Bryan Adams Turns 61: From Music to Environmentalism, How the Canuck Rocker is Making the Most of the Pandemic Year

Stronger Together
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Bryan Adams, who turns 61 this week, in a self portrait he snapped for Zoomer's 2014 October issue. Photo: Bryan Adams

On Nov. 5, legendary Canadian rocker Bryan Adams celebrates his 61st birthday — an occasion he marked a day early via a tweet featuring a clip from the 1993 film Addams Family Values and a message of thanks to his fans around the world.

Of course, the year 2020 has been a challenging one for everyone, but Adams has made the most of it so far.

Throughout the pandemic, he’s taken song requests from fans for the “New Vocals Vintage Tracks” series he performs on his Instagram and YouTube pages while, in April, he joined fellow Canuck musicians and entertainers as part of the nationwide Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble isolation concert.

In June, meanwhile, he won his 20th Juno Award — the Adult Contemporary Album of the Year honour for his most recent disc, Shine a Light (2019) — tying Céline Dion for second place on the list of most overall Juno wins.

That same month, he released a never-beforeheard version of a 2006 song he penned — “Never Gonna Break My Faith” — recorded by Aretha Franklin. The release came on Juneteenth, the day the United States commemorates the end of slavery in 1865.

In a statement along with the song’s release, Adams noted, “When I wrote this song, I was channelling Aretha, never thinking that she’d ever actually sing the song. The thought was to write a hymn, something that would try and articulate the feeling of faith, and that even though you might have lost something, there would always be an inner light to guide you. When the song was demo’d, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this – and sing it she did. This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was making a film on Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world hasn’t heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”

Adams, however, isn’t just keeping busy with his music. In October, he showed that the pandemic hasn’t slowed his passion for helping the environment, posting a photo of himself with bags of trash he’d collected from the ocean and captioning it, “Makin myself useful until the day musicians can go back to work.”

And, of course, Adams, who is also a celebrated photographer, remains active behind the lens. Since Zoomer hit the newsstands in October 2008 with his portrait of Wayne Gretzky, Adams has photographed a who’s who of Canadian icons, including himself, and other global luminaries exclusively for the publication.

Adams has appeared on two Zoomer covers, in 2008 and in 2014, while
this year his photos of two fellow rock greats graced Zoomer. The first was Bruce Springsteen, who appeared on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2019/2020 issue, and the second was Gordon Lightfoot, who Adams photographed for the March/April 2020 issue. Click through the slideshow at the top of the post, or below, to see a selection of the images Adams has shot for Zoomer.


Bryan Adams on His 1985 Collaboration With Tina Turner and Shooting Her For Zoomer’s Cover

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