frontThis is one that’s resulted in a few raised eyebrows when I mention it and a few gasps when I say that I own a copy.  It is Bryan Adams, after all.  Some even ask whether I got confused when attempting to buy a Ryan Adams album.  I roll my eyes at that joke, of course.  I mean, c’mon.  anyway, I picked up Bryan Adams’ Reckless not too long ago for £2 (£1.99, to be precise) when browsing Mixed-Up Records’ Discogs stuff.  Now, I’d spotted a couple of his records during my many digs, but I wasn’t really interested in buying any.  Hadn’t even considered buying any; after all, I hadn’t listened to a Bryan Adams album for over 20 years (I owned Waking Up the Neighbours on tape – purchased from the Britannia Music Club back in 1992 I think).  But anyway, I was aware of Reckless and it has some really ace songs.  Songs that make me smile.  So, when I spotted it for a penny short of £2 I couldn’t resist.

I appreciate that Mr. Adams has his critics due to his more schmaltzy output (I dare say I’m one of them), but there’s a bunch of good songs on here.  Some of them genuine rockers, too.  A look at the internets also tells you that Kerrang! listed this at 49 on their “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”.  Yup, you read that right folks.  While I’m not sure this qualifies as heavy metal, I admire their enthusiasm.

There’s something like seven singles on here.  Seriously.  I remember way too many of these for someone who never owned the album.  So they must have been singles, right?  Of course, I would imagine that Summer of 69 and Run To You are the ones that folks would be most familiar with.  I dare say most folk really like those two numbers.  Even Adams’ detractors.  It’s also pretty interesting to listen to those songs now.  Big singles and still tracks that get a fair bit of airplay.
backOne finds our man here reminiscing about a summer of love where he and his lady getting caught up “in a 69” (he said in an interview back in 2008 that it’s nothing to do with the year).  There was me thinking it was all about his band and their dreams of being full-time rock n’ rollers crashing to the ground when life came a’ calling.  Before the commitments to wifes and jobs and such, they had plans to tour the globe and get their hands on free stuff and rake it in through sell out tours and commercial endorsements.  But no, Adams was reminiscing about his sexual exploits with his summer love.  Still, for many it remains a Springsteen-esque rock anthem that throws the listener into Adams’ story of a small town lad with big rockin’ dreams, amaright?

Then there’s Run To You Easily; easily one of the best songs in Adams’ catalogue.  A stone cold classic, but again it’s strange cause he’s singing about his other lady.  There’s a conflicting message here.  First, his woman has a love for him that’ll “never die”, but he’s soon justifying the affair by saying that “her love is cold, it wouldn’t hurt her if she didn’t know”.  He comes clean, though.  Admitting that he’s just all for the sexy time cause it’s, well, sexy time (“I know her love is true, but it’s so damn easy makin’ love to you”).  So, it seems our man Adams has dubious morals.  But at least he’s not Robin Thicke, right?  I should also go ahead and point out that the tune itself is still brilliant – particularly the bass.

The other tracks on here worthy of attention (and Kerrang!’s accolade) are She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing (lifting riffage and everyone loves hand-claps, right?) Heaven and Somebody (the power ballads that Adams excels at).  Side two actually boasts the real rockers, though.  It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) is still a bunch of fun and, while I don’t know about heavy metal, Kids Wanna Rock has some big riffage that reminds me of some of the fun AC/DC stuff, while Aint Gonna Cry is sorta like Van Halen.  Maybe.  At a push.

Adams will likely always find himself labelled schmaltzy thanks to his run of power, and just plain insipid, ballads.  But Reckless is still a pretty smashing collection of songs.  Even if it sounds a bit dated at times.

* My copy is is in really good condition.  Looks like whoever owned it didn’t like it much.  The record has just a few slight marks, the cover a few dents at the corners and the original inner has been replaced by a plain white one.  If you fancy, there’s obviously a shiny new 30th Anniversary reissue with a bunch of bonus cuts and, if you go deluxe, a live performance.

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29 thoughts on ““For a couple of bucks you get a weird haircut”: Bryan Adams – Reckless (1984)

  1. Great write up J! Until Adams released the delux edition which I bought from iTunes i hadn’t listened to him in years myself! This is a great solid AOR ball of Rock! As a matter of fact yesterday I just picked up the copy of AOR Classic Rock Magazine with Aerosmith on the co Er and as well has a article where Adams net to great lengths to find the masters and original artwork to Reckless!
    Awesome album one of my favs! Than again I’m a Canuck! HAHAHAHA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deke. It was actually some chat relating to the deluxe set and anniversary that spurred that purchase (and the fact it was less than £2!). Is the bonus goods worth investigating?

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  2. Bang up job, J. I love this record, totally formative for me in the 80s.

    Currently, I own it on LP, CD and cassette! I also have a bunch of other stuff from the time period – I should do a post and link to yours! I wanna get the Deluxe that Deke got.

    You should also pick up the albums just previous and after this one too. Cuts Like A Knife and Into The Fire were damn fine records. If you have trouble getting them there, let me know. I can get you solid vinyls for a couple of bucks (and get a weird haircut, waste my life away 🙂 ) over here, no trouble.

    Hooray for Reckless!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Three formats! That’s a lot of love for this one, sir! I would encourage a post … share your thoughts!

      I will also have a look at the other albums you mention there.

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      1. Haha yeah I suppose, but I think everyone had this album, over here. It was just always there, like air. I know I started with the cassette, then the CD. Picked up the LP from a bin when I finally got a reliable turntable. And, of course, I can’t ever get rid of any of them. That would feel like sacrilege.

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  3. Nice write up. That album has so many hits that it could almost be a greatest hits album.

    The b side on the Heaven single is Diana. It was written as a spoof of the wedding of Charles and Diana, so was left off the Reckless album as to not offend the royal couple. That would have probably been another single if it was included. I heard rumours at the time that Bryan Adams and Diana were having an affair. He has never performed that song again in concert since her death, so maybe there is something to it.
    As for this album, it was the last Bryan Adams I ever bought. Like some musicians he started out as a rock singer and morphed into a sappy love song singer. Unfortunately with the CRTC in Canada I get to hear Bryan Adams 3-4 times a day, every day on my local rock radio station so I have had it up to here with his hits, but it is nice to put one of his first four albums on and play the b sides.

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    1. Thanks, fella. I sorta assume that this is the only album most folks need to own. If they need to own Bryan Adams.

      I didn’t know this Diana stuff. Most intriguing. Given Adams’ views on affairs (Run to You) I wouldn’t put it past him. Ha!

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      1. Haha yeah that was gonna be part of the extra stuff I have from around that time. Diana’s a fun tune. We used to hear it on the radio, CFTR out of Toronto. Of course, now it’ll never turn up anywhere.

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      2. Funny enough, Summer of 69 is playing right now!

        Yes they do. The local station has a turntable and they spin vinyl sometimes. Diana however is in regular rotation! Every two days or so, it gets a spin.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review, J! Aw man, this has all the hits that I love! Bryan Adams was intensely overplayed on the radio here in Canada. I didn’t care, he was a guilty pleasure for me. I’d belt out his songs in the car…My sis was lucky to catch Bryan Adams on his Reckless tour when he stopped in to our hometown (I was too young).

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  5. There’s a scene in the South Park movie where there’s a quote along the lines of ‘The Canadian government has already apologized for Bryan Adams’ – no apology needed I believe, this is a great record!
    Also perhaps the smoking gun, the irrefutable evidence for why Side A/Side B is the way to go: Summer of ’69 is NOT a mid-album track, it deserves to be a side opener.
    That is 1.99 well spent, thanks for reviewing BA!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I don’t mind telling you that I’ve thrown side 2 on just for Summer of ’69 – a definite side opener. I was actually chatting today about how sequencing an album was very different when vinyl and tape were the formats – you need two openers and two closers. Adams had that on here, certainly not made with CD in mind!

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  6. Nice one J. No mocking from me – I loved my cassette of this one; although I haven’t got the black plastic yet. Run To You used to just send shivers up my spine as a kid.

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      1. The guit is great, but I think it was just the drama and dynamics of the song. Same reason I love Queen ‘Save Me’ and Heart ‘Alone’ – or maybe I’m just a big AOR wimp!

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      2. Haha. I like the idea of an AOR wimp.

        I think the song needed an extra verse, though. Maybe his lady finds out he’s having sexy time with this other woman and she goes and kills them. Or something like that. That would be really dramatic, eh?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Haha man that extra verse would have been a ‘killer!’

        For me, it’s also the guitar sound in Kids Wanna Rock. That little riff intro, the huge crash, then the breakdown in the middle… I dunno, all these years later and a zillion times played, it still gets me right there, ya know?

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  7. In all honesty, next to Aerosmith’s “Last Child”, “Run To You” was the song that made me want to play guitar. The sound and tone of the guitar in that tune just hit something in me. Plus, whenever I watched the video I always imagined that I’d go out to those woods and find his Strat in the leaves and take it home.

    I was a weird kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was listening to it again just the other day – really just to hear Run To You. There’s something about the sound of that song … from the tone of the guitar right through to Adams’ husk and the vibes going on.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Good review, J! I like the Springsteen comparison too. I enjoy “Run To You” and “It’s Only Love” — he sounds great with Tina Turner. I’ll have to brush up on the rest of the album.

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