Released on 5th November 1984, Reckless was Bryan Adams fourth LP and he may have been rather peeved when media commentators of the day described him as an “overnight success.” It went on to sell more than twelve million copies worldwide, and in the UK went triple platinum, spawned six hit singles and remained on the album chart for more than two years. It has now been remastered, repackaged and re-released to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, with a collection of unreleased bonus tracks culled from the original sessions, a live CD taken from an April 1985 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, and- if you’ve a large amount of cash to spare and want the box set- a DVD, a set of original photographs taken during the recording, a collection of recorded interviews, lyrics and more.
In recent years Adams has become almost as well known as a photographer as he is as a singer; indeed, he has actually presented more exhibitions of his photography around the world than he has made LP’s. His latest work (with accompanying book) ‘Wounded: The Legacy of War’ was opened by Prince Harry earlier this month at Somerset House, London, and showcases his photographs of servicemen wounded during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, taken in association with the Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre (which you may well have become aware of due to its recent widely reported association with Millwall Football Club). It is a project which Adams is rightly passionate about, and all profits go to charity, with War Child a principle beneficiary. But to promote Reckless he’s put down the camera and is back on stage once more, sounding rather like he always did.
The new edition of Reckless almost didn’t happen. You might have thought that one of the biggest selling LP’s of all time would be treasured by the record company that released it, but A&M had lost all of the original master tapes and much of the artwork. The fact that there was an LP to re-master at all was entirely down to the fact that Adams himself had kept a copy of the tapes for thirty years, and even then it was only just salvageable. The cover shot was discovered in a drawer at the A&M archives- again by Adams. Interviews suggest he seems rather annoyed at the way the record company have managed his legacy, and little wonder; such behaviour could perhaps be described as…irresponsible (other adjectives are available)!
The basic two disc deluxe edition is rather good, if over-long. The original ten track LP is still as marvellous as it ever was, but the additional seven tracks- including the title track which didn’t appear the first time- add little to the experience and only serve to demonstrate that Adams and his co-producer Bob Clearmountain chose wisely when deciding what to include and what to discard back in 1984. The live LP is also worth a listen, if only as an important moment of our musical history; it adds nothing to the studio recordings without detracting from them, either. If you opt for the box set you also get to own a DVD of some rather badly transferred footage from 1984, some occasionally pretty photographs and a few notes you might be interested in if you’re an enormous fan, but would probably mean little to you otherwise.
The remastering has been competently done. The sound quality is exceptional, almost perfect; perhaps too perfect. Adams has stated that he wished the original version sounded this good, yet the raw power of the original, particularly if you have a vinyl copy and the means to play it, still sounds stronger, somehow more authentic. But Run To You, Heaven, Somebody and- of course- Summer Of ’69 would undoubtedly sound good however you listened to them.
Reckless is an album that you should have in your collection. If you don’t have a copy, or perhaps if you bought it on cassette and it is now about as much use as an unused voucher for flying lessons with Gary Numan, then you should go out and invest in the two cd version, turn up the volume, and prove conclusively that even if you’re no longer a kid, you still Wanna Rock. But if you still have the vinyl version, and it isn’t too scratched, warped or worn, stick that on a turntable instead. Thirty years will evaporate at the speed of sound.
Or 33 1/3 RPM, anyway.
Published on in Random Ramblings.