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"Cuts Like a Knife"

US 7" single cover
Single by Bryan Adams
from the album Cuts Like a Knife
B-side "Lonely Nights"
Released May 27, 1983
Format 7", 12" vinyl
Genre Rock
Length 5:16
Label A&M
Writer(s) Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance
Producer Bryan Adams, Bob Clearmountain
Bryan Adams singles chronology
"Straight from the Heart"
"Cuts Like a Knife"
"This Time"
Alternate cover
UK 12" single cover

"Cuts Like a Knife" is a rock song written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance for Adams third studio album Cuts Like a Knife (1983). The second single released from the album, "Cuts Like a Knife" peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Rock Tracks chart and number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has appeared on all of Adams' compilation albums with the exception of The Best of Me.


Writing and recording

In an interview in 1988 with Vancouver's Georgia Straight newspaper, Adams explained how Vallance and he came up with the title for the song:

"I think that I'm one of the world's best mumblers, I can mumble some of the best lyrics, but putting them together is another story. I think that's where Jim is really good -- he can piece a story together. It's just a good thing to have the tape rolling when you're recording me. The best example was when we wrote "Cuts Like A Knife", which was just literally a mumble. We looked at each other, rolled the tape back, and it sounded like "cuts like a knife", so we started singing that."[1]

Adams and Vallance jammed on the chord progression for a while Adams sang "it cuts like a knife" over and over again.[1] Vallance eventually responded with "but it feels so right".[1] As Vallance described it, "There's a long tradition in pop music of songs that employ "na-na-na" choruses: "Hey Jude" by The Beatles, "Na-Na, Hey-Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, "Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin" by Journey, and more recently "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" by Train.[1] Adams and I tapped into that tradition for the out-choruses of 'Cuts Like A Knife'."[1]

Release and reception

"Cuts Like a Knife" was released in 1983 and became the highest-charting song from the album Cuts Like a Knife, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100[2]. The song reached the top twenty on the Canadian singles chart and remained in the top twenty for seven weeks. "Cuts Like a Knife" was Adams' highest charting single in Canada while previous single "Straight from the Heart" peaked at ten on the Hot 100.[3] "Cuts Like a Knife" won the Procan Award (Performing Rights Organization of Canada) for Canadian radio airplay in 1983 and was nominated for a Juno Award for Single of the Year in 1984.[1]

Stewart Mason from Allmusic said "More of an anthemic rocker than the previous power ballad hit, "Straight from the Heart," "Cuts Like a Knife" breaks absolutely no new ground lyrically or musically, but as with his previous hit, Adams here proves his worth as both a singer and songwriter."[4]

The B-sides of the singles were tracks from his previous albums, You Want It You Got It and his First Album, except for the France single which had "Take Me Back" from the same album.

Music video

The music video for "Cuts Like a Knife" was directed by Irish director Steve Barron[5] and filmed in an empty indoor swimming pool in Hollywood. The pool had been drained and out-of-use for several years.[1] It would also be the location for Adams platinum album party.[1]

Track listings

US 12" Single
# Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cuts Like a Knife"   Adams, Vallance 4:05
2. "Fits Ya Good"   Adams, Vallance 4:35
3. "Hidin' from Love"   Adams, Vallance, Kagna 3:17
UK 7" Single
# Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cuts Like a Knife"   Adams, Vallance 4:05
2. "Fits Ya Good"   Adams, Vallance 4:35
France 12" Single
# Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cuts Like a Knife"   Adams, Vallance 4:05
2. "Take Me Back"   Adams, Vallance 4:49
International 7" Single
# Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cuts Like a Knife"   Adams, Vallance 4:05
2. "One Good Reason"   Adams, Vallance 4:22


Chart positions

Chart (1983) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 15
US Billboard Rock Tracks[2] 6
Canadian Singles Chart[3] 12




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