“I didn’t know it was going to be a hit”: Bryan Adams on the making of the mega-selling (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

Bryan Adams in 1989
(Image credit: Getty Images)

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You was the song of summer ’91, one of those unavoidable, gargantuan hits that only come along every decade or so. It was obvious it was going to be massive from the off – it was attached to Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, the biggest film of the summer, it had an indelible, insanely hooky chorus, it had orchestral uplifting bits, it had the lot. Of course it was going to be huge, everyone knew it. Everyone, that is, except Bryan Adams.

In an extensive, career-spanning interview in the new issue of Classic Rock, which is Guest Edited by Adams, he reveals that he thought it was just a “pretty love song”. His producer Mutt Lange – a man with more than his fair share in big hits – knew there was something about it, though. “I’d been working with Mutt on Waking Up The Neighbours for a year and a half,” Adams told Classic Rock’s Paul Rees. “We were in Battery Studios in North London. We were at the end of the record, starting to mix it, and Michael Kamen brought the idea to me in the form of forty minutes of orchestration.”

It was over this piece of music from the film’s score, Adams explains, that he wrote his biggest hit. “Mutt and I sat at the back of the room, chewing on a Marks & Spencer’s red pepper, and came up with this song underneath Michael’s score. I’ll never forget seeing the look on Mutt’s face. He just said: “Keep going, Badams, keep going.” It came together so quickly. When we were done, Mutt said to me: “You know, this is really special, this song.” And I’d never heard him say that about anything… I didn’t know it was going to be a hit. Mutt really knew.”

Adams says that it was the beginning of a fruitful songwriting partnership between him, Kamen and Lange. “We went on to write two or three number ones, have Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, the whole thing that songwriters could only dream of. I’m always curious to see what happens when two musical styles get put together… working with Michael was irresistible. The music was so beautiful. I could definitely busk something over it, and Mutt would naturally make it extra-amazing.”

For more tales from across Adams’ career, read the full interview in the new issue of Classic Rock. You can order your copy here now.

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.