Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The songs of Bryan Adams

For a change an audio-video entry for Tuesday’s overlooked films, audio and video at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom. Don’t forget to watch the video at the bottom of this post.

There are many songs that have stayed with me since I first listened to them, beginning in mid-1970s. Foremost among these is Una Paloma Blanca (or Paloma Blanca, which means ‘white dove’ in Spanish) by Dutch musician George Baker. The single was released in 1975 by his band the George Baker Selection. It was sung at most parties and school picnics.

In fact, so popular was the song in India that my generation used to record it from a radio on to a cassette player, usually a National Panasonic (see picture). Those were wireless days. The two electronic systems were kept side by side and as soon as the radio jockey announced a popular number, we’d press down hard on the ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ buttons simultaneously and shush everyone in the vicinity, lest external voices lent an unwelcome chorus to the songs. Upon replay, we could occasionally hear the loud honk of a bus or the shrill whistle of a pressure cooker in the background. However, that did not spoil the pleasure of listening to the songs. Pre-recorded cassettes were expensive.


I haven't forgotten the music or the lyrics of Paloma Blanca, which partly went…

Una paloma blanca
I'm just a bird in the sky
Una paloma blanca
Over the mountains I fly
No one can take my freedom away

It’d make a nice soundtrack for a second film remake of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Paloma Blanca is one of several pop and country songs that I can lip sync well. Some others include Annie’s Song by John Denver, Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You, first sung by George Benson and then by Glenn Medeiros, and Somebody by Bryan Adams.

Bryan Adams performs in Hamburg, Germany in June 2007.
© Wikimedia Commons

Somebody (1984) was the first Bryan Adams song I heard somewhere in the late eighties. At the time I didn’t know it was sung by the famous Canadian singer-musician who has been to India and is immensely popular. I found out only in the nineties. It was pretty much how I listened to music in those days. Just as I saw films without caring to know who directed them. The lyrics “I need somebody/Somebody like you/Everybody needs somebody” sung by Adams in his rich and raspy voice have remained with me since.

It was this bestselling single that prompted me to listen to Adams’ other songs, most notably Heaven (1985), (Everything I Do) I Do It for You (1991), and Please Forgive Me (1993). These four songs ruled on the US Billboard and the UK Singles Chart for a long time.

Everything I Do was, of course, made famous as the official video soundtrack of the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Christian Slater, and Alan Rickman. It was an entertaining film. The Kostner-Freeman catapult scene was funny.

I have not heard every song by Bryan Adams but out of the ones I have, these four songs I like the most. The official video of Please Forgive Me, from the album So Far So Good, is really nice, as much for the slow ballad as for the beautiful German Shepherd moving about in the recording studio. I believe the Alsatian belonged to Adams who is said to be fond of dogs. If you like pets, especially dogs, you'll enjoy the video below.


10 comments:

  1. Ah, those were the primitive days of piracy. The next step was having a sound system that let you record the radio signal as it passed through the receiver--no honks or whistles.

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    1. Ron, I'm not familiar with the sound system you mentioned. Perhaps, it was around and I didn't notice it. We used to have a lot of funning recording songs on the cassette deck even though the result wasn't always good.

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  2. I really liked Bryan Adams first couple of records, Cuts like a Knife. Gonna run to you. some great songs.

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    1. Charles, I haven't heard "Cuts like a Knife" and "Run to you" often. The songs I mentioned were the ones I grew up listening to the most.

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  3. I'm a big Bryan Adams fan. I own most of his albums. I'm with Charles: early in his career, Bryan Adams scored with several hits in a row!

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    1. George, I haven't come across anyone who isn't. Perhaps, for Christmas, I'll listen to some of his early songs, the ones I'm not quite familiar with.

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  4. Not played anything of his for a while - the kids don't like it when I get my old stuff out!

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    1. Col, my wife and I have introduced our kids to several singers and bands from our generation, like Moody Blues, Billy Joel, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jennifer Rush, and Lee Hazlewood. They do so likewise though what I hear today is mostly loud noise.

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  5. I was a fan of Bryan Adams, just now played Straight from the Heart. Thanks for the reminder. and yes, that video of Please Forgive Me was very nice, with the dog. And another favorite oldy but goody. A nice end to a very long, tiring work day. thanks, Prashant.

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    1. Tracy, you're welcome, and thanks for the kind words. I have seen a few of Bryan Adams' music videos but this one I like the best. The setting was very natural.

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