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Everything thing he does, he does it for... Vogue, etc., also you
June 22, 2013 7:30 PM   Subscribe

Bryan Adams, the photographer. Most people know Bryan Adams as the Heartland Rocker from Canada who scored hit after ubiquitous hit in the meat-and-potatoes rock and pop-rock mold in the 1980s and early '90s, a la "Summer of '69" and "Everything I Do (I Do It For You." Comparatively few, however, know about his second career, as a successful editorial and advertising photographer who has work published in Vogue, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and many other glossy magazines, and shown in exhibits in worldwide.

His magazine work has often featured other celebrities and musicians, most notably among them troubled talents such as the late Amy Winehouse, Mickey Rourke and Lindsay Lohan. Oh, and there's Queen Elizabeth II. An exhibit of such work from Adams has recently been making its way around the U.S. Southwest.

Galleries are shown below. (Note: Some photos NSFW.)

America Suburb X (Gallery and review of his photography book "Exposed.")

Vogue Paris
posted by raysmj (95 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Really fantastic work. Much better than I expected.
posted by letitrain at 7:45 PM on June 22, 2013


You know, he's Canadian.
posted by cacofonie at 7:51 PM on June 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


If he'd stuck with photography, the Canadian government wouldn't have had to apologize for Byran Adams on so many occasions.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:52 PM on June 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


If he'd stuck with photography, the Canadian government wouldn't have had to apologize for Byran Adams on so many occasions.

can I favourite this 49 times?
posted by philip-random at 8:05 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a slight possibility I'll be taking a trip to LA in August. Fascinating, I know. But, do the Beckhams still live there? 'Cause if so, Vicky, ring me up. Let's ride bikes together. That's all, just wanna take a bike ride w/a famous person. I'll spring for snow cones. Maybe your husband can introduce me to Snoop. He and Snoop can have snow cones, too.
posted by cog_nate at 8:07 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


These photos are pretty good, too.
posted by cog_nate at 8:07 PM on June 22, 2013


Nice pics, he's got a good eye. (and I always like Bryan Adams better than Ryan Adams, anyway)
posted by jonmc at 8:11 PM on June 22, 2013


and "Take Me Back" was his best record. (link is to live version, studio version is better)
posted by jonmc at 8:15 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Bryan Adams. Just today I made my son watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with me, with music by Bryan Adams and acting by Kevin Costner, neither of whom were really a good match for the story and they both have such milquetoasty reputations but who cares, it's a fun indulgence to watch/listen. These pictures are impressive as far as celebrity pictures go.
posted by headnsouth at 8:21 PM on June 22, 2013


I love Bryan Adams. Just today I made my son watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with me, with music by Bryan Adams

Don't forget The Three Musketeers, in which the strained, raspy voice of Bryan Adams is supplemented by the strained, raspy voices of Rod Stewart and Sting.

More effective than any purpose-built anti-smoking campaign.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:35 PM on June 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Wow, these photos are great, far better than his music. Thanks for posting, I would never have known he was talented otherwise.

If I ever hear Summer of 69 or Everything I Do, ever again, it will be way too soon. Stick to photography Bryan! Please! I beg you.
posted by goo at 8:37 PM on June 22, 2013


I'm Canadian and I didn't know this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice to see that he has some talent.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:49 PM on June 22, 2013


Don't forget The Three Musketeers, in which the strained, raspy voice of Bryan Adams is supplemented by the strained, raspy voices of Rod Stewart and Sting.

My favorite part about that collaboration was the fact that they insisted on being billed in that exact order by their last names. You can say of their work on that soundtrack "This sounds like A.S.S." and you'd be right.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:50 PM on June 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Speaking of musicians who also do photography, Patti Smith has an exhibition making its way through the museums of North America right now.
posted by axiom at 9:07 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I wish I'd seen the exhibition while it was in Dallas. His photography is great.
posted by immlass at 9:09 PM on June 22, 2013


he's slick enough, and has enough skill to do what he needs to do. it seems significant that his fashion photography become popular enough when magazines moved from names, when they suublimated photographic identity into corporate branding. they are terribly boring.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Learning weird facts like this is what MetaFilter is for. Also, Adams never again equalled the heights of "Cuts Like a Knife."
posted by escabeche at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Michael J. Fox ones are fun. He has a good eye.
posted by arcticseal at 9:18 PM on June 22, 2013


he doesn't have an eye at all, his compositions suggest no novelty, no detail, no punctum, and the smoothness does not seem to be an aesthetic choice
posted by PinkMoose at 9:20 PM on June 22, 2013


His shots of Ronnie Wood for Harper's Bazaar in 2009 are fascinating to me not so much because of some great picture taking talent (I have no photo talent, no eye and no idea), but because of the setting. Is Ron Wood a painter? Did he paint those pictures and is that Mick Jagger in the second photo?

Also, why all the hating on his music. Sure, it was not ground breaking or particularly innovative, but it was catchy pop. I challenge you to be walking in the grocery aisle when Summer of '69 comes on the piped in Muzak and not sing along (at least in your head). Isn't that part of the whole deal of embarrassing your kids. singing songs loudly in the grocery store to 1980's has beens?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:35 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, why all the hating on his music. Sure, it was not ground breaking or particularly innovative, but it was catchy pop

When I was growing up in the 90s, it seemed Bryan Adams was on everything because he was a successful Canadian musician. YMMV, but it was so tiring to hear his music and see his face all the time. It really grated on me because I would have preferred more coverage of The Hip, Northern Pikes and 54-40. I felt an oppressive requirement to like his music for some reason at the time, but now I can appreciate it more.

I didn't know he was into photography. I really like this.
posted by Calzephyr at 9:45 PM on June 22, 2013


he's slick enough, and has enough skill to do what he needs to do. it seems significant that his fashion photography become popular enough when magazines moved from names, when they suublimated photographic identity into corporate branding. they are terribly boring.

he doesn't have an eye at all, his compositions suggest no novelty, no detail, no punctum, and the smoothness does not seem to be an aesthetic choice


Please explain further. I don't have a MFA or any kind of fine arts training. I find these photographs to be utterly eyecatching and, upon further scrutiny, worthy of such scrutiny in that I find them even more interesting after extended viewing... particularly the Victoria Beckham-leaning-on-a-bike one, and the -- oh god I hadn't clicked all the links yet, PINK WILL YOU RIDE BIKES WITH ME AND SNOOP (LION I GUESS NOW?) AND THAT BLONDE SOCCER GUY AND POSH SPICE BLOW ME UUUUUUUPPPPP. Anyway, you apparently do not find photos at all interesting. What critical element that would allow me to see these photos as "boring" am I missing?

Your punctuation and grammar also fascinate me. Can you elaborate on your wording, capitalization and phrasing? If "English is my second language" is the answer, please accept my apology in advance.

Also, I enjoyed that song from the Robin Hood movie. I guess then I'm a moron so please now write off everything typed above.
posted by cog_nate at 9:48 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, seriously, I love me some Bryan Adams - from Summer of '69, to Heaven (which might have very well been the first No 1 song on the American Billboard Charts by a Canadian), Straight from the Heart, Run to You, One Night Love Affair... great stuff.

I have to admit, I never liked "All for Love" - I don't know, all their voices together didn't seem to jive together - well to me at least.

but becoming a teen, discovering music, discovering one's own agency, and having Bryan Adams raspy voice in the background guiding you through all the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult, with the rock n roll beats - it felt so right, and I couldn't imagine anyone else but Bryan leading the way.

Bryan Adams put Canada on the map. He bought us some respectability. He let our American brethren know that we weren't a bunch of puck-loving pushovers. He was the essence of Canadian Cool, and it's because of him, I believe, that Canadian music was taken more seriously.

The music industry, though, is a heartless black hole. One day people love you; the next day they're making fun of you - completely oblivious to the fact that your contribution built the foundation on which today's stars find their success.

And Bryan's a good guy - with his humanitarian and animal-rights work - he hasn't taken his money and hidden - he's living his life to the fullest, and to the benefit of others. He's a true artist, seems to be a good human being, and a true revolutionary in Canadian music.
posted by bitteroldman at 10:02 PM on June 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


It really grated on me because I would have preferred more coverage of The Hip, Northern Pikes and 54-40.

In my humble opinion, the only reason these guys became somewhat well-known was because of the Bryan.

Don't get me wrong - these guys were great musicians and artists in their own right - but Bryan Adams made it OK to actually like Canadian music.
posted by bitteroldman at 10:06 PM on June 22, 2013


I knew a guy named Brian Adams. He had already heard the jokes, thank you.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:08 PM on June 22, 2013


Cog Nate:

I am just lazy when it comes to typing. English is my first language.

I am thinking of work that ended up in American Vogue (because this is not necessarily the case for the European or Japanese vogue.) (I think that it's significant that Adams in French Vogue is only on the website and only after Roetfield resigned) It used to be that people had a definitive voice, think Avedon or Irving Penn. Remember that Arbus had her first gigs with Vogue, etc. Adams compositions are flattering to the subject, but quite plain. That Ronnie Wood, with him in the center of the frame, with the paintings behind him--is flattering, but flattering in a way that a good but not great newspaper photographer knows what to do. The Lohan with the red lips and the smoke is a direct theft from work in the 70s that was more experimental, but just seems not even a homage, but a lazy compiling of cliches. Also, the blouse weighs the bottom of the composition down, and makes the work bottom heavy, for no real purpose. The nude Lohan--the shadow on her breast distracts, and her arm goes in the opposite direction of the hair, which seems like a mistake instead of aiding complexity. The portrait of the Queen is pretty close to a photographic attempt to do what the painter Freud was doing, but more obsqueious, so less effective. The Toby McGuire in the pool, the colour of the pool doesn't really pop, and the juxtaposition between the suit and the water isn't jarring enough, plus there is too much going on. The one with him sitting in the family is a gag shot that's not very funny (also, see Martin Parr or any college kid who has been ripping off Martin Parr). The Ben Kingsley shot, has too much going on in the left hand of the screen, the rabbit ears add vertical tension for no real reason, and it looks processed to death. The Billy Idol--chose either the fur or the stripped bed sheet, but not both, plus the 32 on his shirt is this blob that breaks apart a pretty good horizontal composition. The Danny Trejo, which would have benefited from a straight on composition, is done on an oblique angle, softening the gaze he is giving. The Big Issue Shoots are him ripping off Platon ripping off Avedon, in the whole white background equals truth vibe, which has been played out. The model in the red jump suit, on the left and of that piece, has all of that visual noise, so the tall, thin, white wall seems not really done. I have no idea why the woman in the the tennis court is at an angle like that, the woman's organic shapes. and the grid of the fence isn't novel, but to make that shot work the grid needs to be straight ahead, running it on an angle, means that the eye is straightening the composition and trying to process the organic shapes.


I could continue, but I think I hace made my point.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:15 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


What is it with this constant meme about Canada having to apologize for Bryan Adams? I'm not a fan, but I like a couple of his songs, and he's accomplished a lot in his life--probably much more than you malevolent memers. Get fucking over it. He doesn't own the Alberta oil sands. He writes and performs songs. Give it a fucking rest.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK and since I'm winedrunk I may as well just list the list of things I find interesting about the pitcher of Lindsay Lohan. I'm gonna work top to bottom, 'cause... whatever, I'm drunk and lazy.

The whole browsing-to-this-photo-and-scrolling-down thing is a cheat, by the way, because you all should have subscriptions to hardcopy Vogue and you should turn a page and SPLASH into this image and be like "oh my god Lindsay Lohan likkmycigarettweinerbambamnyegh oh no nothing honey it's an interview of Dennis Kucinich or whatever the fuck". Yes you would include "whatever the fuck", so lackadaisical would be your response to your significant other when he or she busted in on you.

Also, lock your goddam bathroom door. Jeez

The first thing you run into in this photo is the high forehead and swept back hair. High foreheads were hot in Chaucer's day, and they're still hot. Some guys will say it's because a high forehead provides a large pane to shoot jizz on. They're right, but also gross, and so let's move on. To me the high forehead means the hair has a longer way to flow/fall down around the back of the neck .

Then we get to the eyes. Holy crap. I could stow my summer-stay-in-Venice-baggage below them peepers. And wow her eyes are professionally slimmed, with makeup and by the model herself. And from here you gotta zoom out a bit (wanted to type scosh, but that's wrong, so maybe SKOASH... nah fuck it) to look at the eyebrows, the rusty tones of which are phenomenally at odds w/the rest of the eye area. It's a great, clanging type of contrast.

And from here things get explanated fasterer.

That's the contrast you think the lipstick accomplishes but that lipstick contrast is to be expected regardless the model and setup, right?

The nose covering up the pupil of the far side eye is great, particularly because she has such a small, perky nose. Mmmmm... makes you want to get fuller profile view. It's intriguing, is what it is.

The earring that is further up the ear than you would expect (i.e., not on the lobe). What the fuck is that about?

Cigarette=penis. We get it. And yet...ff

The general left-to-right light-to-dark thing that's going on, except that the dark extends to the front via the buttons. And I thought Lindsay was a redhead but hair dye is cheap so OK.

The dark hair flowing down the back: unruliness defined. Add to that craziness the order of the contours to the left, and chuck an Irish arm w/freckles in between -- it's a superb contrast.

Also, all this was probably photoshopped to within an inch of its life so whatever.

On preview:
The Lohan with the red lips and the smoke is a direct theft from work in the 70s that was more experimental, but just seems not even a homage, but a lazy compiling of cliches.

HAHAHA holy shit wow you're crazy. Art has never ever ever built on what was created before it (/sarcasm), and also, please link to all these things that you assert this photo stole from. Seriously, like I said I'm uneducated when it comes to art.

But anyway, whatever you post, it doesn't mean this photo, or the others Bryan Adams took, are boring to the average Vogue reader.
posted by cog_nate at 10:36 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter, where it's not only okay to like Billy Joel and Bryan Adams, it's the law!
posted by item at 10:40 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought the Lindsay Lohan photos were interesting because she looks like she looks like she's enjoying herself in them, as opposed to looking like she's trying so hard to play a role, as she almost always does. It's almost kinda shocking.
posted by raysmj at 10:46 PM on June 22, 2013


I love Bryan Adams. Just today I made my son watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with me, with music by Bryan Adams

Don't forget The Three Musketeers , in which the strained, raspy voice of Bryan Adams is supplemented by the strained, raspy voices of Rod Stewart and Sting.


Don't forget "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" from the Don Juan DeMarco soundtrack.
posted by vitabellosi at 10:53 PM on June 22, 2013


I don't like Bryan Adams' music because I know all the words to all his songs, and not by choice. I was 14 when Everything I Do was no. 1 in the Australian music charts for like five months, and I hated it - he sounds so bored, there's no emotion in his voice whatsoever. I hated it then, and I hate it now. It was bland, commercial, boring, overplayed pap in 1991 and it's bland, commercial, boring, overplayed pap now. Plus it's long - good god is it long.

I know every word to Summer of 69 because it's easy to play on guitar and all my guitarist friends were constantly hassled to play it at parties. It's better than Everything I Do, at least he sounds like he actually cares and he wrote it from the heart, but ugh. I could sing along the first time I heard it, it's so cliche, and I'm quite a few years younger than he.

I do sing along, whenever I hear him and I can't change the channel, I really do know all the words. I change the channel when he comes on and I have control over it, because I've heard it so, so many times and it's boring as shit.
posted by goo at 11:09 PM on June 22, 2013


What is it with this constant meme about Canada having to apologize for Bryan Adams?

Yeah, seriously, it's not like he's Celene Dion.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:09 PM on June 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


but Bryan Adams made it OK to actually like Canadian music.

no he didn't. If anyone accomplished that, it was the Guess Who, who had the added feature of actually being good, though they arguably lacked fashion sense.
posted by philip-random at 11:12 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christ, it's not like he's Michael Bolton or anything. there's a couple of songs of his that are, like, an occasional guilty pleasure. At the very least you have to admit that during his mid-80s peak he was exceptionally good at what he did. Cheesy power-pop is not a crime.

The photographs, however, do nothing for me.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 11:12 PM on June 22, 2013


things

a) fuck that was amazing writing and almost convinced me. but there are better photos of lohan that do what you claim adams is doing, see:

here by Richardson or here by Zahm silmane which all have better compositions, do more interesting things with shadows, and now how to handle the fucking hair in such a way that it doesn't distract.

b) 70s photogs that do this sort of thing
aside from the porn/paps aesthetic that emerged around this time, that he is riffing on a bit, you can see this in the French photog Guy Bourdin (who knew how to shadow a breast), Barry Lategan who did the full gaze and the red lip better than most, Bob Richardson, with his perfect smokers.

I know that "artists" (and he's not an artist, he's a tradesmen doing a gig for a freelance client) build on previous work--but there is a difference b/w this carefully constructing narratives of past aesthetics, a curating of taste, and you know, just riffing for the sake of riffing with a bored eye to careerism. (sort of like his music)
posted by PinkMoose at 11:15 PM on June 22, 2013


I saw him play at the Amnesty International tour in '86. He came on right after Peter Gabriel. Gabriel closed with "Biko", which ended with the audience chanting the refrain into the darkness, as the band slowly faded, until our voices were all that was left.

Then came Adams. "ARE YOU READY TO RAWWWWWWK, ATLANTA?", he enquired. It really broke the mood.
posted by thelonius at 11:16 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


High foreheads were hot in Chaucer's day, and they're still hot. Some guys will say it's because a high forehead provides a large pane to shoot jizz on. They're right, but also gross, and so let's move on.

No, wait:
MetaFilter: A large pane to shoot jizz on.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:19 PM on June 22, 2013


I will reserve judgement until I see the photography of Ryan Adams.
posted by mazola at 11:22 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Christ, it's not like he's Michael Bolton or anything.

Maybe not, but this is worth repeating ...

whatever disregard I may have for Mr. Adams' music [...] it ultimately comes from the music itself. I do think he's a master of pop-rock form, a prodigy even. I don't think there's any substance to any of it; that is, no soul, no experience, no personal investigations, no style even. It's just empty surface, which let's face it, works fine if you all you want from your pop-rock is something to hang in the background on your fave rock radio station, filling time between commercials.

But if you actually care about culture, humanity, genuine communication between people of genuine hopes, feelings, experiences, insights --- the music of Bryan Adams (the sheer ubiquity of it in the ongoing, unavoidable, corporate media onslaught that was everyday life in the 1980s, particularly in Mr Adams hometown), well it becomes a repeated kick in the face (shit in the cornflakes).

So yeah, I was there. I suffered the pain. I remember. I may forgive but I won't forget. And part of the not forgetting is doing my bit to sway the ongoing cultural argument in the direction of NOT allowing this guy's dreck to be accorded any respect on the historical record.

posted by philip-random at 11:22 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Ron Wood a painter?

Yes.

Also, while I have no particular love for his 90's ballads, Bryan Adams' mid 80's stuff is solid, top 40 pop-rock that still holds up today, which is more than I can say for many of his peers.

Somebody, One Night Love Affair, Heaven, Run To You, and It's Only Love. And I didn't even have to go to Summer of '69. That's just the stuff off of Reckless. Suck it, haterz.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's cool that an artist who was successful in one medium has found success in another. That said, I'm in the these-photos-do-nothing-for-me camp. They are extremely styled and staged; that works for fashion photography, less so for art -- which ultimately is a completely subjective, personal evaluation. I do like the one of Ben Kingsley in front of the tv, because (for me) it evokes a mood, elicits a visceral response. Sure, it's staged, but it's interesting -- which works more for art, less so for fashion photography.

Thanks for posting. (As a photographer, I find the whole rabbit hole of this topic fascinating.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:39 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bryan Adams' mid 80's stuff is solid,

Absolutely, absolutely. Reckless was like the soundtrack to the summer I turned 14. The '80s stuff is good because it was all co-written with Jim Vallance, one of the greatest songwriters of the 1980's.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adams never again equalled the heights of "Cuts Like a Knife."

Once again, so totally true. For some reason that song oozes Vancouver to me.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:51 PM on June 22, 2013


Can you imagine being Bryan Adams? "Let me check metafilter...hm, wow, an FPP about my photos. At least the Internet won't be rehashing old arguments about my music in a thread totally not about that, at all. Let's take a look..."
posted by maxwelton at 12:50 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


weapons-grade pandemonium: "High foreheads were hot in Chaucer's day, and they're still hot. Some guys will say it's because a high forehead provides a large pane to shoot jizz on. They're right, but also gross, and so let's move on."

Fap it and move on.
posted by chavenet at 1:05 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Canada has to apologize for Bryan Adams, the US has to commit seppuku for LA hair band pop metal.

Anyone with a nice camera can take beautiful pictures these days. If you know a lot of fellow celebs and have a nice camera, you're in like Flynn. The art of photography as an exclusive specialization is dwindling, along with many other holdovers from earlier eras in artistic and technological history. Music too.
posted by spitbull at 3:31 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fortunately for me, I am old enough to like whatever I want whether or not it's "cool", regardless of whether people think it has "enough" of whatever kinds of cred to validate my enjoyment of it. I really like the guy's music and I think his photos are pretty alright. Good for him. I don't understand the need for such vitriol as I'm seeing here.
posted by windykites at 3:41 AM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Heaven" is, by far, the best Bryan Adams song.
posted by candyland at 4:35 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The best one can say is that the subjects found him likable. There is no heart or thread. As art it is forgettable; much more so than his music.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:20 AM on June 23, 2013


Punk is truly dead.
posted by spitbull at 5:39 AM on June 23, 2013


If Canada has to apologize for Bryan Adams, the US has to commit seppuku for LA hair band pop metal.

Like all genres, the hair bands had their moments, too.

Punk is truly dead.

People liking music that's not cool enough for you is not the end of the world.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the best Bryan Adams song (and video), it's the only song of his that I like to this day, plus the video is awesome (and is an interesting tie-in to his fashion photography). I have authority in this since I am Canadian and of the correct age to have been force-fed Bryan Adams throughout my formative years.

Also, while I've never been a huge fan of his music, now I know that I really, really like his photography. So thanks for that!
posted by biscotti at 6:24 AM on June 23, 2013


If Canada has to apologize for Bryan Adams, the US has to commit seppuku for LA hair band pop metal.

Hey, we don't understand why you guys bought all those records either.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:41 AM on June 23, 2013


I'm not a big Bryan Adams fan but sheesh people. As a poster pointed out above, it's not like he's Celine Dion or Anne Murray. Have some fucking perspective.
posted by Ber at 6:47 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bryan Adams put Canada on the map.

Dude, he started Canada.
posted by sneebler at 6:56 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of the comments above remind me why I've never taken an art appreciation course and never will. His photo of Danny Trejo is quite good, and I can appreciate it without picking apart the composition or talking about how Dieter Shlabotnik did it better in nineteen-what-the-fuck-ever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:06 AM on June 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh I know now, Bitteroldman, but what do dumb teenagers know? They just know that the summer that was dominated by Bryan Adams and Tom Cochrane was particularly annoying :-D And he was always getting airtime and on the cover of every magazine, even the stupid free "Today's Generation" handed out in the library. I couldn't enjoy his music when he was most popular because of the overexposure. No offense to the guy :-)

Back to the photographs...I wish there was some text that went with them. I'd really like to more about the stories behind them, what he was going for, etc. I used to catalogue photography (over 100,000 images, I'm sure) and that was the one thing always lacking - why was this picture made, who was it made for, how spontaneous was it, etc. The story is often just as fascinating and I want to know more.
posted by Calzephyr at 7:18 AM on June 23, 2013


Punk is truly dead.

For a couple of bucks you can get a cheap haircut and waste your life away.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And still no love for Corey Hart.
posted by mrgroweler at 7:25 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And still no love for Corey Hart.

This is as it should be.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:08 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just popping in to say that Ratt was the greatest of the hair bands.
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And these photos are nice!
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on June 23, 2013


Here's Sweeney Todd, If Wishes Were Horses with a 15-year-old Bryan Adams on lead vocals. Bryan Adams got the gig after Nick Gilder went solo with Hot Child in the City.
posted by jonp72 at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2013


The weird thing about Bryan Adams for me is that I went to high school with a guy named Brian Adams, who later became a professional musician. He has been successful for about 20 years as a musician (nothing you'd recognize as a household name, but he has economically sustainable career out of it), but he absolutely positively had to change his name or he would have been dealing with fratboy douchebags yelling at him to play "Summer of '69" for the rest of his life.
posted by jonp72 at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2013


I'm having a hard time with this group of photos, because while some of them are pretty good, most are ambiguous, and there's a couple I really like, something like 20-30% of them are unambiguously bad. Maybe uninspired is a better word.

I don't understand what his affectation with b&w is about other than just that, an affectation. It's like he's trying to cover up the flatness of the composition with b&w. The framing and composition are high-school quality, not the work of a trained photographer / cinematographer. And smoking isn't edgy anymore, it's just stupid.

That being said, I saw the Stray Cats live in the mid to late '80s, and it was to this day one of the best concerts I've ever had the privilege of attending. So you'll always hold a place in my heart Bryan, if just for that.
posted by Sphinx at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2013


Dude, he started Canada.

"Summer of '69" was massive with the fur traders! 1669, that is.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:41 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This yt is the best Bryan Adams song

you mean this one, right?
posted by philip-random at 9:59 AM on June 23, 2013


This revelation could only be challenged by finding out that
John "Cougar" Mellencamp has maintained a lucrative, overlooked
parallel career as a:

1). Guide Michelin 3-star sous chef.

2). Yacht surveyor.

3). Indiana's premier Trabant restorer.

4). Facile, witty Salon political/cultural essayist and gadfly.
posted by Chitownfats at 12:02 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's Only Love is a badass ballad. And the live version of Hearts on Fire rules.
posted by legospaceman at 1:46 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reading up on Jim Vallance (Adams' cowriter in the mid-80's who helped launch his career), he worked as a songwriter-for-hire for a number of (troubled) bands, including Aerosmith, helping relaunch their career.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:21 PM on June 23, 2013


no he didn't. If anyone accomplished that, it was the Guess Who yt , who had the added feature of actually being good, though they arguably lacked fashion sense.

Neil Young? That guy from The Band, what's his name? Godspeed! You! Black! Emperor! (or the whole Constellation scene)? Broken whatevers?
posted by kenko at 2:34 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Summary: on the "making Canadian music acceptable" thread: (1) original post was hyperbole in the service of humor or humour, (2) Guess Who post was old guy asking MeFi kids to get off lawn, (3) Neil Young seems like objectively correct answer to original rhetorical question, (4) I just tossed on some Broken Social Scene to start the day (so thanks for that cue).
posted by Vcholerae at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2013


Let's not forget that the Band (aka "The Hawks"), from TO, took Bob Dylan electric and basically helped change the musical world at the time.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2013


That being said, I saw the Stray Cats live in the mid to late '80s, and it was to this day one of the best concerts I've ever had the privilege of attending. So you'll always hold a place in my heart Bryan, if just for that.

That's Brian Setzer.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:11 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


(2) Guess Who post was old guy asking MeFi kids to get off lawn,

For the record, I'm pretty much exactly Bryan Adams age. So only that old. And yeah, The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Steppenwolf, also any number of latter day Godspeed-You-Arcade-Black-Mountain others are all arguably better options than the Guess Who in terms of "making Canadian music acceptable".

And yet, they did do this hook up with the Man In Black, which guarantees them some level of eternal cool, the like of which Mr. Adams will never touch, and perhaps he wouldn't care to, happy enough counting all his money.

Also, NoMeansNo
posted by philip-random at 6:54 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


His photography is...serviceable? I had expected this to be some kind of gimmicky Terry Richardson thing, but this Adams kid is decent.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:11 PM on June 23, 2013


For the record, I'm pretty much exactly Bryan Adams age.

So you were 9 years old, with a 10th birthday coming up in the fall, during the summer of '69?
posted by radwolf76 at 7:30 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


... and the thing I remember is not the girl who broke my heart, but the moon walk.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 PM on June 23, 2013


... and Mario Andretti won the Indy 500.

the important stuff
posted by philip-random at 8:56 PM on June 23, 2013


Summer of 69 is one of the world's perfect songs.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:48 PM on June 23, 2013


... except it's lyrically bullshit.
posted by philip-random at 10:50 PM on June 23, 2013


Victoria's claim to ignominy is David Foster. He's our number one native son, and we're building a massive boardwalk in his honour. Such schmaltz!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 PM on June 23, 2013


... except it's lyrically bullshit.

...and worse, it's some of his best lyrics. At least in that song, he's tries to string together a narrative. Just about all of his songs (including "Summer of '69") are a series of lyrical cliches. Check out "Heaven" and "Everything I Do (Yadda Yadda)". There's not a single line in either of those that has even the slightest trace of originality. His earlier work (e.g. "Cuts Like a Knife" doesn't stand up either.

I'm normally not a stickler for lyrics, and I have a weakness for well-crafted unapologetic pop music, but once you realize just how bad the lyrics are in his songs, it's really hard to get past it.
posted by robla at 11:15 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: The Summer of '69

It's always been my understanding that the year 1969 was chosen not because it was special to him but because it sounded better than say, the summer of 74. And it played well to the baby boomers who would have all remembered 1969 fondly, blah, blah, blah.

Choosing that year also afforded young Mr. Adams with the opportunity to sing the words "... Me and my baby in a 69" as the track fades out.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:33 PM on June 23, 2013


Whenever people mention Bryan Adams, I am compelled to direct their attention to this early classic.
posted by litlnemo at 11:34 PM on June 23, 2013


bitteroldman: "...Heaven (which might have very well been the first No 1 song on the American Billboard Charts by a Canadian)"

Holy. Not even close. Try Guy Lombardo in 1944. There were also Paul Anka (with three #1s), The Crew Cuts, Lorne Greene (Commander Adama!), The Guess Who, Neil Young, Terry Jacks, Gordon Lightfoot, Andy Kim, BTO, and even Anne Murray. Percy Faith sat at the top for nine weeks, a Canadian record not matched until Carly Rae Jepson. The four times Adams topped the Billboard charts is matched by CĂ©line Dion as most by one artist.

We Canadians have no need to apologize for the success of our artists. After all, it's Americans who were buying their songs, and let's just say tastes vary.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:33 AM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy. Not even close...

Interesting - maybe it's because Bryan Adams was the first Canadian artist to hit Number 1, while I was interested in music, and since I was the centre of the world at the time, that's all that mattered...
posted by bitteroldman at 4:20 PM on June 24, 2013



... except it's lyrically bullshit.


How the hell is it bullshit? It's distilled essense of hope and love and rock and roll - a degraded facisimlie of a Springsteen song via Meat Loaf via Bon Jovi, but still:


Standin' on your mama's porch
You told me that you'd wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life


How can you not howl that out loudly at kareoke? How can that not hit you in the heart?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:58 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because it's pseudomemorial fauxstalgic bullshit; the aural equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting?
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:32 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


... and he was nine years old at the time, chose the title Summer of 69 because, no doubt, it flowed better than Summer of 79 when he would've been the right age.

Which illustrates my issue with Bryan Adams across the board (and any number of other radio friendly unit shifters over the decades) -- it's all knowing craft, no revealing substance. It sucks you in, but there's ultimately nothing there under the surface. Meanwhile, far more relevant stuff gets ignored.

And you mention Meatloaf. I'm not a fan of anything he's put his name to except the title track of Bat Out Of Hell. That's a fucking masterpiece. Absurd, overwrought, overblown ... and perfectly so, just like a horny teenager going out of his mind with the stuff of life.

I've never heard anything close to that from Mr. Adams.
posted by philip-random at 8:34 PM on June 24, 2013



Because it's pseudomemorial fauxstalgic bullshit; the aural equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting?


i dunno, i get lots of the real shit, but I'm still a sucker for something like that executed well, and Summer of 69 just hits the sweet spot ofr me.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:51 PM on June 24, 2013


I'm perfectly happy to belt it out at karaoke, because I know all the words and I can sing it well. Doesn't make it any less crap.
posted by goo at 7:10 PM on June 27, 2013


I was oddly happy to hear that former MTV News personality Tabitha Soren is also a fine arts photographer doing interesting work these days.
posted by mathowie at 7:21 PM on June 27, 2013


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