Summer of '69: Wikis


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"Summer of '69"
Single by Bryan Adams
from the album Reckless
B-side "Kids Wanna Rock"
"The Best Was Yet to Come"
Released June 1985
Format gramophone record
Recorded 1984
Genre Rock, heartland rock
Length 3:32
Label A&M
Writer(s) Bryan Adams
Jim Vallance
Producer Bob Clearmountain
Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams singles chronology
"Summer of '69"
"One Night Love Affair"

"Summer of '69" is a song written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance originally for Adams' fourth studio album Reckless (1984). It was the fourth single released from the album. It is one of Adams' most recognizable and popular songs. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #40 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song has appeared on all of Adams' compilation albums.


Writing and recording

After a tour supporting his breakthrough album Cuts Like a Knife he started the recording for Reckless.[1] "Summer of '69" was written on January 25, 1984 with Jim Vallance. The recording took place at Little Mountain Sound, Vancouver, Canada and was mixed in New York by Jim Vallance.[1] The recording for "Summer of '69" started shortly after and went through the winter and was recorded three times before it was mixed on November 22, 1984.[1]

Lyrical meaning

In a 2008 interview with, Adams said:

"I think 'Summer of '69' — I think it's timeless because it's about making love in the summertime. There is a slight misconception it's about a year, but it's not. '69' has nothing to do about a year, it has to do with a sexual position... At the end of the song the lyric says that it's me and my baby in a 69. You'd have to be pretty thick in the ears if you couldn't get that lyric".[2][3]

Co-writer Jim Vallance has always gone for the more conventional interpretation of the title being a reference to a year. He notes Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty", which contains references to 1965 and 1969, as his own influence, and recalls Adams cited the film Summer of '42 as his.[4] Vallance has said:

"I wish this little "controversy" would just go away. First of all, when Bryan and I were writing the song, it was originally called "Best Days Of My Life". The words "summer of '69" only appeared once, right after "played it 'til my fingers bled". That was it! The song really was about the summer of 1969! It took us a week or two to fine-tune the lyric. At some point we realized that "Summer Of '69" was a better title, so we literally "shoe-horned" that phrase into a few more places in the song. At no time do I recall discussing sexual innuendo with Bryan ' except for one little thing. When we recorded the demo in my basement, towards the end of the song Bryan sang a little naughty bit: "me and my baby in a '69". We had a laugh about it at the time, and Bryan decided to keep it when he did the final recording a month or two later. Nobody seemed to notice, and that was the end of it until a few years ago when Bryan started introducing the song in concert by saying, "This song has nothing to do with the year 1969". The audience reaction was predictable. Let me qualify this by saying I don't pretend to speak for Bryan. Two of us wrote the song. Maybe he was thinking about something completely different ... but I was thinking about that amazing summer when I turned 17. There were brand new vinyl albums released by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Kinks, Janis Joplin, The Band. It was awesome and I'll never forget it. Bryan Adams is a great writer, a great singer, and a great friend. He's entitled to his recollections as to what inspired the song "Summer Of '69". My recollections just happen to be different than his." [5]


Barry Webber from Allmusic said "The song makes no attempt to be deep or meaningful -- just fun -- and, on that note, it succeeds splendidly. The lyrics find Adams reminiscing about his youth, proudly proclaiming 'those were the best days of my life.' And the lyrics, cheesy as they may be, suit the song. After all, the silliness of the single is what gives it the desired naïve charm, relating to the cliché "age of innocence" that Adams has since made a career out of exploiting to both young and old fans alike."[6]

As Adams has stated:

That song is 25 years old now so it's had that many years to incubate. A lot of songs, like that one, hit big in America but really not anywhere else. It didn't chart anywhere in Europe until at least 10 years after it was released. I remember in 1993 that someone told me, 'Hey, did you know that 'Summer of '69' is number one in Holland?' I think songs can have a life of their own regardless of the promotion."[2]

In fact, it was not a number one hit in The Netherlands. The single did, however, become a top 5 hit in 1990.

"Summer of '69" has been covered by numerous artists. One of the first cover recordings was a punk rock version by MxPx on the 1995 album, On the Cover.[4] Another American band named Bowling for Soup covered "Summer of '69" on their 2000 album, Let's Do It for Johnny! which was heavily inspired by punk and pop.[4]

In 1985 the song won the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Citation of Achievement for US radio airplay, the following year 1986 - Procan Award (Performing Rights Organization of Canada) for Canadian radio airplay and in 2000 it won a Socan Classics Award for more than 100,000 Canadian radio performances.[4]

Chart performance

Adams playing "Summer of '69" live in Dublin, Ireland.

Upon the release of the album Reckless in November 1984, "Summer of '69" received some airplay on album-oriented rock radio stations but was mostly overshadowed by the tracks "Run to You" and "It's Only Love", only managing to reach #40 on Billboard's Rock Tracks chart. After it was released as a single in June 1985, "Summer of '69" climbed to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped push Reckless to the #1 position on the Billboard 200 in August 1985.

In Canada "Summer of '69" was officially released to radio on November, 1984.[1] The song reached the top twenty on the Canadian Singles Chart and remained in the top twenty for another month. "Summer of '69" was the highest charting single from Reckless with Heaven.[7]

The song was released in Australia, Europe and New Zealand in 1985. "Heaven" reached the UK top forty, while "Summer of '69" peaked outside the top forty.[8] "Summer of '69" continued the trend of higher-charting singles when it debuted and peaked at top twenty in most of the European countries it charted. Adams' previous singles had charted much weaker in Europe and "Summer of '69" would be Adams' second single to chart in mainland Europe.

Although "Summer of '69" reached the top ten in Norway and then the top twenty in Austria, Ireland and Sweden, it was a moderate top hundred success in Germany where it peaked at 62.[9][10][11][12][13]

Music video

The music video was directed by Irish director Steve Barron in 1985.[14] In 1985 it was nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards in one category for Best Male Video. While the song didn't win the award, it was one of four nominated songs from Adams' fourth studio album Reckless.[15] The video includes appearances by Lysette Anthony and Michael Brandon.

Track listings

# Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Summer of '69"   Adams, Vallance 3:36
2. "Kids Wanna Rock"   Adams, Vallance 2:35
3. "The Best Was Yet to Come"   Adams, Vallance 2:52


  • Bryan Adams - Rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Keith Scott - Lead guitar
  • Dave Taylor - Bass
  • Pat Steward - Drums
  • Tommy Mandel - keyboards

Chart positions

Chart Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 5
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[7] 40
Canadian Singles Chart[7] 11
UK Singles Chart[8] 42
Irish Singles Chart[13] 18
Swedish Singles Chart[10] 13
Austrian Singles Chart[12] 15
German Singles Chart[11] 62
Norwegian Singles Chart[9] 9


  1. ^ a b c d "Album notes for Anthology by Dave Marsh (CD booklet). A&M Records (A&M 5613).". 2005-10-18.  
  2. ^ a b "Bryan Adams - .". Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  3. ^ "Bryan Adams Talks '69'". CBS News. September 8, 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2009.  
  4. ^ a b c d ""Summer of '69". Retrieved 2008-09-18.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Summer of '69". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  7. ^ a b c d "Artist Chart History (singles) - Bryan Adams". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  8. ^ a b "Bryan Adams". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  9. ^ a b "Norwegian Chart". Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  10. ^ a b "Swedish Chart". Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  11. ^ a b "Chartverfolgung / BRYAN ADAMS / Single" (in German). Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  12. ^ a b "Austrian Chart". Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  13. ^ a b "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  14. ^ "The Life Of Bryan" (in (Danish)). Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  15. ^ "Rock On The Net: Bryan Adams". Rock On The Net. 1986-09-05. Retrieved 2008-09-01.  

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