♫ Summer of ’69 ♫ (Redux)

I first played this one just over a year ago, but I am reduxing tonight because … I promised our friend Clive that I would find one he likes better than the one I played yesterday.  I remembered that this was one that he liked, so … this one’s for you, Clive!

I have a double reason for playing this one tonight … nay, a triple reason!  One is our friend Keith Wilson who said, speaking of Bryan Adams, “‘Summer of ’69’ is probably my favorite of his because it seems autobiographical.”  Two is our friend Clive who, also speaking of Bryan Adams, said, “My favourites of his are ‘Summer Of ‘69’ and ‘Run To You’, not that you were asking 😉  And third, I rather like this song … if I didn’t, I wouldn’t likely play it here. 

Typically, I get most of the trivia and backstory for my songs from SongFacts and Wikipedia, but tonight I stumbled across an additional source for this song, an article from September 2018 on a website called bookmyshow.com titled “6 Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Bryan Adams’s ‘Summer of ’69’” that contains snippets from interviews with both Bryan Adams and the co-writer of this song, Jim Vallance.  The article is fascinating, but a bit too much in more ways than one (hint, don’t take your underage children to the site) for me to use as a lead-in for the song on this post.  I do urge you, if you’re interested, to go check it out at the above link.

Adams wrote this with the songwriter Jim Vallance, who wrote several Aerosmith songs and often collaborated with Adams. On his website, Vallance explains that the song went through a number of changes, and it was originally called Best Days Of My Life, with the line “Summer Of ’69” appearing just once in the lyrics. Vallance feels that the Jackson Browne song Running On Empty, which contains the lyrics, “In ’69 I was 21,” was a subconscious influence on their writing, and that Adams may have been influenced by the movie Summer Of ’42.

Adams had a few hits before this was released, his biggest being “Straight From The Heart,” but this song and the rest of the Reckless album made him a star. Vallance reflects:

“Looking back, I think ‘Summer Of ’69’ was Bryan and I at our best. We hadn’t had any real ‘success’ yet… that would come when Reckless went to #1 on the charts and sold 12 million copies… but that was a year away. In January 1984 Bryan and I were still writing songs for all the right reasons, for the pure love and joy of it. We had nothing to prove, and even less to lose. We wrote songs to please ourselves. Everything started to unravel after Reckless.”

According to Vallance, many of the lyrics were inspired by other songs:

  • “I got my first real six string” – from Foreigner’s Juke Box Hero and the line, “I bought a beat up six-string in a second-hand store.”
  • “Standin’ on your mama’s porch, you told me that you’d wait forever” – Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road and the line, “The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.”
  • “When you held my hand, I knew that it was now or never” – The Beatles I Want To Hold Your Hand.

This song made it to #5 in the U.S., #11 in Canada, and #42 in the UK.

Summer Of ’69
Bryan Adams

I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it ’til my fingers bled
Was the summer of ’69

Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit, Jody got married
I should’ve known, we’d never get far

Oh, when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah, I’d always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life

Ain’t no use in complainin’
When you’ve got a job to do
Spent my evenin’s down at the drive-in
And that’s when I met you, yeah

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that you’d wait forever
Oh, and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Oh, yeah!
Back in the summer of ’69, oh

Man, we were killin’ time
We were young and restless
We needed to unwind
I guess nothin’ can last forever
Forever, no!

And now the times are changin’
Look at everything that’s come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about you, wonder what went wrong

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that it’d last forever
Oh, and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Oh, yeah!
Back in the summer of ’69
It was the summer of ’69
Oh, yeah!
Me and my baby in ’69

It was the summer
The summer
The summer of ’69

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Vallance James Douglas / Adams Bryan
Summer Of ’69 lyrics © Testatyme Music, Adams Communications Inc.

18 thoughts on “♫ Summer of ’69 ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: Summer of 1969 – a few things to remember (a reprise) | musingsofanoldfart

  2. Pingback: SUMMER OF’ 69 ( REDUX ) |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Jill, thanks for the shout out. I love this song as I remember the events of 1969. Walking on the moon, Nixon being sworn in after narrowly beating Humphrey, Vietnam on the news every night, Woodstock, the Miracle Mets, Joe Namath guaranteeing victory of his Jets over the heavily favored Colts, etc. I appreciate the references in this song to other song lyrics, especially Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics in “Thunder Road” which are so expressive. Brian Adams took us briefly back to rock-n-roll during his hey day. Keith

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    • My pleasure, Keith! Yes, it was a year of many stories … some inspirational, others not so much. I graduated from high school in ’69 … I thought I knew everything, had all the answers. HAH! I’m glad you enjoyed this redux of the song … so did I!


  4. Thank you so much for remembering I like this song and playing it for me. It has a special place in my memories as, although Bryan and Jim may not have been writing about 1969 it always brings back memories of that time for me. I even wrote about it – https://cliveblogs.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/summer-of-69/ – if you’re interested. Still a great song and we really did it a disservice here in our chart placings, though Reckless did get to #7, helped by my purchase. I love this song!

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    • I figured I owed it to you after “We Are The World” 😉 But it is a good song and a number of our friends like it, so I enjoyed reduxing it! And tomorrow, I’m playing one that I’ve never played here before, for the first time since at least last September.

      I just read your blog post about the summer of ’69 … WOW … your life really did change dramatically that summer! I smiled, though, to read that your dad and step-mum are still so happy together!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was a kind thought, and as always it brought back those memories.

        So ‘never’ is now defined as ‘since at least last September?’ It’s good to see you getting back into the music posts, though.

        I sometimes wonder what happened to those two girls – a couple of missed opportunities I think. That was written six years ago, but Dad and Jennifer are still devoted to each other, though it’s a bit harder for them now: Dad is 94 and suffering dementia, and Jennifer does an amazing job caring for him.

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        • Ha ha, Clive! No, never means never since I started blogging back in … what was it … 2013 or 2014, I think? Anyway … it’s fun to be back to posting music. This week might be iffy, for our a/c is out and it’s supposed to hit 98° (37° C) by Tuesday, so if they don’t get our a/c fixed tomorrow, I might be too busy gasping for air to do any blogging!

          Wow … 94 … I won’t make it to 94, so I cannot even imagine, but Jennifer must love him very much and I’m sure this is difficult for both of them, and for you as well. Do you see him often?

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          • Sounds a good definition to me. I hope the weather conditions aren’t too unbearable for you!

            I don’t see them anything like as much as I’d like. Our various health issues conspire against us. My daughters took the new granddaughter down to see them last month, but whilst he enjoyed it it seems he wasn’t too clear on what was going on. I have some lovely photos of the day, though.

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            • Both of my parents have been dead since the 1970s, and frankly I did not have a particularly good relationship with them, but I always wondered what it would be like to watch beloved parents age, as my daughter & granddaughter are watching me. I’m so glad your dad got to see his new great-daughter … he might not have quite comprehended, but I bet she somehow made him happy. And you have photos that will last a lifetime!

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              • The photos are lovely to have, and my daughters told me that he was really pleased to see the little one regardless. I’m pleased they could take her down to see him.

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