When Bryan Adams phones Rolling Stone, he’s about to take the stage at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, for the final date of the European leg of the Reckless 30th Anniversary Tour. And how has the tour, a celebration of his blockbuster 1984 album, been going so far? “Great,” the 55-year-old Canadian singer and guitarist says, then laughs. “I feel like it hasn’t stopped for 30 years.”
And it won’t stop, for a good while. For the past few months, Adams has been crisscrossing the globe with Reckless, the chart-topping album that has sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. since its release, spawned six hit singles — including the indefatigable “Summer of ’69” and the lighter-waving power ballad “Heaven” — and made him a superstar at the age of 25. Not bad for a guy who just a few years earlier, in response to critical and commercial indifference, had wanted to title his second album Bryan Adams Hasn’t Heard of You Either.
Last year, Universal Music Enterprises issued a four-disc remastered and expanded edition of Reckless, adding demos, audio of a 1985 live show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon and other extras to the original 10-track collection. And now, after bringing the anniversary tour everywhere from London to Lithuania, Adams is embarking on a run of U.S. Reckless dates that begin on April 11 in Houston and stretch through the summer. “A lot of these songs are always in my set,” he says of the shows, “but now I’m playing the entire album, including the bonus tracks.”
As for what Adams recalls when looking back on the Reckless days, he says, “It was a hell of a rollercoaster to suddenly get on.” So much so, in fact, that Adams barely remembers performing in front of roughly 100,000 people at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium for Live Aid, which came partway through the Reckless jaunt. “If it wasn’t for the clips that are now out there, I’d have virtually no recollection of it — I’d even forgotten that Jack Nicholson introduced me to the stage.” But, he adds, “I do remember turning to my guitarist Keith [Scott] onstage on the first night of the U.S. tour and saying, ‘What did we do to make this happen?’ Keith shrugged his shoulders, but the answer was, it was our time.”
Adams continues, “If you think about it, it was really just an incredible moment for music in general. In ’84, ’85, things were pretty much dominated by Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen and Madonna and Prince. So for a little Canadian band to get a week or two at Number One, and do what we did? That was pretty great.”
When Reckless was released in November ’84, it spawned early hits in “Run to You” and “Somebody.” But it wasn’t until “Heaven” and “Summer of ’69” came out that things really exploded for you. Until that moment, did it feel like the album cycle may have been coming to an end?
It’s hard to say. I was so immersed in touring that it was sort of hard to gauge what was happening. For the first part of 1985, I was in Europe doing my own shows, and also opening for Tina Turner [who duetted with Adams on the Reckless track “It’s Only Love”]. By the time we got to America there had already been a couple singles, but then “Heaven” came out in the summer of ’85. That kept the ball rolling along for a while. I think we ended up touring for a few years after that.