Bryan Adams
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Music Radar Interview: Tracks

Music Radar chatted to Bryan recently to talk about Tracks of My Years and how some of the songs came to be.

Bryan Adams is taking a panoptical view of his life and career on a trio of upcoming recordings. For an album of brand-new material, slated for fall of 2015, he’s recorded six songs with producer Jeff Lynne, the results of which have the Canadian superstar more than a little stoked. “I say this with great trepidation,” he begins, “but if it turns out any better than it already has, it could be the best record I’ve ever done.”

In November, Adams will celebrate the 30 anniversary of his breakthrough 1984 album Reckless by issuing a four-disc deluxe package of the set, complete with a newly remastered version of the original disc, a 1985 BBC concert, Reckless: The Movie, a Blu-ray audio disc and seven previously unreleased tracks.

Before then, however, Adams surveys his teenage years on what is hands-down one of 2014’s brightest releases, Tracks Of My Years, due out September 30. Although the album contains one new original, a sterling Adams/Jim Valance composition called She Knows Me, the bulk of the record sees Adams paying homage to classic tunes he heard on the radio while growing up.

“I have this kind of thing where I consider the songs that I grew up with are kind of untouchable.”

“AM radio was king in the ‘70s,” Adams explains. “Back then, there was no discrimination between genres, so you’d get Ray Charles or a song like Kiss And Say Goodbye into The Beatles – easy. If it was a good song, it was gonna get played. So I just thought, ‘OK, let’s do songs that were on the AM radio and stick a picture of me on the cover from the time when I decided that music was what I was going to do.’”

Adams puts his own stamp on Charles’ I Can’t Stop Loving You, The Manhattans’ Kiss And Say Goodbye and The Beatles’ Any Time At All, along with 12 other radio gems (such as Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows and The Association’s Never My Love, among others), on Tracks Of My Years, which he produced with fellow Canadian hit makers David Foster and Bob Rock.

“I have this kind of thing where I consider the songs that I grew up with are kind of untouchable,” Adams observes. “You wouldn’t even consider doing them because it would be sacrilegious.” To that end, in some cases, Adams, Foster and Rock employed a more bare-bones approach to the new versions, with the emphasis on the singer’s voice rather than an attempt at re-creating the production of the original recordings.

“What unified everything was my voice and the way I produced it,” Adams notes. “The key was to not have anything on it. There’s no reverb, no echo – it’s raw and right in your face, off the microphone. It didn’t matter who produced it; I decided that my voice should have that quality of production throughout the record, and that’s what tied it all together. I’m really pleased with the results.”

Tracks Of My Years will be released on September 30 in the US and Canada, and on October 6 in Europe and other territories. Adams discusses six songs from the set at music radar.com .