Bryan Adams' "Reckless" Turns 30!

Am I the only person who gets more gag Christmas gifts than real ones?  Just wondering.

The sole musical gag gift that I received this past Christmas wasn't just a copy of Bryan Adams' 1984 mega-smash Reckless, but the 30th Anniversary deluxe edition, so this wasn't just a friend who got me this as a gift, but obviously a friend with more money than they know what to do with because a worn out cassette purchased for $3 at a garage sale would have been just as funny.

The 30th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition is a HUGE, sprawling 4-CD celebration of the singer's career apex, which seems a tad extreme when you consider that the original album - all ten songs of it - fits comfortably on one CD.  You could have included the seven original demos that didn't make the album on the same disc and been done with it, but, alas, that's not how the music industry makes money these days.  No, they give you 3 additional discs padded with a 1985 London concert, a collection of videos from the album, and 5.1 mixes.

It also comes with a massive booklet of photos and remembrances from the period, helping to make your return trip back to 1984 as rich and colorful as possible.

Now, I was a huge Bryan Adams fan back in the day.  His second and third albums, You Want it, You Got It and Cuts Like A Knife, remain favorites of mine, but, sadly, I never owned Reckless.  It wasn't that I disliked Adams by then, but that everybody else liked him and that there were certain albums you didn't have to buy because you heard them everywhere anyway.

Whereas Cuts Like A Knife had taken several months to build up steam in the U.S., Reckless hit like a bomb; its impact immediate and all-encompassing.  First single "Run To You" (a song that he and writing partner Jim Vallance had written for Blue Oyster Cult, but the band turned down) was played on MTV and radio 24/7, going Top 10 in its third week of release.  By the time all was said and done, seven singles were taken from the album.  That's right, seven.

I saw a recent lengthy car trip as an opportunity to revisit the album and came away with a new appreciation for what Adams accomplished here.  For all intents and purposes, he could have called this album Greatest Hits.  Mind you, listening to these songs reveals nothing new all these years later as every guitar, every stadium-size hook, every raspy quip is embedded in my DNA at this point.

Listening to the album now, the production is absolutely flawless.  One could almost mistake it for a Robert John "Mutt" Lange production, but this was all Bob Clearmountain, who had also produced Adam's previous two albums.

Clearmountain, of course, was known in musical circles for his massive drum sounds.  He also produced the Pretenders' Get Close and Simple Minds Once Upon A Time and mixed David Bowie's Let's Dance and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA.

If anything, what I found most remarkable about Reckless was that Adams and Clearmountain both peaked at the same time, as neither was ever quite able to reproduce the commercial impact and sonic perfection of Reckless.

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