16 Weeks Of Bliss
Bless me Father for I have sinned...musically, at least. For there, amongst the credible music I hold dear within my CD collection is an album I picked up in the sales and which gets regularly playing, albeit mostly when the house is empty and I can look as daft as one does when playing air guitar with my daughter's tennis racquets. Sure, there are good songs on there - It's Only Love with Tina Turner, Run To You and Summer of '69, when comparisons with Bruce Springsteen were still valid - but it's track 10 that remains Bryan Adams' finest recorded moment and that is (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.
Alright, you may sneer at this being described as, "...Bryan Adams' finest recorded moment", possibly even saying that he really hasn't had that many but, all joking aside, (Everything I Do) I Do It for You is a genuinely great song. What, you still don't believe me? Gimme a minute or two to put the case for it...
Firstly, there's the brackets. Showing some thought beyond a manager telling their act to rename SLOW SONG #3 TAKE #2, songs with brackets are inherently good - Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn't've Fallen In Love With), I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown) and the none-more-bracketed (Get a) Grip (On Yourself) by the Stranglers - great songs all. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You is no odd-one-out but connects into this list seamlessly. Better though that Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)? Believe it!
The song begins simply enough with a bit of piano, a little guitar and doesn't veer far from being three chords (D, A and G) over which Adams' huskily familiar voice coasts. It may well the sound of a thousand first dances at wedding receptions but the simple lyrics of love everlasting have an honest quality about them...no, seriously! "Look into my heart, you will find/There's nothin' there to hide" sings Adams and, were I a woman, even Maid Marian, I'd manage to look past his grizzly features to his fluffy-soft heart within. Any shred of cynicism must surely fade away as he sings, "You know it's true/Everything I do, I do it for you".
When the guitar solo comes in, it's as cheesy as the menu at a fondue party and Adams' pick-up player in the video can't help but make that face as he strains to bring some emotion to it but when Adams' steps on his Boss overdrive pedal and takes the song into the bridge, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You goes from very good to all-out great. Beginning with the line, "There's no love, like your love/ And no other could give me more love", the one fault with this song is that Adams just fails to give it full justice - he really ought to have had the crowd at Lansdowne Road, prior to watching an Irish Rugby Union home game against the English, sing this belter of a bridge that takes the song on to its finish. As it does, Adams' goes as far as he can to tell of such a love that he's prepared to give up his life, "I would fight for you, I'd lie for you/...yeah, I'd die for you". When he's said as much as he can, there's nothing left but to say, once more, "You know it's true/Everything I do, I do it for you". The song fades, Bryan Adams crouches beneath a cliff watching the waves crash against the rocks before him and, elsewhere in the video, Robin Hood and Maid Marian embrace. Adams doesn't even have the words to say any more and closes the song with a wordless melody.
It really is such a wonderful song that you'd think nothing could tarnish it. Well, you'd be wrong, for the stain on this song is some Gram Parsons tribute act called Ryan Adams who's stolen Bryan Adams thunder in recent years.
I know, I know, why bother with this guy? He shows up on a critical tip from Elton John and his comedy sidekick, 'my partner David Furnish', and feels up for taking on our heroes name. What's more, Ryan gets upset when people call him Bryan. Excuse me? Someone should have told him to have a little look through rock's back pages before going public for, if he had, he might have realised that hanging around the same brownstone as The Strokes and talking about re-recording their debut album song-by-song isn't quite the 'new thing' he clearly imagines it to be.
Whisper it quietly but Pussy Galore (The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St.) and Camper van Beethoven (Fleetwood Mac's Tusk) both got there first and that was after Sonic Youth had talked for years about doing The Beatles' White Album. In these three cases, at least they were great albums and worthy of doing a second time, Ryan Adams should have zipped it about re-recording Is This It? and just had, in the words of the great Dr Cox from Scrubs, Newbie stamped on his forehead. So annoyed am I at Ryan's hijacking of Bryan's name...
Before leaving, I've simply got to mention that between 20 July 1991 and 26 October of that same year, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You remained at number one in the UK charts. That's 16 weeks and that, in the words of the sadly departed Roy Castle, was a record. Not even Wet Wet Wet's identikit take on (Everything I Do) I Do It For You - covering The Troggs' Love Is All Around, which was taken from Four Weddings And A Funeral - could wrestle Adams' bit of history from him.
Now, I'll admit I didn't have this song played at my wedding - Dream A Little Dream Of Me by The Mamas And The Papas is a better song and, being a Catholic, we're not into the whole pop-songs-in-church thing Martin Luther strove for with his Lutheran Reformation in 1517 - but I congratulate those who do. It does everything that a song should do and even those who mocked it in 1991 do, I'm sure, smile faintly on hearing it now. Take the time to listen to it, enjoy its blusteringly romantic sentiment and hope that Ryan Adams finds a sufficient amount of humour to release a 20th Anniversary cover in July 2011 to enjoy it all over again.