Who is Bryan Adams and why is he Coming to Budapest?

Music

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On September 28, courtesy of the Hungarian National Lottery Company, Bryan Adams will give a free concert in Heroes’ Square, Budapest. The event is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of what’s called the “Scandinavian” lotto. I have absolutely no idea why it’s so-named.

Bryan Adams performing live at the Westport Festival, Westport House, County Mayo, Ireland on June 29, 2014.

My question is: why choose Bryan Adams to give the gift of rock to the people of Hungary? A gift that, judging by the cost of tickets for dates on Mr. Adams’ current “Shine a Light” tour could be worth as much as USD 138 or as little as USD 15. This strikes me as a bit of a raw deal for people who actually play the “Scandinavian” lotto but don’t especially care for the rocker’s music. Perhaps a simpler way to reward them would be to give them cash if they present an old lottery ticket.

Still, at least the concert is happening at a time when it’s not likely to be absolutely freezing. Unlike last year’s concert by Sting and Shaggy, which was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “No. 6” lottery, and which took place on November 24 on a bitter fall night in Budapest.

The cold didn’t stop tens of thousands of people turning out to see “The Sting”, as my Hungarian friend calls him, and the Jamaican-American “Mr. Boombastic” Shaggy reggae-rock them statues.

Incidentally, I wonder if the organizers of these concerts are working their way through the performers of “All for Love,” the 1993 anthem from the Disney movie of The Three Musketeers that went to number one around the world. This would mean Budapest can look forward to Rod Stewart next.

Enough of this idle speculation. Why should you stake out a place in the crowd at Heroes Square on September 28 to see Bryan Adams or persuade a friend with an apartment nearby to let you lean out their window?

Heights of Success

Adams was born in 1959 to English parents who emigrated to Canada in the 1950s. His father became a Canadian foreign service diplomat. This perhaps explains Adams Jr.’s own diplomatic skills.

Researching this piece, I found a film on YouTube that explains how Sting, Adams and Rod Stewart came together to record “All for Love”. Apparently, the idea was Adams’. He got Sting to agree to sing with him before telling the singer that. Stewart was joining them. Apparently, Sting and Stewart hadn’t been the best of showbiz buddies before that. They’d engaged in a spat that resulted in Sting, for some reason, chaining the gates of Stewart’s Beverly Hills mansion shut. Or, at least, that’s Sting’s story.

Mind you, in the official video of the making of “All for Love”, Stewart does insist on calling the legendary Tantric lover String, which is pretty funny. And Adams places himself between String and Stewart, who never look each other in the eye.

In my own small way, I can attest to Mr. Adams’ charm. He’s a good friend of my best friend. For a time, they were neighbors on the luxury Caribbean hideaway island of Mustique. I was once visiting my friend when Adams popped in. He, and I kid you not, had come to winkle interior design secrets out of my friend. Such is the heady rock and roll lifestyle.

My friend introduced me to Adams who, like so many rock and rollers, is tiny. I happen to be 190 centimeters, so I towered over him. So much so that it felt like I could pick him up like you would a small child. Anyway, Adams was most pleasant. We talked yoga and meditation, practices he’s a devotee of, and I felt like I’d known him for at least 15 minutes.

It’s not much of a celebrity anecdote, I know, but we take these things where we can.

Adam’s stature did make me wonder about his rumored dalliance with Princess Diana, who was 176 cm tall. Although Adams claims to be 173 cm, I don’t believe that’s true.

Successful Songwriter

But I don’t want to trivialize Adams. He’s a remarkably successful songwriter as well as performer. He wrote “All for Love” and, throughout his career, which began in Canada in the late 1970s, has written for other performers who know a hit when they hear one. In 1982, he cowrote three songs for the band Kiss, then at the height of their glory days of daft makeup and heels so high they needed a ladder to climb into them. He’s also written for Celine Dion, Tina Turner and Rod Stewart among others.

Adams is known as a performer who gives it his all in concert: good news for the people of Budapest. But I think it’s his songwriting that made him the world’s highest paid singer in the year August 2018 to August 2019, according to People With Money magazine. He apparently earned USD 96 million.

If you’re wondering how this happened, especially as Adams’ more recent albums haven’t exactly raced up the charts, it’s down to the “Pretty Woman” musical. It was Adams’ idea to turn the perennially popular romcom movie into a musical that’s been a smash on Broadway and is coming to London’s glittering West End in 2020. He wrote the music with long-time collaborator Jim Vallance.

Adams is also a dedicated philanthropist and activist. For his current “Shine A Light” tour he partnered with shipping company DHL to plant a tree for every ticket sold. I wonder if he’s made a similar arrangement with the organizers of the concert in Heroes Square on September 28, based on attendance. If that’s the case, we should all go.

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