Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Bryan Adams


By and large most of the acts I have chosen to talk about for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction have not been acts I am personally a passionate fan about (a notable exception is Chicago), though all of them are acts that I respect and most of them (with the notable exception of Kraftwerk) are acts whose music I am fond of. However, this next artist is a singer whose music I have long and deeply loved. However, it seems that his attitude towards New Wave (“Kids Wanna Rock”) as well as his success with ballads in the 1980’s and 1990’s seems to be held against him. Bryan Adams is one of the most successful rock & roll musicians of all time—especially successful at his work done for films, from which come many of his biggest hits, including all of his #1 hits (“Heaven,” “Everything I Do (I Do It For You),” “All For One,” and “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?”) as well as other notable hits of his (“Here I Am,” “I Finally Found Someone”). His body of work suggests a substantial and solid rock resume beyond the ballad hits for which he is (justly) famous.

Bryan Adams’ Contribution

Between 1982 and 1992, Bryan Adams had a pretty dominating position on the Mainstream Rock chart. Included in his hits during that decade on that chart are two #1 hits (“Run To You,” “Somebody), two #2 hits (“Heat of the Night,” “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started), and two #3 hits (“Lonely Nights,” “Hearts On Fire.”) among 24 top 40 hits on that chart. The fact that some of these songs are not known as hits pop crossover hits suggests that he was able to appeal to different genres with a wide variety of music. On the larger Hot 100 charts he has, so far, amassed 8 top 10 hits, including 4 #1 hits [1]. There is no question whatsoever that he meets the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame qualification under sales. This is not even getting into album sales, where he has two 5x platinum albums (“Reckless” and “So Far So Good”) with another one not far off (“Waking Up The Neighbors”), among numerous other successful albums over a span of decades (including “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” “18 Till I Die,” “Into The Fire,” and “Cuts Like A Knife”). Overall, Bryan Adams has sold over 60 million albums worldwide. Especially notable are his duets (including with Tina Turner, Barbara Streisand, Sting & Rod Stewart, Melanie C, and Sarah McLaughlin). His many successful collaborations are testament to the fact that he is able to make great music without ego getting in the way, whether it is with fellow musical icons or newer artists. When you include longevity, massively popular songs and albums, and his ability to work with so many other fellow artists, including gaining two Ivor Novello awards [2], one sees an obvious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Resume.

Let us, in addition to the musical qualities, note as well that Bryan Adams is an influential rock star in greater culture as well far beyond music. He has won awards for his photography, showing that his artistic skills go far beyond merely being a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. In addition, his philanthropic work as also been very notable, including his work on behalf of victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, victims of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and victims of terrorism in Karachi, Pakistan, to name only a few of his many charitable concerts. Besides that, he has managed to father an illegitimate child with a European noblewoman—what is more rock star than that (unfortunately)?

Why Bryan Adams Is A No-Brainer For The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Bryan Adams combines a lot of elements for Rock & Roll success—massive popularity across multiple segments of music (ranging from dance to mainstream rock to adult contemporary to pop), influence on the greater culture through humanitarian and his other artistic (photographic) works, and a firm commitment to the rock & roll lifestyle, including dedicated touring. In addition, Bryan Adams helped establish a template for 1980’s rock musicians that wanted both mainstream rock success as well as popular acclaim. Whether or not you like the fact that this meant recording some of the most lasting and beautiful ballads of his time, which remain well-played and well-loved many years later, he was an influence on many musicians as a way of achieving success on the charts as well as through soundtracks. And that, to me, spells a resume of a Hall of Fame member.

Why Bryan Adams Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Bryan Adams’ early opposition to the manufactured “new wave” of which the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is so fond, his success both at the beginning and tail end of his career in dance music (which has been traditionally ignored by Cleveland—see Kraftwerk), and his massive popularity on the charts due in large part to ballads (which appears to be a universal mark of hatred among the Hall of Fame voters—see Chicago, Heart) all appear to count against him. Additionally, despite his solid credentials as a rock & roll star (and his immensely intriguing biographical details, including being the lead singer of Sweeney Todd at the age of 15 and his own personal life), his humanitarian interests and skills in high-class photography do not seem to count in his favor as much as the psychadelic interests of many of his far less successful and far less influential peers. Their loss.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Adams_discography

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Adams

About nathanalbright

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31 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Bryan Adams

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  3. John says:

    Agree Bryan Adams should be in RRHOF. Reckless was a diamond album & dominated the charts. Somebody,Run To You,It’s Only Love,Summer of 69.

    Cuts Like A Knife had solid hits as well This Time & Cuts Like A Knife.

    I think he should be in for his entire body of work which has stretched nearly 40 years. John

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  5. Because He’s Bryan Adams

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  7. John says:

    Bryan Adams is a Hall of Famer. Reckless might be the best CD in history Song for Song. He has collaborated with Sting,Tina Turner & other Hall of Famers. I respect his talent singing, guitar everything. Bryan’s going to be 55 in November & it would be a good present being nominated.

    Hope the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame voters give him a chance. He has been an honorable man through charity concerts & giving his life & talent to music. He is stll recording 40 years later.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you, but 80’s singers have been greatly disrespected by the Hall of Fame, considering they have basically been skipped over for the grunge movement and obscure 70’s singer-songwriters no one other than Barbara Streisand has ever heard of.

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  13. Laura hagan says:

    Right on… I agree 100%! Some bands that are inducted blow my mind yet here sits Bryan Adams who should’ve already had his name and career inducted!! He’s is a wildly huge influence in not only my life but also my kids… Generations still all sing along to him! I want to go on record that Bryan Adams b inducted in 2017

  14. craig vokey says:

    He should be there,,Whats wrong withyou people???

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  21. Kevin Plautz says:

    Bryan Adams is probably one of the 10 most well-known singers in the world when you consider the fact he is very popular in India, China, all parts of Europe and the UK. Summer of 69 and Everything I Do I Do For You are probably both in the 20 most well-known songs throughout the world. In some of those countries Tom Petty or Stevie NIcks (recent inductees) are not known at all.

    • Yes, Bryan Adams is absolutely popular around the world, although this has unfortunately not aided the cases for induction for many artists. I am reminded about his relationship with Monaco’s House of Grimaldi and his role in a Ukrainian (?) movie where he appears as a figure in someone’s delusions/dreams, as well as his rigorous touring. There’s no question that he is a worthy inductee, but the rock and roll of the 80’s and those who are involved in soundtrack pop have had a great difficulty with induction.

  22. Lory says:

    Bryan Adams SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be in the Hall of Fame!! So should Neil Sedaka & Duran Duran.

  23. Philip Johnson says:

    I found your site today. I’m impressed. I bookmarked it. There’s a lot to take in. As far as Bryan Adams not a member of the RRHF, it’s extremely hard to believe. I list two or three of his songs on my absolute favorites list. His songs and his voice have always made me feel from the heart the way very few songs have made me feel. His voice is sincere and moves me. I want to hear one of his songs right now. Alexa, play songs by Bryan Adams. She responds as if he is one HER favorites too!

    • That’s great. There are a lot of critics who strongly dislike Bryan Adams in general, but he has always been one of my favorite artists as well. And yes, when you look at his success as a musician it is baffling that he has not been inducted into the RRHOF, but at this moment it seems as if the hall is trying to pretend that 80’s mainstream rock doesn’t exist.

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