Rock legend Bryan Adams' astonishing links to Devon

Bryan Adams performs onstage at the 2022 CMT Music Awards at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on April 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee
-Credit: (Image: Mickey Bernal/Getty Images)


He's a multi-platinum selling rocker who has been churning out hits since his teenage years, with a catalogue of successful tracks including Run To You, Heaven, Summer of '69 and When You're Gone with Mel C.

And let's not forget that lesser-known track, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You. It featured in a film about Robin Hood. The film was quite successful. So was the song.

Now the rock legend has revealed his incredible links to Devon ahead of his hugely anticipated Summer Session's gig on Plymouth Hoe on June 14. It comes as DevonLive's sister title PlymouthLive was given the opportunity to ask the mega star a few questions before he arrives in the South West and wows thousands who have snapped up tickets for the show.

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Bonafide legend Bryan was asked to confirm or correct various online biographies stating that his parents emigrated from Plymouth in the 1950s to Canada, noting his own admission in interview that his dad was a Sandhurst officer who was posted a number of locations, including India and Pakistan.

Bryan responded: "Best set the record straight - my grandparents were from Plymstock. My mother was from Lyme Regis, and she had met my father while they were both living in London. They emigrated in the 50s to Canada."

"I only ever visited my grandparents, so I had their roots - did until I lost my nan in the 90s. The only time we ever ventured into Plymouth was when my grandfather wanted to show me the harbour. Otherwise, it was cups of tea in Plymstock around a coal fire!"

When asked if he'd be able to revisit old haunts, such as the harbour, or perhaps Capn Jaspers, the Lido or Union Street - or a swift half in the Barbican's pubs, Bryan responded that he would "if there's time".

[Quick admission here - I was a fan back in his early days, attending the 1987 tour at Wembley Arena following the release of his album Into The Fire. At that time he had four previous albums to choose tracks he could perform.

He's now had around 18 studio albums and a couple of soundtrack albums].

Bryan Adams during his brilliant Eden performance
Bryan Adams during his brilliant Eden performance -Credit:No credit

Bryan was asked how he chooses his set list these days with so much material at his disposal - was it all the hits, personal favourites, obscure B-sides, just the latest material or did he ever throw in a cover for the hell of it?

He said: "I play all the songs people like and spice it up with whatever comes up that night. It's great to have so many songs to choose from."

"We added the completely unknown song 'Star' to our last few shows as we are currently rehearsing for our upcoming Royal Albert Hall shows. That also came as a fan request."

What is less known is that Bryan Adams is also a highly respected photographer who has captured some of the world's most renowned figures as well as some of the bravest. Amongst the likes of Mick Jagger, Ami Winehouse, Naomi Campbell, Sir Christopher Lee, Michael J Fox, Kate Moss and Queen Elizabeth II - yes, really - he embarked on a five-year project to photograph young British soldiers who had suffered life-altering injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Plymouth's own Mark Ormrod.

The collection of photographs depicting injured British soldiers led to his book "Wounded: The Legacy of War", which later toured globally as an exhibition, receiving widespread acclaim. Adams ensured that five charities benefited from the book, including BLESMA, which supports servicemen and women who have lost limbs or their eyesight during combat; Blind Veterans UK, which provides training and rehabilitation for the visually impaired; Combat Stress, which counsels psychologically wounded soldiers; SSAFA, which offers accommodation and advice in times of need and upheaval; and War Child - a small international charity which protects children from the brutal effects of war and its consequences.

Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams -Credit:No credit

Noting his highly respected work as a portrait photographer, PlymouthLive asked how his work on injured British war veterans came about, something which would obviously resonate with a military city like Plymouth.

Bryan explained: "Thank you. I had taken a photo of a wounded vet and that inspired me to do a book called 'Wounded - The Legacy of War"' I had started working on it around the time of the Afghanistan war/just after second Iraq war, the idea being to make a document of the time, because no one expected it would have taken such a heavy toll. "

PlymouthLive pointed out to Bryan that one of his subjects for the Wounded book was Plymouth's own Royal Marine veteran Mark Ormrod, who has since become an award-winning author, motivational speaker and inspirational athlete with seven gold medals - four gold - from the Invictus Games and an MBE in 2020. Would Bryan consider catching up with him during his visit to Plymouth? Bryan responded: "That's a very good idea, I'll invite him!"

When asked if he would consider capturing Plymouth during his gig, Bryan revealed a shift in his photographic tools. He said: "It's the iPhone these days and yes, especially from the stage!"

Having carved out successful careers in both music and photography, we sought Bryan's advice for aspiring musicians and photographers in the South West. Bryan penned: "You really have to believe in yourself and never take no for an answer. If I'd listened to the nay-sayers that I came across, nothing would ever have happened."

Secure your tickets to Summer Sessions and discover more details here.

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