodies and guitars that squeal and shimmer additionally benefit the material and delivery of the songs on the disc.

Arriving at a moment when new wave and synthesizer-soaked pop fluff monopolized the charts, Cuts Like a Knife offers no such sounds. Focusing strictly on gimmick-free hard edged pop rock, the album proved there will always be an audience for real music recorded by real people. And while the production is of its era, meaning it's clean and glossy, it doesn't stifle or smother the spirited talent behind the songs.

Bryan Adams - Reckless [A&M SP-5013] (1984)

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Bryan Adams



Released: 1984
Label: A&M
Catalog: SP-5013
Genre: Pop / Rock

Matrix / Runout (Side A):

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
T R A C K L I S T:
01 One Night Love Affair
02 She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
03 Run To You
04 Heaven
05 Somebody
06 Summer Of '69
07 Kids Wanna Rock
08 It's Only Love
09 Long Gone
10 Ain't Gonna Cry
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Album Review

There was a time back in 1985 when Bryan Adams' music was everywhere on rock and pop radio. His fourth album, Reckless, was a bonafide smash, resulting in several of the Canadian rocker's most popular hits: ''Run to You'', ''Heaven'', ''Summer of 69'', ''Somebody'', and ''It's Only Love''. It was undoubtedly the album that made Adams a major worldwide superstar. But more importantly, Reckless did two things aside from being a perfect record, and the high-watermark in the songwriting partnership between Adams and Jim Vallance. First, it helped bring guitar-based rock 'n' roll back to the American pop charts-along with the music of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, U2, and ZZ Top and others-at a time when British synthpop was the rage during the early-to-mid-'80s. Second, thanks to the success of ''Heaven'', Adams' first U.S. number one hit, it further established the power ballad as a surefire way for rockers to get a hit single on the pop chart.

The crossover appeal of Reckless is undeniable; it has something for those yearning for back-to-basics rock 'n' roll, and something for those who love pop music with a slightly harder edge (in addition to the requisite ballad). Reckless remains Adams' best-known and definitive record, a fact that was not lost last year when the album was reissued by Universal Music as a special double-disc edition to mark its 30th anniversary. Quite fittingly, that milestone was also the basis of Adams' latest tour, in which he and his band performed all of the songs from the original record and more when they made a stop at New York City's Beacon Theatre, the second evening of a two-night stand there.

These days, the idea of artists-from John Fogerty to Steely Dan to Patti Smith-playing all the songs from a particular classic album for a live audience is now common practice on the concert circuit. But in the case of the live performance of Reckless, Adams interestingly deviated from playing the album's original track list straight through. Instead, he began the show with the rocking ''Reckless'', which was recorded during the album sessions but never made it onto the finished record; the same could be said of the other track, ''The Boys Night Out'', which was sandwiched during the setlist in between ''Run to You'' and ''Heaven''. As if to end the Reckless portion of the evening on a memorable high, Adams and the band played the classic ''Summer of 69'' (which was the sixth song on the original record) as the closing number rather than ''Ain't Gonna Cry''. It was a smart move to leave the audience satisfied with a recognizable favorite.

Of course, that was the just first half of the show. The rest of the evening was a cross-section of Adams' other hits from his pre- and post-Reckless career. It was certainly inevitable that the artist did ''Everything I Do (I Do It for You),'' the power ballad that became his biggest success on the singles chart from 1991, along with ''This Time'', ''Please Forgive Me'', and another signature song of his, the burning rocker ''Cuts Like a Knife''. The encore segment was a somewhat looser and stripped-down affair, with Adams performing mostly just by himself with a guitar on ballad-laden material: ''She Knows Me,'' from his most recent studio album Tracks of My Years; an acoustic version of his early hit from 1983, ''Straight From the Heart''; and an very old track, ''Lonely Nights'', which he explained was the first song he ever recorded in New York City.

Now in his mid-50s and still looking quite fit, Adams retained that boyish enthusiasm from his early years for this Beacon performance, proving that the passionate nature of his music hadn't diminished over time. A good part of his sonic identity remained virtually unchanged due to the presence of his two longtime band cohorts, drummer Mickey Curry and especially lead guitarist Keith Scott (who turned in some dazzling solos, like on ''Ain't Gonna Cry''), who were accompanied by latter-day members keyboardist Gary Breit and bassist Norm Fisher. The energy from their performances rubbed off on the audience, which was, from my perspective, a fairly even ratio of men to women-a testament to Adams's popularity across gender lines. They sang along to Adams' every word on the big hits, and some of the couples in the crowd predictably swayed to the slower stuff, like ''Everything I Do (I Do It For You)''.

Adams' Beacon show not only reaffirmed the popularity of songs such as ''Heaven'' and ''Summer of 69'' 30 years later, but also what a satisfying record Reckless was and still is from top to bottom. For the mostly 40- and 50-somethings at the Beacon, it was an opportunity for them to relive a part of their '80s MTV-era youth through their hero's signature work. []

Bryan Adams's Biography


With his distinctive vocals and blue-collar songwriting skills, Canadian icon Bryan Adams' take on rock 'n' roll basics found a niche that has lasted for over 25 years.

Adams solo career was launched with the release of his self-titled debut album Bryan Adams in February of 1980 on A&M Records. Adams had already been touring, recording demos and working as a studio musician paying his rent for a few years, but it was when Adams formed a song-writing partnership with drummer Jim Vallance that things started to happen. The first album was not initially released in the U.S. (although ''Hiding from Love'' was issued as a single and reached No. 43 on the dance chart), so Adams assembled a backup band and embarked on his first Canadian tour as a solo act, spending four months playing clubs and colleges.

The tour was to be the foundation for his second album, You Want It, You Got It, which was recorded in NYC in two weeks and released in the spring of 1981. The original album title was Bryan Adams Hasn't Heard Of You Either but that title was rejected by A&M as being too provocative. This 2nd album became Adams' first 'official' release in the U.S. He toured America for six months, opening for the Kinks and Foreigner and by January of 1982 the album broke into the Billboard charts peaking at No. 118 in 13 weeks. The single ''Lonely Nights'' became his first Hot 100 entry at No. 84 and peaked at No. 3 on the mainstream rock chart.

His third album, Cuts Like a Knife was released in January of 1983, with the single ''Straight from the Heart'', leading the way. It broke his career open, peaking in the Top Ten of the Hot 100 and setting up the LP, which followed. The album also reached Top Ten, selling platinum and spawning further Top 40 hits with the title song and ''This Time''.The album's success was stimulated by Adams' extensive touring in support of it, which began in Canada and continued into the U.S., where he opened for Journey. From there he toured Europe followed by dates in Japan and then back to Canada.

Adams' fourth album Reckless was released on his 25th birthday, November 5, 1984, and was preceded by the single ''Run to You'', which reached the Top Ten. It was followed by no less than five Top 20 singles drawn from the album: ''Somebody'', ''Heaven'' (which hit number one), ''Summer of '69? (Top Ten), ''One Night Love Affair'', and a duet with Tina Turner, ''It's Only Love''. Reckless reached No. 1 in the U.S. selling five million copies in America and a reported three million more in the rest of the world. Adams also earned his first two Grammy nominations, Best Male Rock Performance for the album as a whole, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for ''It's Only Love''. As per usual, Adams toured extensively in support of it. His ''World Wide in '85? tour began in December of 1984 finally wrapping in November 1985. One of the highlights that year included being the first artist to open the American side of the Live Aid concert from Philadelphia on July 13th.

Into the Fire, followed in March of 1987, prefaced by the single ''Heat of the Night,'' which became Adams' fifth Top Ten hit in the U.S. The album reached the Top Ten in the U.S. and sold a million copies, with another million sold overseas. It also spawned the Top 40 hits ''Hearts on Fire'' and ''Victim of Love''. Adams' worldwide tour in support of the album went on for more than a year. One of the final shows, in Werchter, Belgium, was filmed for a television special, ''Bryan Adams: Live in Belgium'', broadcast in Canada the following year.

Live! Live! Live! a concert album drawn from the 1988 Belgium show, was initially released only in Japan but later garnered a wider audience. In a departure from earlier years, Adams did not tour extensively but opted to spend his time in England with writer/producer Robert John ''Mutt'' Lange, preparing for his next album.

In June of 1991, Adams went back on the road in Europe co-headlining with ZZ Top. This coincided with the release of the single ''(Everything I Do) I Do It for You'' which topped the U.S. charts for seven weeks - the longest any song had remained at No. 1 in eight years. Its international success was even greater; spending 16 weeks at No. 1 in the U.K., making it the longest-running chart-topper in the history of the British charts.

Waking Up the Neighbours was released in September of 1991, and Adams once again hit the road - this time until July of 1993. The album featured two Top Ten hits ''Can't Stop This Thing We Started'' and of course, ''(Everything I Do) I Do It for You''. Before it finished running its course there would be three more Top 40 hits, ''There Will Never Be Another Tonight'', ''Do I Have to Say the Words?'' and ''Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven''. Waking Up the Neighbours sold four million copies in the U.S. and another six million in the rest of the world. It also earned Adams a Grammy nomination and his first Academy Award nomination.

Adams began to look forward to his next studio album, but in the interim released a hits compilation, So Far So Good, in November 1993 featuring the single ''Please Forgive Me,'' a new Adams/Lange track. The song would also find its way into the Top Ten.

Then came the Adams' theme song for the movie The Three Musketeers, ''All for Love'', recorded with Rod Stewart and Sting, which hit No. 1 in the U.S. in January of 1994. That same month, Adams embarked on an ambitious tour of the Far East, including countries like Vietnam that were rarely visited by Western pop artists. Throughout the better part of 1994, Bryan kept a low profile with the exception of a song called ''Rock Steady'' written for Bonnie Raitt's live album Road Tested. He performed the song as a duet with her, and the two soon shared a chart single.

At the beginning of 1996 Adams released a new album 18 'Til I Die. The album featured the flamenco-tinged ''Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?'' from the Johnny Depp/Marlon Brando film Don Juan De Marco. Adams was rewarded with yet another No. 1 hit, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and his second Oscar nomination for Best Song. Later that year, he sang and wrote the single, ''I Finally Found Someone'', a duet with Barbra Streisand for her movie, The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), later that year. ''I Finally Found Someone'' became a top ten hit and won Adams his third Academy-Award nomination.

Adams filmed an appearance for MTV's popular Unplugged series in the fall of 1997, and it was released as an album in December. It was a modest success, and served as a stopgap until the appearance of his next studio album, On a Day Like Today, which was released in October 1998. Overseas, the disc featuring the Melanie C duet ''When You're Gone'', reached the UK No. 3 spot in December of 1998 and spent 10 weeks in the Top 10. This was followed by the Top 10 dance re-mix of ''Cloud Number Nine''. The album also hit No. 3 in Canada.

In November 1999, Adams issued a second hits compilation, The Best of Me, but the American branch of A&M/Interscope declined to release it. The title track ''The Best Of Me'' charted all over Europe and in Canada.

Adams returned in the spring of 2002 collaborating with Hans Zimmer on his first full-length song score for a film, the animated DreamWorks feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The soundtrack made it into the Top 40 and Adams and Zimmer earned a Golden Globe Nomination for their collaboration.

In September of 2004, Room Service was released in Canada and Europe where it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard European Top 100 albums Chart. This was shortly followed by its release in the US in the spring of 2005.

In the fall of 2005 Bryan Adams celebrated his 25th anniversary as a recording artist with his first two-CD collection Anthology, the biggest retrospective of his multi-platinum career. The 36 selection Anthology spans Adams' entire career from 1980 through to present day, offering the very best of one of the most popular rock singer-songwriters to ever don jeans and a t-shirt.

In 2006, Adams wrote and performed the theme song ''Never Let Go'' which was featured in the closing credits of the film The Guardian starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. Adams also co-wrote the song ''Never Gonna Break My Faith'' for the film Bobby. The song was performed by the R&B singers Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige and earned him a Golden Globe Nomination in 2007.

In 2008, Adams released his eleventh album called 11 containing 3 songs with Vallance credited as co-songwriter. The first single released from the album was ''I Thought I'd Seen Everything''. Adams did an 11-day, 11-country European acoustic promotional tour to kick off the release of the album. The album debuted at number one in Canada as well as reaching number 2 in Germany. In the United States the album charted at number eighty.

In December 2009, Bryan Adams released the song ''You've Been A Friend To Me'' for the movie Old Dogs.
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