One of Canada's most solid exports for nearly 40 years: Bryan Adams, the raspy-voiced singer whose irresistible pop-rock melodies have found fame all over the globe. He's sold some 75 million albums around the globe and added 20 Junos (the Canadian version of the Grammy Award) to his shelf.
Here's a helping of his biggest hits around the world that '80s lovers will surely never forget!
"Straight from the Heart" (1983)
Bryan's first big hit - a No. 10 single in the U.S. - was actually written five years before he decided to record it himself. (Ex-Stories frontman Ian Lloyd was the first to record it in 1980.) "It was one of the first complete songs I'd ever written," Adams described it to Songfacts. Adams version, from his breakthrough album Cuts Like a Knife, set the template for his work through the rest of the '80s.
"Run to You" (1984)
On his next album Reckless, Adams turned up the charm and created one of the decade's biggest rock albums. All six of its singles hit the Top 20 in America, and it became Canada's first ever million-selling album. The rollicking "Run to You," turned down by Blue Oyster Cult, hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Inspiration for "Heaven" came from Journey's "Faithfully," a huge hit when Adams opened for them in 1983. Journey drummer Steve Smith ended up playing on the track when the intended drummer had to leave for another session. Though he was worried about a ballad like "Heaven" not fitting the hard-edged album, it ended up becoming the biggest hit of them all, reaching No. 1 in America. (In 2002, a techno cover by DJ Sammy became a worldwide Top 10 hit.)
"Summer of '69" (1985)
So...what's this song actually about? Even Adams and longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance can't agree, but there's no arguing what a monster hit this nostalgic rocker was, reaching No. 5 in America.
"Heat of the Night" (1987)
Adams took a deserved break from the solo spotlight after Reckless, collaborating with Vallance on writing "Tears Are Not Enough" for the Canadian charity supergroup Northern Lights. While the lead single from Into the Fire, Adams' last album of the '80s, was another Top 10 hit in the U.S., the album failed to spin off as many hits its predecessor. "I suppose the perception was it wasn't Reckless II," Adams later reflected. "Who cares?" Indeed, he spent the '90s spinning off big hits for soundtracks and solo albums alike.
Bonus Track: Glass Tiger, "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" (1986)
Bryan Adams' runaway success didn't exactly spur on a great white wave of Canadian rockers, but he did lend an uncredited vocal cameo to the debut single by this Ontario-based group, produced by his songwriting partner Jim Vallance. It actually charted higher than most of Adams' own singles, topping the Canadian charts and reaching just one spot lower in the States.