Bryan Adams: "My success still amazes me"

Adams will play acoustic shows in May
Adams will play acoustic shows in May

"I wasn't the Guy Most Likely To Make It In Music," Bryan Adams says. "I'm not the greatest guitar player, the best singer, there's lots of guys better looking. All I had were my songs and my belief. If you're lucky, that's enough."

Adams comes off as truly humble - this despite selling over 65 million albums worldwide (a figure he claims no knowledge of) - but the simple fact is, he's huge and has been so since the early '80s, when his breakthrough album Reckless yielded such radio anthems as Run To You, Summer of '69, Heaven, One Night Love Affair and his duet with Tina Turner, It's Only Love.

"That was a heady a time," Adams says. "The thing is, you can't plan on something like that. There's no formula. You just do the work and do the work. After that, it's all in the stars."

"It's probably the greatest tightrope a musician can walk" Bryan Adams on playing acoustic

In addition to multi-platinum albums, the guy's had quite a way with movie soundtracks too: his song (Everything I Do) I Do It For You spent a record-breaking 17 weeks at No. 1 on the UK charts and received an Oscar nomination (he's been nominated twice since for songs from the movies Don Juan DeMarco and The Mirror Has Two Faces).

Man with a camera

Since the late '90s, Bryan Adams has shifted his focus to more intimate albums like Room Service and 11 (both self produced) and his love of photography. As a lensman, he has shot many of his musical peers (Mick Jagger, Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, among others), not to one plumb assignment, photographing Queen Elizabeth II - one of his pictures even turned up as a Canadian postage stamp. Not too shabby.

But music remains his abiding love, and this May Adams will embark on an acoustic tour of the States. "It's probably the greatest tightrope a musician can walk," Adams says of hitting the stage unplugged.

In this exclusive MusicRadar podcast interview below, Adams talks about his upcoming acoustic tour, his influences as a guitarist, reuniting with songwriting partner Jim Vallance and The Bryan Adams Foundation.

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And be sure to check back in with MusicRadar next week, when we present an exclusive podcast interview with the new, red-hot supergroup Chickenfoot.

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.