Bryan Adams covers songs from his youth on new compilation

A new covers album by multi-platinum recording artist Bryan Adams is described as a “diverse collection of time-honored classics from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.” Tracks of My Years on Verve Records features a variety of musical styles that influenced the popular ‘80s rocker from Chuck Berry's ‘Rock & Roll Music’ to Ray Charles' ‘I Can't Stop Loving You’ to The Beatles' ‘Any Time At All.’ The album also includes a new track titled, ‘She Knows Me.’ The song co-written with Adams’ longtime writing partner, Jim Vallance, is currently No. 21 on the Mediabase Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart. Vallance is also the pen behind many of the ‘Straight From The Heart’ singer’s classic hits including ‘Heaven,’ ‘Summer of ’69,’ and ‘Run To You.’

“Making the selection of the songs for the album took a long time,” says Adams in a news release about Tracks of My Years, his first studio record in six years. “We recorded all kinds of songs until the songs sort of presented themselves, or sounded different enough from the originals. We did about three months of recording spread out over the course of two years,” he explains. The album is an eclectic mix of songs reflective of the time when rock was played alongside pop, country and R&B. “Radio was king when I was a teenager,” reflects the 54-year-old Canadian artist. You'd hear McCartney's ‘Admiral Halsey’ straight into ‘Kiss and Say Goodbye’ by the Manhattans. Radio didn't discriminate back then.”

Adams tells Billboard he came upon the Manhattans 1976 No. 1 hit by searching Philadelphia soul and Motown songs on YouTube. “I hit on [‘Kiss and Say Goodbye’] and was like, 'Of course;' I remember it distinctly as a youngster.’ A number of songs were discovered that way,” he says. Adams also reveals that making a covers album was suggested by co-producers David Foster (Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Christina Aguilera) and Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Metallica). Adams states in an interview with the Calgary [Alberta] Sun that over a two-year period, he ended up recording at least 40 tunes, “but only 16 made the final deluxe edition track listing.”

Other featured cuts on Tracks of My Years include ‘Sunny’ by Bobby Hebb, The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay,’ ‘Never My Love’ by The Association, and the inspiration behind the album title, Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tracks of My Tears.’ Adams is pictured on the album cover in a black-and-white photo from 1975 that shows him as a long-haired 15-year-old. “The symbolism of that photograph is it’s the time I was sure that music was going to be what I was going to do,” he explains to the Calgary daily. “And I mean I had no idea where it was going to take me. Even if I was the roadie for a band, I would have been happy.”

The Tracks of My Years covers collection follows 2013’s Live at the Sydney Opera House and 2010’s Bare Bones, Adams’ critically acclaimed acoustic album that resulted in sold out shows across Europe, North America, Australia, and South Africa. Adams is also releasing a 30th-anniversary edition of his 1984 breakthrough album, Reckless, and is working on a new studio set with producer Jeff Lynne (ELO). Adams is currently touring the U.S. as part of his Reckless 30th Anniversary Tour. Consecutive shows in Cleveland, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City (Oct. 22-25) culminate with a Dec. 5 concert in Paris, France. The tour picks back up Jan. 12, 2015, for 15 dates in the artist’s native Canada through Feb. 28.

Watch Bryan Adams in a live performance of ‘She Knows Me,’ a new single included on the singer’s new album of covers titled Tracks of My Years.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Bryan Guy Adams was born November 5, 1959, in Kingston, Ontario. His parents are British, and his father was a Canadian foreign service diplomat, moving with his family to posts in Portugal, Austria, and Israel. At age 14, Adams started auditioning as a guitarist in Vancouver and rehearsed with his own band. He then quit school and went on the road playing clubs and working as a session player in Vancouver studios.

* In 1978, Adams met former Prism drummer Jim Vallance and began a songwriting partnership that continues today. Adams signed to A&M Records later in the year and recorded demos of the songs ‘I'm Ready,’ ‘Straight from the Heart,’ and ‘Remember,’ which would appear on the albums Cuts Like A Knife and his 1980 self-titled debut, respectively.

* Adams co-wrote songs for other artists and bands including ‘No Way to Treat a Lady’ (Bonnie Raitt), ‘Don't Let Him Know’ (Prism), ‘Teacher Teacher’ (38 Special), and ‘Edge Of A Dream’ (Joe Cocker, Bonnie Tyler, Kiss). As a solo artist, Adams put four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than 17 million album in the U.S. alone, selling 65 million worldwide, according to the RIAA.

* Cuts Like A Knife was Adams’ third album, and the 1983 effort proved to be his international breakthrough release behind the Top 10 single ‘Straight from the Heart’ along with the Top 20 title track and ‘This Time.’ The album peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and achieved multi-platinum sales status in Canada and platinum certification from U.S. sales.

* Bryan Adams assured his place as an ‘80s pop-rock icon with Reckless, his fourth studio album released in 1984 and his most successful album to date. The album sold more than 5 million units in the U.S. alone (12 million worldwide), and was the first Canadian album to sell more than one million copies in that country. Reckless topped the Billboard 200 and yielded six Top 15 singles including ‘Run to You,’ ‘Somebody,’ ‘Heaven,’ ‘Summer of '69,’ ‘One Night Love Affair,’ and ‘It's Only Love.’

* The Cascais Cultural Centre in Portugal is hosting an exhibition of photography by Adams through January 2015. The exhibition titled “Exposed” features photos of well-known singers and musicians including Mick Jagger and the late Amy Winehouse. Adams newest book and exhibition is a collection of photographs he took of British servicemen and women who suffered life changing injuries serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The intimate photographs will be exhibited at Somerset House in London from Nov. 12 to Jan. 25. 2015. Adams is also working on a new album of original music with producer Jeff Lynne (ELO).

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