Bryan Adams
Royal Albert Hall 2024

NPR ONLINE: Bryan celebrate the classics on Tracks of My Years

Bryan Adams’ “Summer Of ’69” has inspired many a late night in a karaoke bar.

Now, the best-selling Canadian singer and songwriter does a little karaoke, of sorts, of his own. His latest project, an album of mostly covers called Tracks Of My Years, includes his versions of songs by Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan — and a picture of a long-haired 15-year-old Adams, deep into hard rock. Still, he didn’t end up covering the rock hits of his youth.

“The idea of doing this album was difficult for me, because a lot of the songs that are out there that were inspiring to me as a youngster are untouchable,” Adams tells NPR’s Scott Simon. “I couldn’t do Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ or Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ or Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’ or [The Beatles’] ‘Hey Jude.’ You know, there was no way. And so it was trying to find songs that I could do that suited my voice in a particular way.

That’s how Adams ended up covering a different iconic song: “God Only Knows,” from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

“When I thought about doing The Beach Boys, of course, as much as I love ’em, there was no way I was gonna do the harmonies because I’ve never done records like that,” he says. “So I decided that I’d like to do this song, ‘God Only Knows,’ like Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. It’s a really, really incredible record. It’s probably my favorite Tony Bennett record, and it just seemed like a nice approach to this song. ‘Cause no one has ever done it like that before.”

Hear the full conversation at the audio link.