5
May 11

BRYAN ADAMS – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”

Popular151 comments • 15,652 views

#667, 13th July 1991

Sixteen Listens For Sixteen Weeks: An Everything I Do Liveblog

This song got to number one for 16 weeks, so I decided to play it 16 times in a row, writing as I went.

Play 1: And we’re off. I’ve honestly hardly heard this in the last twenty years so I don’t anticipate the full horror will strike me for a few plays. In case anyone doesn’t know why I’m doing this, “Everything I Do” – a soundtrack hit from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves – holds the record for the longest consecutive run at Number One in the UK singles chart. At least one other record has come close, a few have threatened to, but this is still the champ. Sixteen weeks. Almost four months.

The record is – oh look, you know this, but anyway – it’s a power ballad, slower in fact than I remember. Very weighty. It levels up repeatedly, reaches a climax about two-thirds of the way through, then we have a lingering solo (which I didn’t remember at all and have really no desire to hear another fifteen times), a reprise of the pre-chorus and chorus, and that’s your lot.

Play 2: So on first go that wasn’t so bad! I was 18 when this song was around and I dare say a great deal less amenable to ballads in general and romantic ballads in particular. The song got to number one just after I’d left school – I was spending the summer listening to Bob Dylan and picking fruit for a pittance. “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” – now there, I thought, was a love song. I suspect “Everything I Do” might have a rather wider appeal. (Ah – the solo again – now I’m noticing little moans from Bry on it, dear me.) Anyway I hardly noticed this being number one for its first few weeks and certainly bore it no ill will.

Play 3: “This is a little bit sad music” says a passing four-year old. “I don’t like sad music.” Don’t worry, only thirteen more plays to go! Anyway, in the comments Billy Hicks asks the killer question – why this? As he points out the top ten seemed to be this plus half a dozen breakbeat tracks. At the risk of a stab at topicality which will date this entry event more, there’s yer argument for AV right there. If the second preference votes for Rebel MC had been counted in favour of the Prodigy perhaps we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

More seriously I think there’s a sense in which “Everything I Do” was put at number one as a reaction to a lot of the other stuff which was going on in pop, a ballad built on good old fashioned (well, circa 1986) values. Doesn’t quite explain the longevity, though.

Play 4: That piano intro is starting to sound a bit fussy. You also have to think about the subject matter, of course. Most of the really colossal 90s hits are love songs, and very big, demonstrative, Hollywood love songs at that. And there hadn’t been many of those at Number One recently, the last comparable thing was probably “Unchained Melody”, which was from 1965 anyway. Someone in the comments called “I Wanna Sex You Up” distressingly indiscreet, which seems a bit prudish but Bryan is definitely serving up something a bit more romantic – the sexing you up is all in the thrusting, hairy-chested sound of it, not in the devotional words.

Play 5: By this point in 1991 it was simply a big summer hit – I was aware of it, and pretty sick of it, but I still doubt anyone predicted it would have the legs it did. I don’t recall it breaking sales records – the overall levels of singles sales were quite weak, so the reign of the balladosaurs was partly a function of no real competition. Broad-based hits were rarer, so when one did come along it would really clean up.

I’m feeling a bit resentful of its bludgeoning properties by now.

Play 6: The film, right, let’s talk about the film. I never saw it. I understand someone shoots an arrow into a tree at one point.

So let’s not talk about the film yet. I’m definitely noticing little touches in the production – it feels wrong to call them “subtleties” somehow – there’s a kind of quiet keyboard bit going on behind the riffola just before the solo, for instance. It all serves to make the record bigger and more treacly.

Play 7: Someone has pointed out that there’s a SIX AND A HALF MINUTE version of this, if someone throws me a YouTube I’ll treat myself to it, but no, the bulk of these plays are a radio edit.]

What’s dominating the record now for me is Adams’ voice. It’s very effortful, really bringing out his fighting for you, dying for you, etc. It’s no walk in the park, this doing everything he does for you stuff! He’d been around for a while by this time, slogging away without really making much of an impression on me. He’d done “Run To You” and that showed he had the requisite huskiness for this kind of music, but he’s a bit of a nullity otherwise. That’s probably a contributory factor to the success here, though – if you’re buying this after seeing the film, you’re probably not thinking of Bryan Adams at all, you’re thinking of Kevin Costner clad in stubble and lincoln green. I see the sleeve goes very heavy on the film title and very light on the song title, for instance.

Play 8: There’s obviously a sort of Ren Faire appeal going on here, too – there’s something a little archaic, courtly almost, in the phrasing on “search your heart, search your soul, when you find me there you’ll search no more”, and we’re in the decade of Riverdance and Braveheart and a general bodice’n’broadsword revival (which culminates in Lord Of The Rings I guess, except luckily the songs from that are all IN ELVISH, thanks Tolk!). The reading of Robin Hood implied is less freedom fighter than a kind of Chivalry rockist, the man who understands duty, honour, love etc but is forced undercover by the decadent tenor of the times.

Play 9: OK, it’s time for the six minute version. on YouTube complete with Windows Movie Maker style floaty lyrics. The piano seems mixed up a bit higher, the guitars are a little more turbo-charged but it looks like the extra minutes are all at the end, which rather wrecks the song’s dying fall, replacing it with a bit of piano and guitar vamping and Bryan doing some kind of – improvised moaning? It’s a bit like a really bad Rod Stewart track but with a lot more crashing and soloing. Sorry, Bryan, this won’t do at all – all the precisely constructed build up of romance wrecked on this longer edit in favour of a bit of post-coital mumbling and grunting. It’s like Bryan is rolling over and stealing your duvet. Or your bearskin or whatever, this is the 13th century after all.

Play 10: Back to the shorter edit, and the clanging chimes of doom start up again. Lex in the comments points out rightly that, yes, obviously the film tie-in is why this managed such a gargantuan shift at the top (by week ten it had gone past “Two Tribes”, my benchmark for massivity in hits, and everyone had noticed what was going on). One of my pet theories is how pop is basically quite a small medium, easily bullied and shifted off course by the gravitational pull of other artforms – and cinema in the 90s exerted a particular force. So in a way it’s surprising there weren’t MORE Adams-sized hits.

I’m really wincing now when the BIG CHORDS come in, it’s like the song is a mash up of a films love scene and fight scene both at once.

Play 11: OK, definitely hitting a wall here. As someone else said in the comments, who on Earth was buying this after ten weeks? I’ve now managed to get myself into the same place of sullen anger I was in back in ’91, as the nights drew in, I started a crap job in the wines section of Tescos, and this bastard thing was STILL at number one.

Play 12: I mean, sixteen weeks is a really long time. It’s like six Olympics back-to-back, or a double summer holiday back when you were a kid and summer holidays lasted forever. They’re doing the TOTP re-runs on BBC4 and people are shifting uneasily as the Brotherhood Of Man are on it week after week (with, I admit, a worse song than this), and that was number one for way less than this. Maybe I should have taken it as a sign to stop caring about pop music, but there was a lot of stuff around I really loved and believed in. On the other hand, by week twelve you didn’t really hear it much in the wild, it was just out there somewhere, selling to someone. I wonder if there was ever peer pressure on people who hadn’t bought it yet?

Play 13: Time to take stock of what I think of it. The opening is the best part, I think – it’s gentle, it sounds humble (as someone pointed out, his voice does sound pretty fucked, but for me that suits the been-through-a-battle vibe). The piano chord announcing the second section sounds grossly echoey, though, and the rhythm it sets up is really donkey-ish and plodding. By this point Adam’s identical long vowels are starting to grate, too. The “no love, like your love” does the same stuff, but heavier – plate mail now, not leather armour – and it works better that way, approaching something like rock. Which is why the solo is such a drag, a real energy-killer – Bryan sounds even more knackered after it, like the drums are having to prop his wounded frame up. And then he dies, and it’s almost pretty again, or perhaps I’m just glad it’s ending.

Play 14: This time watching the video, a treat I’ve so far denied myself. The denim! Goodness me, I’d forgotten what a poster boy for denim he was. Bryan looks exhausted before it even starts, grizzled and baffled, a very un-starry sort of star. Most compelling is the bassist uncomfortably squatting up and down before the solo.

Play 15: My wife, who was 15 at the time of EID’s chart reign, went to a Bryan Adams gig in Summer ’92 – supported by Extreme. I asked her if there was any particular reaction when “Everything I Do” was played, but no – it was lighters aloft the whole time of course, but no great excitement. “He was a nice man who’d made a nice song and the whole thing was very nice” was her – not damning – verdict. “Everything I Do” is forceful, sweeping, and suchlike – and memorable too – but also rather unshowy and straightforward. A denimish sort of a song. You can imagine it not wearing out its welcome among its constituency, in the way that something more kitschy – a Jim Steinman jam, perhaps – might make fans feel uncomfortable or awkward after a while. It’s a low-calorie type of a power ballad.

Play 16: “Last play!” I announce to the family. “Good!” says my four year old. “Let’s see if the song’s getting better or worser.” I press play. “It’s getting worser.” Too right. Though actually it hit bottom a few plays ago, and now – just as then – a sort of acceptance has set in. By the sixteenth week, everyone knew it was absurd that this laboured but harmless thing had been at number one for so long, but there was amusement at that absurdity. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t grateful when the spell was finally broken – far happier with the band responsible than I’ve ever been before or since.

So sixteen plays later, what have I learned? Weirdly, I still find it quite hard to get a grip on. For all its bluster there’s an amiable space at the centre of “Everything I Do”, a knack of fading into the background which probably stood it in good stead. I boggled at it in 1991 but I don’t think I hated it, and I can’t really hate it now.

4

Comments

  1. 1
    Matthew H on 5 May 2011 #

    So, when Spotify decreed free users could only listen to a song five times, they were actually being merciful.

  2. 2
    Billy Hicks on 5 May 2011 #

    Good luck Tom :D

    Being too young to remember, I’m really keen on hearing people’s memories of this song’s domination at the time. As the run went into double figures, did its continued stay at #1 become a national talking point? Was it reported much on the news and magazines, did it genuinely feel like it would be number 1 until the end of time, or at least until Christmas? Also, any theories at all why on earth it lasted so long would be interesting, because I haven’t a clue. The top 10 half the time was literally this and nine breakbeat rave tracks. Surely that was the defining pop sound of 1991, not this – why did this beat them all?

  3. 3
    Dan Worsley on 5 May 2011 #

    I predict by the tenth play Tom will be dribbling and barely able to construct a sentence.

  4. 4


    Too Sexy For My Pelt^^^

  5. 5
    Weej on 5 May 2011 #

    Re Billy at #2 – I was there at the time, between the ages of 11 and 12. At first I thought it was a bit silly, then I liked it, then I was bored with it, then I couldn’t believe it was still there at the top. Who was still buying it after week 10 or so? It did seem to be a big deal at the time, I remember hearing it everywhere, and I think I remember people talking about it a lot, might just have been my family / friends though. It also kept the other big hit of the year, Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, at number two for quite a while.

  6. 6
    Billy Hicks on 5 May 2011 #

    Listening to it just the once, it’s a completely deserved number 1. It brings together the epic quality of 80s ballads with the more sophisticated production of those of the 1990s. Four or five weeks at number 1 would be perfectly fitting, long enough for everyone to see the film and buy the record, and then graciously leave the top to make way for something else. But of course, that didn’t quite happen. A 6 at the least, up there with The KLF.

  7. 7
    swanstep on 5 May 2011 #

    Tom, you’ve misplaced the parentheses: it’s (EID)IDIFY not EID(IDIFY).
    God help us all.

  8. 8
    punctum on 5 May 2011 #

    As previously noted, my response to this landmark chart-topper is far too long to publish here so I thought it best to put it on the blog:

    http://garbocathedral.blogspot.com/2011/05/thoughts-about-1991.html

  9. 9
    Matthew H on 5 May 2011 #

    With this kind of chart behemoth, you go through phases of acceptance, I think. To begin with, I found it drab and its run at the top started with a “why?”, then it was an irritant, then a joke, then a “go on, son, keep going” until finally I felt rather affectionate towards it. Things were worse with its near-challenger a few years later, where I ran the gamut from cringing at it to actually loving it.

    ‘Everything I Do’ entered the charts as my first year at university ended, and it tinkled about in the background while we spent the last weeks of term watching England vs West Indies through a fug of smoke. Three months later we came back for second year and the blessed thing was still No.1. By then it was a tongue-in-cheek anthem for us, but we were mainly excited about Screamadelica and, I dunno, Bizarre Inc.

    Having just listened to it – once – I quite like it. The plodding pull into the second verse is rather stirring, but it could still do with a stronger hook. Anyway, keep going Tom. You can do it.

  10. 10
    CarsmileSteve on 5 May 2011 #

    cos it’d been hanging around for aaaaaaaages before it got to number one as well. i seem to recall Simon Mayo being a BIG booster of it on the radio one morning show and then becoming more and more ashamed of what he had “done” as the weeks ticked by…

  11. 11
    Rory on 5 May 2011 #

    Also number one in Australia for 11 weeks from 27 July onwards, so we weren’t far short of your horror. Maybe I’ll listen along for 11 plays… nahhh.

    Lengthier Adams-related memories from me after Tom’s done and dusted. In the meantime, you might enjoy this related contribution to another of my online haunts.

  12. 12
    Weej on 5 May 2011 #

    Listening to it again once it sounds earnest, well-made, good as far as power ballads go (never a favourite), fairly agreeable. The wife says she likes it. Second listening it’s starting to sound overwrought and desperate, think I’ll leave it at that.

  13. 13
    El boludo on 5 May 2011 #

    Score predictions, anyone? I don’t think Tom’s going to have much goodwill left towards the track by the end of this stint. I’m guessing a 2.

  14. 14
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2011 #

    @Billy Hicks

    I’m evidently a couple of years younger than Tom; I was 16 at the time, had just done my GSCEs and some work experience at my local newspaper..

    In any case I’d say more or less the answer to all your questions is “yes”. And it outlasted the entire top 40 chart run of the two follow-up singles by Bryan Adams (the first of which was rather uninteresting, the second of which should have been received more favourably than it was IMHO).

    As for why? Not sure. Maybe just because after all the excitement of 1988-1990 pop music had got a bit crap and inbetweeny; Madchester had more or less died out (or had been commercialised by major record label cash-ins with half-hearted inept groups like the Milltown Brothers, Rain, or the f**king Mock Turtles), rave had (mostly) faded (although…thinking of the charts of this summer -“Night in Motion” by Cubik 22 – tune!), and, as previously discussed the KLF were the msot exciting thing around (and Altern-8 a desperate imitation thereof).

    For God’s sake the NME were bigging up the dire Flowered Up as the great white hope of Brixton Town…

    But the film/advert/TV cashin aspect, discussed earlier this year, I think is probably the main reason. And a simple lack of any really really good pop records. This song’s reign of terror, or rather, of abject boredom, at number 1, was also the time (more or less exactly) that the charts really started to speed up, with an excess of new entries, entering the charts and falling straight down. Not quite as mad as later in the 90s – but a big speeding up compared with what had gone up until then.

    I think the Hummingbirds’ “Blush” was from summer 91. Prepared to be told I’m wrong (by our Aussie contingent, perhaps). That’d have been a far more worthy chart-topper than this load of old tosh, but as it was it didn’t even scrape the top 75.

  15. 15
    Alex Niven on 5 May 2011 #

    This was the first single I ever owned, aged 7, on cassette.

    I remember vividly thinking: “there will never be another piece of music I love more than this”.

  16. 16
    Seb Patrick on 5 May 2011 #

    One thing, and one thing only, justifies this record’s existence: the cover of it by Gob Bluth and Franklin Delano Bluth in Arrested Development.

  17. 17
    Erithian on 5 May 2011 #

    Billy #2 – I don’t think the record that was at number 2 for almost half the length of the run – “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred – counts as a breakbeat rave track, though I may be wrong! (Marcello, was this the longest ever run at number 2 as far as you know? – from memory it was 7 weeks.)

    This was the year when the hostages in Beirut – John McCarthy, Terry Waite, Jackie Mann – were released after being held for up to five years. The gag was that McCarthy’s first words on being released were “is Bryan Adams still number one?” I was on a cycling holiday in the Netherlands and picked up a British tabloid in a roadside café to check it was still there in about week 9. Once it got beyond that – beyond Queen and Wings in recent chart terms – chart watchers were all waiting to see if it could overtake Slim Whitman’s record of 11 consecutive weeks, and after that every extra week felt historic. As I recall it certainly did cross into the national consciousness.

    Notable though that it’s not as high up in the all-time UK top sellers list as you might imagine from a 16-week behemoth – lower end of the teens IIRC without looking it up – indicating that the overall level singles sales was relatively low at this period.

  18. 18
    Scott M on 5 May 2011 #

    Seriously Tom, you should be sponsored for this.

    Having just listened again myself I have to say it’s not actually so bad, but I had no idea that it went on for 6 and half minutes! As a result I began to waver towards the end and I can hardly imagine how it would feel after another fifteen plays. I presume you’re listening to a radio edit?

    Good luck!

  19. 19
    JLucas on 5 May 2011 #

    I realise the last thing you’re going to want to do after listening to this sixteen consecutive times is investigate a fairly faithful cover version, but Brandy gave this a lovely emotive reading on her 1998 Never Say Never album. Strips away the AOR bombast that marrs the Adams version and reveals the plaintive cry for love that sits at the heart of the record. She always did have the most beautiful voice too, perfectly suited to this kind of ballad, and sadly wasted on much of her subsequent material.

    http://youtu.be/8Xnw3K4pcUM

  20. 20
    AN on 5 May 2011 #

    The score for Prince of Thieves was vaguely Vaughan-Williams-esque wasn’t it? And Michael Kamen was also one of the composers of this, so perhaps some light medievalism here too (the piano intro in particular sounds a bit folk-ish)?

    A sort of Troubadour conceit in the lyrics as well?

  21. 21
    Rory on 5 May 2011 #

    @8 Phew, what a corker!

    @14 No idea about the UK release, but in Oz it was 1989. I still have the free 7″ “debut single of the year” given away with the Australian Rolling Stone.

  22. 22
    Kat but logged out innit on 5 May 2011 #

    I’m so going to do this at karaoke next week.

  23. 23
    lex on 5 May 2011 #

    @10 it actually got to #1 in just its third week! And, looking at Polyhex, only spent 25 weeks in the charts in total – just six more than Adams’ second-longest chart run (“When You’re Gone”, of all things, wut?). That’s substantially less than big singles habitually spend hanging around now, in the download age – and actually, the songs that refuse to go away these days feel far more oppressive in their hanging around than I remember this doing. (And I’m not sure that, in a practical sense, whether a song stays at No 1 for 16 weeks or just stays in the top 10 for 16 weeks makes much difference.)

    But then, I was still only just starting to follow the charts when this happened. I was vaguely aware of other people, on the radio and on TOTP, getting excited about its run, but for all I knew this was just how things were. I liked it then, I liked the sweeping rush of it all; I liked the film, which was one of the first blockbusters I remember seeing; I liked how ridiculous its epic romantic sweep was. I don’t remember getting sick of it but then, I actually didn’t encounter it all that much in the wild, so to speak.

    I then spent 20 years not thinking very much about it until I randomly heard it at Lambeth County Fair last year, appropriately enough accompanying a fake jousting tournament. I was completely pissed on homemade cider by this stage and it sounded SO RIGHT AND PERFECT to sing and fist-pump along to. Here is a photo of that moment!

    I have just listened to it again in solidarity with Tom and in fact it held up to being repeated. But just the once.

  24. 24
    Weej on 5 May 2011 #

    The Guardian’s Reel History did a very funny takedown of RH:POT a while back – http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/jan/15/robin-hood-prince-of-thieves

  25. 25
    El boludo on 5 May 2011 #

    @18 bloody hell! The one I’m listening to is 4:17 and it seems to be going on forever. I must say that having Bryan’s mumblings during the solo pointed out to me has increased my enjoyment of the song quite a bit – hilarious!

    Although I was only 5 at the time I’m pretty sure I remember the fuss about this song and it’s long run at the top. No idea why that should be since I wasn’t at all interested in the charts at that age. My siblings and I (deliberately? I dunno) misinterpreted the lyric as “you can’t tell me it’s not worth Diet Coke”.

    It really does wear you down, this song. I can’t imagine what Tom must be going through. This marathon is like a more vexing Vexations, I bet it seems to go on longer!

  26. 26
    Anna on 5 May 2011 #

    I bought this, you know. On cassingle.

    I was also 12, hopelessly in love with Christian Slater and wanted to keep the video with him in it on Top Of The Pops. (Slater played Will Scarlett in Prince of Thieves.) So, really, the internet could have prevented that purchase. Cheap recording technology could have prevented that purchase. An early VHS release of Prince of Thieves could have prevented that purchase.

  27. 27
    Scott M on 5 May 2011 #

    The six and half minute version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeZr3U_vbng

    I listened on Spotify, and that’s the version that’s the most popular version there, bafflingly.

  28. 28
    lex on 5 May 2011 #

    As for why this particular balladosaur, and why for so long, surely it’s the obvious answer – the film tie-in. Films have longer legs than pop songs as a matter of course, so if a pop song’s lifespan can be fixed to a film’s, it’ll obviously stand out. And the same is true of a couple of the songs that came closest to “Everything I Do” in the early ’90s.

    Film soundtrack tie-ins = the X Factor artificial boost of two decades previous?

  29. 29

    Blimey there’s a lot of Robin Hood films and TV series.

    “1967: Rocket Robin Hood, a space-age version of the Robin Hood legend, where he and his band of Merry Spacemen live in the year 3000 on Sherwood Asteroid and fight the evil Sheriff who rules the space territory of N.O.T.T.” <-- current favourite

  30. 30
    Gareth on 5 May 2011 #

    I had never heard this before (I spent 1991 listening to Steve Reich) and the thing that most strikes me about this single is how bad Bryan Adams’ voice had become. It was never all that great, but in a track like “Run To You” (1985) he lets his guitar playing do the business that his voice can’t supply. But in this track, which depends so much more on the vocal part, his voice is almost completely gone. Maybe the success of the single is down to the contrast between the bombast of the lyrics and the broken-down hoarseness of the delivery? Maybe people just felt sorry for him.

  31. 31
    LondonLee on 5 May 2011 #

    I remember vividly being OUTRAGED at that miserable dirge ‘Mull of Kintyre’ being No.1 for so long, we’d tune in to Johnnie Walker on Tuesday lunchtime to hear the chart and there it was week after bloody week. God how I hated that record (quite like it now though).

    Nearly 15 years later this bugger was on the top for nearly twice as long but I was mature enough (ha!) not to let it wind me up that much and anyway I wasn’t as concerned with the charts anymore. I never minded Bryan Adams that much (‘Summer of 69’ was rather good I thought) and in my memory this wasn’t that bad either but listening to it again it’s sort of rubbish really, and listening to it 16 times might well drive me to a ‘Mull of Kintyre’ rage.

  32. 32
    will on 5 May 2011 #

    Ah, I can see the video in my mind’s eye now…Bryan and the lads in a woodland clearing…the arrow flying through the air…Maid Marian being all flirty.

    Like Matthew at 9 I went through stages with this record. I hated it at first, obviously. But by the time it got to weeks 8 and then 9 and then 10 and it became more and more a source of irritation to people I began to strangely like it. Its presence at the end of TOTP and the Chart Show became a reassuring one, that things were all right with the world – The Soviet Union might have been falling apart but at least Bryan Adams is still number one! By the time it got to weeks 15 and 16 I was willing it to break Frankie Laine’s record.

    I suppose ultimately part of what I liked about it was that like war, famine and Christmas it brought people together. By week 16 everybody in the UK had an opinion about Everything I Do. How many Number Ones have you been able to say that about since?

  33. 33
    DietMondrian on 5 May 2011 #

    I saw the film; it wasn’t good.

    Among the many inaccuracies and anachronisms in the film, the one that particularly stuck in my craw was the Sheriff of Nottingham ordering a comely wench to his bedchamber at “8pm” and her similarly comely wench friend “at 8.15″*…really? Forget Robin and his mate travelling from the White Cliffs of Dover to Sherwood Forest in a day, did people really say 8.15 in a pre-mechanical clock, never mind pre-digital watch, age?

    I realise this is hardly Bryan Adams’ fault.

    * might have been 9.15, 10.15, whatever.

  34. 34
    MikeMCSG on 5 May 2011 #

    I remember the still Springsteen-fixated at this point Q seriously suggesting that people were buying this as a cheap substitute while they waited for the Boss’s latest opus.

    The film was pretty crappy with its political correctness and the dependably boring Kevin Costner but Alan Rickman’s OTT turn as the Sheriff was good fun.

    It was during this record’s reign that I was having trouble hunting down All About Eve’s “Touched By Jesus” LP at a decent price and the penny dropped that vinyl was being phased out and I wouldn’t have the option to stay with the cheaper format.

  35. 35

    TOLKIEN WROTE SONGS IN ENGLISH, as well you know. “(Everything I Do) I Bombado for Goldberry” for example.

  36. 36
    Vincennes on 5 May 2011 #

    @23 “I was vaguely aware of other people, on the radio and on TOTP, getting excited about its run, but for all I knew this was just how things were.”

    I was the same age as you but it was the exact opposite for me. This song marked the start of my grim and frankly ongoing fascination with Things Keeping Going much longer than they are expected to – songs at number one, songs in the top ten, the relationships of my wee pals, etc. I was gutted when Wet Wet Wet withdrew from sale a song I disliked quite intensely, just because that would mean it couldn’t be number one for an entire year.

  37. 37
    thefatgit on 5 May 2011 #

    Hmm…Robin Hood. I used to have this theory about RH:POT, which I must admit was formulated over some strong lagers many moons ago. It went like this: the poll tax riots of 1990 captured the imagination of the UK cinemagoer, and in 1991, RH:POT seemed the perfect fit to feed that collective imagination. Big Bad Tory Government (Sherriff of Nottingham) taxes every household in the UK to pay for local services, normally paid from Rates. In Robin Hood’s world, that would not be unfair, but Nottingham is collecting to pay for a coup d’etat which overthrows “good” Richard, fighting a “noble” crusade, to supplant him with “cowardly” John, who’s only interest is wealth. So to tie this in with the Big Bad Tory Government, Sherwood becomes the UK and the nasty Sherriff diverts money from local services to pay for a “noble” crusade in The Gulf, inadvertently stoking up a recession which sees the good people of the Forest chucked on the scrapheap. It sounded good after a few beers, but doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

  38. 38
    Tim Byron on 5 May 2011 #

    ‘Everything I Do’ is burnt into my brain. Often when I listen again to the #1s here, there’s bits I’ve forgotten, or often whole songs that sound pretty vague until the chorus. But listening to ‘Everything I Do’, it’s all there. Like I remember it. A curse on thee, Adams!

    I write songs, and when I read those kind of “How To Write A Song” books to see if they’d give me any new ideas, I was always puzzled that they were never about how to best express the emotions you have, or how to do anything interesting or weird. Instead, they’re all basically about how to write a formulaic power ballad you could pitch to Celine Dion. And it seems to me that ‘Everything I Do’ is the formula in those books to a tee.

    I can hear the commercial genius in the song, in how relentlessly it uses formulaic musical themes and variations to lodge itself inside heads without getting super-repetitive, ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’-style. Listen to how the vocal melody in the climax of the middle 8 echoes the piano figure that’s all through the song, and how it echoes the ‘pre-refrain’ in the verse section (the minor key bit before he sings the title).

    As to why it was #1 for so long – I think we forget that the general music-buying public is a pretty small part of the population, even for hit singles. There’s a lot more people out there who only engage with music very occasionally, who are completely blind to the cultural subtleties, ironies, and unusual flavours that music fans delight in (which ‘Everything I Do’ completely lacks). These record buyers are slower to pick up on things and are very hesitant to financially engage with music at all, because all of the hurly burly of youth culture confuses them. But once they do pick up on something, the record’s success becomes self-perpetuating, because it becomes the safe record to buy that everyone already likes that you’ll probably like too. Adele’s doing this massive run at #1 in the album charts in the UK at the moment for pretty much those reasons, isn’t she? Whoever’s buying her album probably also just read Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first book they’ve read since The Da Vinci Code. Being able to sell to this kind of buyer is basically a record company’s wet dream.

  39. 39
    fivelongdays on 5 May 2011 #

    As I said when you’d mentioned you’d do this – you are not reviewing a song. You are reviewing a monolith.

    I doubt whether we’ll ever see a spell of chart domination quite like it.

    As I also said, I can’t give it a mark, because of it’s monolithicness. It might be anything between 4 and 7, I don’t know.

    Still, 16 listens in a row…crikey, I dunno if I could do that with a song I really liked!

  40. 40
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2011 #

    Now, if Bryan Adams had thought to record some of Hilaire Belloc’s mock-medieval songs (many of which celebrate the Men of Sussex and his traditional pursuits), specifically those included (and notated) within the *quite brilliant* “The Four Men (A Farrago)”….now that’d have been something. Something more interesting than this, anyway.

    However deeply tiresome this song is, it is at least immeasurably less tiresome, and somewhat less irritating, than the (doubtlessly recorded and released because of this) “All for love” atrocity with Rod Stewart and whoever else it was alongside them that followed.

  41. 41
    enitharmon on 5 May 2011 #

    The film, ah yes. I saw that at the ABC High St Kensington (so it’s not impossible that Di Saxe-Coburg-Battenburg-Spencer was also there with her sprogs). What I remember most about it was how bloody awful Kevin Costner was in it, and how he was so comprehensively out-acted by Alan Rickman that it was hard to believe they were in the same film. Of course I was biased; Alan often used to turn up at the same parties I went to, as well as the occasional Mayoral function, since his long-standing and long-suffering partner (who supported him from the days when he was a penniless young stage actor) was my chief whip on the local council.

    I wasn’t made particularly aware of the song at the time. It was just another film song. Later in its chart longevity there was a lot of comment about the very low level of singles sales and the dearth of anything else of general appeal – the so-called ‘dance’ music of the time was very much a special interest I think, and one which nobody in my circle was much interested in.

  42. 42
    thefatgit on 5 May 2011 #

    #40 The (UN)Holy Trinity of Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart!

  43. 43
    Nicole on 5 May 2011 #

    I still to this day have never seen the movie — my husband is somewhat traumatized by it, since he worked at a movie theater at the time and it played for months. I don’t think movies have that kind of staying power in the theaters now, which may be a good thing.

  44. 44
    swanstep on 5 May 2011 #

    I’ve got the bloody 6 min+ version too. Extra credit?

    Anyhow, this really is a painfully just-OK sort of song. I’d rate it well below other Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange (partially) penned and produced-to-death ballads such as the title track from Def Leppard’s Hysteria album and Shania Twain’s You’re Still the One. Those are better songs and better recorded in my view. Lange repeats the one-note-at-a-time-recorded open chords stuff that sounded thrilling on Hysteria but with some further fx on them to blend them into the background. That’s the stuff behind the piano in the intro – it sounds a bit tinny to my ears.

    According to wiki,(EID)IDIFY sold 10 million copies world-wide and Adams sold 16 million copies of his album principally on the basis of this song. Blimey. That’s almost as much as Hysteria, which had true hit singles up the wazoo. I gather then that (EID)IDIFY must *really* hit the spot for a lot of people – for them it’s what Nothing Compares is to me (and another group of people) say. Maybe I just don’t respond much to Adams’s voice? At any rate, whereas I’d give def lepp’s and shania’s Lange ballads 8’s easy, this one’s got 5 written all over it as far as I’m concerned.

  45. 45
    weej on 5 May 2011 #

    Re Erithian @17 – apparently I’m Too Sexy was held at number 2 for six weeks – an equal record with The Smurf Song, which was held off by You’re The One That I Want.
    I don’t think I would want to could listen to I’m Too Sexy 16 times either, but it would be a little more bearable at least. In my university days we used to have a rule that we couldn’t play any of our favourite 5 albums more than once a week, for fear of ruining them. Not a problem here really.

  46. 46
    flahr on 5 May 2011 #

    There’s an upcoming Number One I listened to twenty times in a row one particular morning (in lieu of going to a Maths lecture I believe). Didn’t ruin it which is somewhat surprising.

    There’s some fun to be had here imitating Bryan’s croaky vocals but it seems with this one film tie-in + “listen Jerry they’re playing Our Song!” > actual quality.

  47. 47
    Tim Byron on 5 May 2011 #

    @14: “Blush” by the Hummingbirds was actually from 1989, at least here in Australia! But – looking at Craig Mathieson’s book ‘The Sell-In’, the Hummingbirds made an effort to crack the UK in 1990-1991, so you may well have heard it in the summer of 1991.

    I, erm, actually played in some bands with Simon Holmes (one of the Hummingbirds’ lead singer/songwriters) a couple of years ago. He seems to recall fondly playing UK music festivals around that era – he feels he was super-lucky to get to that level and tried to enjoy it while it lasted.

  48. 48
    logged-out Tracer Hand on 5 May 2011 #

    The “no love / *crash* / like your love” is the point where I imagine the wild-haired session guitar player in the arena-rock live show would start whipping his guitar neck rhythmically toward the audience. *wham* … *wham* …

  49. 49
    DietMondrian on 5 May 2011 #

    A mate of mine – who would fit the description, upthread, of “people who only engage with music very occasionally” – bought it after about 14 weeks, saying, “it’s famous…my copy will be valuable some day”.

    Idiot.

  50. 50
    David Belbin on 5 May 2011 #

    Only two to go, Tom! I just listened to the song twice and that’ll do me for a decade. Does anyone know what was the longest run at number two without getting to number one? I was writing a thing about Free’s All Right Now the other day, which was held off by Mungo Jerry for what seemed a whole summer. Despite living in Nottingham, I’ve never seen this version of Robin Hood…

  51. 51
    punctum on 5 May 2011 #

    #50: Frank Chacksfield’s “Limelight” notched up eight weeks at #2 in four separate runs. Pat Boone’s “Love Letters In The Sand” did seven weeks over three separate runs but the longest continuous run at #2 is “I Swear” by All-4-One.

  52. 52
    punctum on 5 May 2011 #

    …which spent seven consecutive weeks as runner-up over summer ’94.

  53. 53
    Billy Hicks on 5 May 2011 #

    There’s a number 1 coming in sixteen years time that I bought on its tenth week at the top simply out of obligation – I felt like the only one in the world who didn’t have it yet. But that was simply clicking a 79p button on iTunes, I probably wouldn’t have stretched as far as actually going to my nearest music shop and paying for the physical.

    The top ten of its twelfth week at the top is another of my favourites ever, and shows rave’s domination in the rest of the chart:

    1: Bryan Adams – Everything I Do
    2: Salt N Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
    3: Oceanic – Insanity
    4: Erasure – Love To Hate You
    5: Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy
    6: Zoe – Sunshine On A Rainy Day
    7: Rozalla – Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)
    8: Sabrina Johnston – Peace
    9: The Prodigy – Charly
    10: Utah Saints – What Can You Do For Me

    There’s a wonderful newsgroup post from the time where someone points out all the rave acts in the charts with their first and then-only hit, and predicting that none of them will ever have another one. Zoe and Sabrina yes, but Utah Saints and The Prodigy, well…

  54. 54
    logged-out Tracer Hand on 5 May 2011 #

    Guys there is an ominous gap in the liveblog.

    Tom – please let us know if you’re OK!!

  55. 55
    Rory on 5 May 2011 #

    I can’t leave work until the end! Fortunately the nursery runs until 5.45…

  56. 56
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2011 #

    @21, @47

    Thanks for that info. I bought a 12″ of “Blush” – it was definitely later than ’89 (I think I generally only bought 7″s then, young whippersnapper that I was) that it was on release in the UK. Summer 91 kind of rings a bell with me. Lovely, refreshing, invigorating pop song, just like this is not.

    @53 – I LOVED Zoe’s minor hit follow-up, “Lightning”. Way more than “Sunshine on a Rainy Day”.

  57. 57
    AN on 5 May 2011 #

    As a nipper, I cried when U2’s The Fly came on Top of the Pops, thus shattering the dream, and I’ve hated them ever since.

  58. 58
    CarsmileSteve on 5 May 2011 #

    blimey that’s a good top (two to) ten…

  59. 59
    CarsmileSteve on 5 May 2011 #

    am i going to be the person to mention that Zoe is now married to Million Pound Poet Murray Lachlan Young?

    i love SOARD

  60. 60
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2011 #

    Has anyone else seen the Russian film, “Dom Durakov” (House of Fools), set in a lunatic asylum on the borders of Chechnya/Ingushetiya during the 1990s war there, and semi-based on a true story. The heroine has some kind of mental illness that leads her to imagine that she is engaged (or married? or just in a relationship with? can’t quite remember) to our hero Bryan here (and that he is singing the song “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” especially for, and to her)?

    The nice thing is, Bryan actually appears in the film, as himself, or at any rate as the woman sees him in her imagination. He went up in my estimation when I learned that, as it’s a kind of arty, highbrow film, not really likely to have had a mass audience even in Russia.

  61. 61
    Erithian on 5 May 2011 #

    Punctum #51 – “I Swear” was unfortunately the first dance at our wedding in summer ’94. I say “unfortunately” as it was only that song because we’d forgotten to bring along the CD with our real choice on. Rosie will be pleased to know our real choice was “Fields of Gold”, other Populistas may scoff…

  62. 62
    Rory on 5 May 2011 #

    MASSIVE APPLAUSE.

  63. 63
    Tom on 5 May 2011 #

    Done! Now off to a) vote and then b) drink a great big beer.

  64. 64
    Erithian on 5 May 2011 #

    And a round of applause for Tom for finishing the marathon, everybody!

  65. 65
    fivelongdays on 5 May 2011 #

    Brilliant stuff – although I’m kinda surprised that the summing up seems a bit, well, sudden!

  66. 66
    weej on 5 May 2011 #

    Well done! Off to bed for me.

  67. 67
    Tom on 5 May 2011 #

    #65 yes, I’d run out of puff really. I tried to think of something pithier to end it on but it wasn’t to be :)

  68. 68
    Matthew H on 5 May 2011 #

    Someone wrap a foil blanket around the man.

  69. 69
    Cumbrian on 5 May 2011 #

    I have a couple of questions: how many times do you usually listen to a #1 before putting fingers to keyboard and putting a mark to it? And over how prolonged a period?

    There was a possibility that this exercise was going to stack the deck – which, to your credit, I think you have avoided – but it did make we wonder whether this track has received more or less scrutiny than might otherwise have been the case.

  70. 70
    Pete on 5 May 2011 #

    Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, more on which later, got precisely one Oscar nomination. For best song.

    It did not win.

  71. 71
    Tom on 5 May 2011 #

    #69 my usual method is to have a “Popular Next Ten” playlist on the iphone, which I keep up to date. Then when I play the next one I let it run on a couple of tracks after, so I end up hearing each record three or four times “intensively” and six or seven ‘distractedly’ I’d guess.

    I didn’t put Bryan (or anything coming after him) on said playlist, because I knew I was going to be listening to it so much anyway. So really this is only five or six more listens than a Popular track would usually get.

  72. 72
    David Belbin on 5 May 2011 #

    re 51/2 Thanks for that – should have gone straight to Lena with the question! And well done, Tom. Have a rest.

  73. 73
    enitharmon on 5 May 2011 #

    @61

    At least it wasn’t I’ll Be Watching You! FoG isn’t a bad choice at all for the job.

    A virtual pint of Ulverston Laughing Gravy for Tom for his splendid effort and sacrifice in the name of the Popular project!

  74. 74
    Cumbrian on 5 May 2011 #

    Cheers Tom.

    As for my opinion – I’ve not had to listen to it repeatedly, so like others upthread, I might be less disposed to giving it a slating. That said, I find it to be turgid. 4 actually seems generous. As has been mentioned elsewhere on FT, I am a bit of a fan of Springsteen and I have always viewed Bryan Adams as a particularly humourless Springsteen copyist (say what you like about Bruce, but there are flashes of humour in some of his work that I’ve never really got from the – admittedly – more well known Adams tracks). I’ve always thought that Bryan Adams takes all of Springsteen’s worst traits (bombast, strained delivery, a “will this do?” musical backing on the occasions when Bruce’s heart is not totally in it) and built his career on them.

    I also think that this is not very well put together; the track builds and builds and then instead of doing something with the gathering momentum at the “no love like your love” section, descends into the notably terrible, slow solo. I’d give it 3.

    To be honest, I should probably stick my cards on the table – I find love songs to be an all or nothing proposition, whether linked to a film or not. Either they touch me and thus will get a high mark, 8 or above. Or I find them to be trite and soporific and thus they’ll get a pretty low mark (probably 3 or under, maybe a 4 if I’m feeling generous). A while ago I described The Clash’s #1 as perfectly average – I actually can’t think of a love song that I could describe in that way off the top of my head. Maybe I’ll find one as this decade unwinds.

  75. 75
    thefatgit on 5 May 2011 #

    After spending some time observing and commenting on this epic project (Popular, not (EID)IDIFY), I have noticed that songs such as this, which are overtly POPULIST, and therefore appeal to the unengaged, tend to suffer scorewise, because of their overfamiliarity. Some #1’s become so by happy accident, rather than design, but (EID)IDIFY had #1 imprinted in its DNA by Bryan, Mutt Lange and his army of MIGHTY POWER BALLAD builders. There is something in the song that draws in the unengaged “philistine” and turns away the aesthete, in the same way that FT’s intrepid IPA tasters were quick to reject Greene King in favour of the smoky 1000 IBU brew. Ubiquity or familiarity breeds not necessarily contempt, but indifference, and that’s what I felt towards the song in ’91.

    So what does (EID)IDIFY taste like? Well first off, popcorn but after hanging around the charts some time, you get more familiar flavours of Greene King IPA, fish and chips and Glade air freshener, Finally, you get a finish of stale tobacco and sweaty denim.
    Compare this with “I’m Too Sexy”, which tastes of Asti Spumante and Impulse deodorant, with a lingering hint of Friday night desperation.
    Compare again with the Breakbeat boom, which smells of motorway services and anticipation. On the palate we get bitter chemicals, Vick VapoRub and expensive bottled water, with a heavy stale sweat finish on the jaded tongue.

    Those with untrained palates are always going to go with the safe, Greene King option.

    Populism appears to be the enemy of engagement among the aesthetes, but the agent of engagement among the masses, and that strikes me as the philosophy of the Indie Kid. That can’t be right, can it?

  76. 76
    Alan on 5 May 2011 #

    DVD bonus feature cover version http://trewartha.tumblr.com/post/5215109203/fatima-mansions-everything-i-do-i-do-it-for

  77. 77
    Izzy on 5 May 2011 #

    Nice top ten at #53!

    It’s a shame when some of my favourite near-misses pass by without me noticing, would like to mark them a bit more. ‘Charly’ is one of maybe only three new records to have had me gasping with euphoria on very first hearing* – I think it made #3, but there’s something reassuring in knowing it was a proper epic that kept it off the top.

    There were tons and tons of great rave records breezed into the upper reaches about this time – Bizarre Inc, SL2, more Prodigy, them was great days – but very few indeed reached the top slot. It can’t all have been down to Bryan Adams surely?!

    * ‘Beat Dis’ was the first and I’m sure it did make #2, but I have no idea what kept it off the top. The third did make #1 nine years after this, so I’ll save mentioning it ’til then. Discovery is the only album that’s ever pulled off the same trick – oddly I heard it for the first time recently, and I was delighted to find myself still capable of that reaction after all these years.

  78. 78
    lonepilgrim on 5 May 2011 #

    I’m a little sad to arrive after the epic feat of endurance but all credit to Tom for his perseverance. I imagined that after a while some sort of Stockholm Syndrome might have set in but he appears to have maintained his critical faculties.
    This is like the vanilla ice cream of pop sprinkled with a little bit of celtic, some throaty rock vocals and fairly generic lyrics. I find it hard to dislike but equally hard to get excited by. My main memory from 1991 is of the gurning guitarist on TOTP.

  79. 79
    Alan on 5 May 2011 #

    number one while “beat dis” stuck at 2: http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2010/05/kylie-minogue-i-should-be-so-lucky/

  80. 80
    Andrew F on 5 May 2011 #

    I think you’d really like the film, Tom! It’s big and silly and enjoyable at this distance, and without Alan Rickman stealing every scene he’s even walking past, there’d be no Snape.

  81. 81
    AndyPandy on 5 May 2011 #

    38 very true about that market who only buy the record or book that “everyone else is buying” – and as well as not wanting to make that investment in music until they’re postive they want it – another thought is that many will probably not listen to music radio that much which explains why they’re still not bored of it 15 weeks after it got to number one.

  82. 82
    anto on 5 May 2011 #

    If nothing else I suppose Everything I Do was a lesson in being careful not to underestimate anyone. Apart from his run of hits in 1984/85 I don’t recall Bryan Adams being a chart regular as such prior to this. In fact I daresay a lot of people had forgotten about him by 1991 and then – we could hardly ignore this one. As it turned out the nineties rather than the eighties is when he hit really big.

    The follow-up was called Can’t Stop This Thing We Stared.
    Oh you said it Bryan.

  83. 83
    fivelongdays on 5 May 2011 #

    Bryan Adams mondegreen time – I always thought Summer of ’69’s opening line was ‘I had my first real sex dream over at the five and dime’.

    Talking of that particular song, it seems as if you’re as likely, if not more so, to bump into that as (EID)IDIFY, these days. Anyone got any ideas why?

  84. 84
    23 Daves on 5 May 2011 #

    It’s so strange – every time I visit Canada (where my in-laws live), it tends to be “Summer of ’69” you hear on the radio as the national Bryan Adams favourite rather than this. The way it captured the British imagination but not his heartland’s imagination to the same extent is a bizarre turn of events. Yes, it got to number one there, but so did “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”.

    I don’t find it difficult to understand why so many people appreciated this song, even without the film tie-in. It’s a rock epic akin to Meatloaf’s Steinman penned epics, the kind of thing that leaves me cold but contains enough mixture of pop craft and rock dramatics to please a broad cross-section of the public. What genuinely stuns me is how it kept Right Said Fred off the top with a tune which I’d be willing to bet is still greeted with a certain degree of enthusiasm today despite its chart longevity.

    I’d also agree that note-for-note, “Everything I Do” is too over-familiar for me to offer any kind of reasonable or distant critical analysis of. Even the mocking, perverse cover version by The Fatima Mansions released in the same year was unappealing to me due to the fact that I’d already dissected and considered the original to death.

  85. 85
    Conrad on 6 May 2011 #

    I’ve just you-tubed this and you know it reminds me of Dire Straits. A sort of Romeo and Juliet on steroids.

  86. 86
    Conrad on 6 May 2011 #

    don’t know about rave being the only thing dominating the charts while this was number 1. Grunge got invented while Bryan clung to his denim, and American rock acts suddenly seemed to be taking over.

    Albums released during Bryan’s reign-

    Nirvana, Nevermind
    Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magick
    Guns N Roses, Use Your Illusion I and II
    Pearl Jam, Ten
    Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
    Metallica, Black Album

  87. 87
    weej on 6 May 2011 #

    Bryan Adams, “Singer-songwriter, musician, photographer, social activist,” was born on the 5th November 1959, making him nine years old in the summer of ’69.

  88. 88
    Rory on 6 May 2011 #

    (This is a long digression before a fairly brief comment on the song itself, but it sets the context for my comments on the next few entries, so here goes.)

    1991 was a transitional year for me: I’d moved out of the home I grew up in, gone interstate, started a PhD, moved from a college room to a friend’s spare room to a share house, suspended my PhD so I could do a one-year masters after a late offer came in, driven all the way back home so I could leave my car and all my stuff there, flown from Hobart, to Melbourne, to Bangkok, to Amsterdam (where I wandered around the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum for a couple of days), to London (for the first time in six years, which felt like forever at that age), stayed with relatives for a bit, and finally caught the train up to the town where I would be spending the next nine months.

    I’ve been reading Popular comments long enough to feel a bit reluctant to say which town it was, because I know the baggage it brings; but hey, I was a young Aussie, and we can ignore all of that class stuff when it suits us. So, it was one of those university towns – the ones with the punts. Someone mentioned Terry Waite above; I saw him wandering down the street one day while I was there, not long after his release. Walked past Stephen Hawking once, too.

    So, there I was, newly arrived in Ancient University, in another college room, wondering what came next. Wondering where the “buttery” was, so I could eat. Wondering where the shower was. (It wasn’t. A year of baths lay ahead.) And wondering what I would listen to.

    Through all of these months of personal upheaval and culture shock, music had been a reassurance, a connection to the known, even as my tastes were changing. At the beginning of the year I was discovering Brahms; later, thanks to new flatmates, I was hearing Ziggy-era Bowie and Capitol-era Sinatra for the first time; and a chance purchase of The La’s in a bargain bin opened my ears to what was to come next. But those CDs and tapes were all back in Australia.

    In those days, relocating to the other side of the world was a much bigger deal than it is now. Communicating with home meant writing aerogrammes and waiting a week each way for a reply, or feeding pound coins into a payphone at an ominous rate. My stay was almost over when I saw another postgrad using one of the college Middle Common Room computers to email her parents in NZ, which looked fantastic, but there was no point getting an email account unless my folks had one as well (I got one six months later). Keeping up with news from Australia was pretty much impossible; about all I got from the BBC was the news that our PM had put his arm around the Queen (which led to MCR conversations about republicanism where I was bemused to be asked not if Australia would become a republic – which was taken as a given – but whether Britain should). In those days, the other side of the world really did feel like the other side of the world; I felt more removed from home and family and friends during that year than I have in the past decade of living in Britain again. That’s ubiquitous low-cost global communications networks for you.

    The other thing that must be utterly different for today’s international students is that, in the digital domain at least, there’s no need to leave anything behind. A pocket-sized terabyte USB hard-drive will let you bring everything, assuming you’ve ripped it all or it was digital in the first place. In 1991, even though my music collection was much smaller than it is now, there was no way I was fitting much of it into a 20kg suitcase – so I didn’t even try. I didn’t even bring a walkman or a single mixtape. My first purchases were a portable CD player/tapedeck/radio and a pair of yellow-foam Sennheisers from Richer Sounds, and then I started my music-buying from scratch.

    As a result, just about every CD I bought that year is burned into my brain, starting with the first few from the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street: new albums by Tom Petty (one of his best), Big Country (not their best), and the Pet Shop Boys (greatest hits). I even remember far more of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio than it really deserves. As for what came next… well, that comes next.

    And along with those early purchases, one unexpected but oddly reassuring thread of continuity: the song that had been at number one when I was packing everything into my car in early August was still number one when I was unpacking my suitcase in late September. Even better, the distraction of relocating to the other side of the world meant that I didn’t loathe it with the burning passion that hearing it continuously for 11 or 16 weeks would have kindled.

    I still didn’t think it was all that, though. While I knew some of Adams’s work, he was more to the taste of my brother and some of my friends; the kind of people who loved Bon Jovi. I had a C90 of Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless courtesy of my brother, but this song wasn’t much like those. I was a big Hysteria fan, so the Mutt Lange production should have appealed to me, but here it didn’t. In Popular scoring terms I might have given this a 4 at the time, and that’s what I’ve given it now.

    But I’m still happy to hear it (once, and for the first time in years), thanks to the time it takes me back to. So much good music, and so much else, was just around the corner.

  89. 89

    […] has a go at Bryan Adams’ laboriously titled (Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” which spent […]

  90. 90
    swanstep on 6 May 2011 #

    If anyone’s interested, there’s a nice Onion avclub piece on Hysteria here. The author talks a lot about the shadowy figure of Mutt Lange, comparing him to the character of Swan (from whom I take my own nom-de-online!) in the ’70s cult classic film Phantom of the Paradise. Rather similarly, I always used to mentally blur super-producer Trevor Horn (half-remembered from Buggles videos) with Eldon Tyrell from Blade Runner. Though both Horn and Lange have continued to make hits for people, studio tech has been so democratized in the last two decades that the days of slightly spooky/sinister super-producers whom people hire precisely to blow everybody else away with their superior studio firepower appears to have passed.

  91. 91
    Garry on 6 May 2011 #

    I saw the film – I liked. I remember the song dominating the Australian charts quite distinctly (I was 14) – I didn’t like. I remember the song bored me silly.

    But I mostly I remember Martika’s Love… Thy Will Be Done was, if memory serves me right, number 2 for most of the Adam’s run at #1 (11 weeks). And at the time I felt it would never topple Adams. I longed for it to do so. I didn’t find Martika brilliant, but it was a lot more interesting than Adams bellowing.

    For me it was Robert Palmer vs the Timelords in 1988 all over again but over a longer period of time. Though unlike the Timelods, Martika finally hit the top spot for a solitary week.

    Only to be knocked off prompty by Big Audio Dynamite which briefly restored my faith in pop. :)

  92. 92
    lex on 6 May 2011 #

    I’d forgotten that this single served the public good of keeping Right Said Fred off No 1. “I’m Too Sexy” was one of the first songs I remember viscerally loathing – I think even at the age of 8 I could tell that it was about the most unsexy thing ever. It was bafflingly on all the dance compilations I was starting to buy and I remember the pain of having to forward past it every time all too well.

  93. 93
    Erithian on 6 May 2011 #

    Izzy #77 – “gasping with euphoria on very first hearing” is a great phrase, and reminds me of my similar reaction to a track I heard for the first time towards the end of EID’s run, and which heralds another phenomenon of the times. The track was “Love’s Sweet Exile” by the Manic Street Preachers – being already somewhat older than the band’s main target demographic, I remember the shock on younger colleagues’ faces when I told them I not only liked the Manics but had their first few albums. More on them is a few Popular-years’ time, though.

  94. 94
    hardtogethits on 6 May 2011 #

    The only record ever to spend more than half of its top 75 chart run at number one.

  95. 95
    Mark G on 6 May 2011 #

    Presumably, the six-minute-plus version was for the end credits of the film?

  96. 96
    Blue Straggler on 6 May 2011 #

    iirc it took a dubious marketing ploy from U2 to knock this off (they announced that “The Fly” would only be on sale for a week, or for 3 weeks, or some such thing). When arguably the biggest band in the world still has to resort to slightly underhand tactics, you have to wonder whether Adams’ run might have been even longer.

  97. 97
    hardtogethits on 6 May 2011 #

    @96. You’re right about the ploy, but EID(IDIFY) dropped to #4 – it was on the way out anyway.

  98. 98
    Cumbrian on 6 May 2011 #

    The official line on this was that the label wanted to get 2 singles out prior to Christmas to support the album launch – which was at the end of November, so they pulled it after 3 weeks, in order that they could get Mysterious Ways out.

    I don’t feel like this is a ploy to get a #1 – actually, I think it’s reasonably smart marketing; you’ve got a new album released near Christmas, a time when records should fly off the shelves. Shouldn’t you want more tracks from the album in the public consciousness in order to stimulate sales at what could well be a competitive time?

  99. 99
    MichaelH on 6 May 2011 #

    I was out with Tom and a bunch of other people recently, and this song came up in conversation. The group divided along age lines: all those who were 35 or over rolled their eyes as they relived the misery; all those under – including Lex – put up a spirited defence of its merits, to the surprise (I think) of we older types. Maybe the song wasn’t tainted for them because they don’t have such clear memories of it dragging on and on and on over months of ToTP.

  100. 100
    Wizi on 6 May 2011 #

    I can remember loving the singles from Reckless back in ’85 and years later feeling sad that that Bryan Adams never managed to continue his success.

    Then this came along and I liked it and just willed it to stay at number one. I now like (EID)IDIFY more and more, even though I prefer “Cloud no.9” and another track for which the bunny will keep me quiet for now. (EID)IDIFY goes down very well live, although it is not the most favourite song for Bryan’s regular audiences.

    I did listen to a radio production of Doctor Who and it was set somewhere where the time never progresses from that summer of ’91 and Bryan Adams is actually number one for what seems like forever.

    A nine from me.

  101. 101
    23 Daves on 6 May 2011 #

    #99 – I think another issue here (for me, at least) is that any summer number ones which occurred while I was on my break from school, college or university always somehow seemed inescapable. There’s a whole variety of reasons why this might be the case, but I think it was partly down to the fact that I’d tend to have the radio on a lot more during the daytime, and also time tended to drag a bit because my days weren’t so full. A five-week number one could feel like it had stuck around for double that length of time. A 16 week number one, on the other hand, was pushing matters to the limit.

    Ever since I’ve been working, I’ve barely noticed if a summer number one has had a long stint at the top.

    I also seem to remember that “The ITV Chart Show” had a custom of displaying how long a record had been at Number One, but in the case of “Everything I Do” I think they just completely gave up telling us after the ninth week, almost as if it was too much effort to keep tallying up the score.

  102. 102
    punctum on 6 May 2011 #

    #96: bunny alert

  103. 103
    Steve Mannion on 6 May 2011 #

    It was interesting (but disappointing) how the three longest-running #1s of the 90s all supported Hollywood blockbusters. It also supports the idea that the grandiose ballad was/is the most universally acceptable song type (most likely way to get an extended run…even without film tie-in). I don’t suppose the KLF had ever considered this approach tho.

    It was also interesting that Adams became the second long-established artist of the year to finally achieve their first top 10 hit with a #1.

    Did Adams unexpected success directly inspire Rage’s cover of ‘Run To You’ or would that have come about anyway (it may have been the most recent hit single to have received the dance cover treatment at the time)?

    The full number 2 watch during BA’s reign of terror:

    Heavy D & The Boyz – “Now That We Found Love” (1 week at #2)
    Extreme – “More Than Words” (2 weeks)
    Right Said Fred – “I’m Too Sexy” (6 wks)
    Salt n’ Pepa – “Let’s Talk About Sex” (2 wks)
    The Scorpions – “Wind Of Change” (2 wks)
    2 Unlimited – “Get Ready For This” (1 wk)

    I would’ve preferred all of those to have ousted Adams altho I wouldn’t give any above a 7 personally (these songs in turn kept a number of barn-storming rave hits from climbing higher including ‘Charly’, ‘Move Any Mountain’ and Oceanic’s ‘Insanity’ but I do try not to be too bitter…

    Adams himself gets just 2 (1 point for the middle eight, so often my favourite part of songs…tho that’s really not saying much here).

  104. 104
    Mark G on 6 May 2011 #

    #103, as I say, it’s probably because they have to be long to support the rolling of the (thesedays) very long end credit sequences these blockbuster movies have.

  105. 105
    Steve Mannion on 6 May 2011 #

    Oh I wasn’t referring to the track lengths themselves though Mark G – by longest running I meant most weeks at the top.

  106. 106
    Cumbrian on 6 May 2011 #

    More Than Words is an interesting song. It seems fairly clear to me that the lyrical message of it is “sleep with me or you’re dumped”. I wonder if those who contributed to its chart success interpret the lyrics in the same way?

  107. 107
    Izzy on 6 May 2011 #

    #103: those on their own are a mighty corpus of almost-made-its. I had no idea ‘Wind of Change’ or ‘Get Ready For This’ had to bow the knee here too. I’m put in mind of King Arthur presiding over his nobles, or (less mediaevally) Jose Mourinho keeping a team of egos in check through darker force. I can’t begrudge ‘Everything I Do’ such an epic reign.

  108. 108
    flahr on 6 May 2011 #

    I would have preferred “Wind of Change” to this (and if memory serves Tom likes it too?). It seems to be more aware of its own Bigness and does more to try and fill it.

    “these songs in turn kept a number of barn-storming rave hits from climbing higher including ‘Charly’, ‘Move Any Mountain’ and Oceanic’s ‘Insanity’…”

    And “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, though whether that is the same level of injustice is up to you to decide ;-)

  109. 109
    23 Daves on 6 May 2011 #

    #103 – Of that lot, I only really prefer Right Said Fred and 2 Unlimited’s efforts to “Everything I Do”. I’m not presenting myself as a typical British music consumer here, but it does make it easier to appreciate how it stayed on top for so long.

    “More Than Words” always felt a bit too worthy and dreary to me – although I do remember lots of people (including my Mum) stating “Ooh, just their voices and a guitar! It’s very different and unusual!” which turned me against it slightly. And “Wind of Change” feels like a textbook example of how not to write a rock ballad, moody whistles, grand statements, and chest-beating vocal performance and all. The only thing you can say in its favour is that it’s a bit better than “Belfast Child”.

  110. 110
    AndyPandy on 6 May 2011 #

    Been looking back through this thread hope I’m not too late to comment on earlier posts

    Re 14 & 103 “Rave had more or less faded” I don’t see how you can say that we’re still 6 months from 1992 even starting!And Zoe as “rave” is really pushing it isn’t it.In fact surely “Charly” is the only indisputable rave track in the upper echelons of the pop chart at this time – I mean as danced to at raves, bought by ravers, played on pirates etc. The others Rozalla (‘Queen of Rave’ title notwithstanding)never really ventured of the dancefloors of your Top 40 clubs.
    In 1992 though the pop charts will be far fuller of yer actual pukka rave tackle. Although its disappearance in 1993 as the dance scene completed its fragmentation not least that as hardcore split into
    jungle and happy hardcore was extremely quick when compared to average musical falling out of popularity go

  111. 111
    lex on 6 May 2011 #

    I love love love “Now That We Found Love”, “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Get Ready For This” – the last of which led to 2 Unlimited, of all people, becoming my FIRST EVER FAVOURITE BAND for several years. I couldn’t get enough of that energy. These days it’s SnP that’d be my favourite. HER DATES – HEADS OF STATE, MEN OF TASTE

  112. 112
    fivelongdays on 6 May 2011 #

    The songs that were denied top spot by this would probably all get at least five from me, and a couple would get eights.

    That doesn’t matter.

    16 weeks, 16 weeks, 16 weeks

  113. 113
    Alfred on 6 May 2011 #

    Other terrific pop hits from the summer and fall of ’91:

    D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Summertime
    Heavy D and the Boyz – Now That We Find Love
    Roxette – Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)
    Natural Selection – Do Anything
    Mariah Carey – Emotions
    Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless) and Makin’ Happy

  114. 114
    Tom on 6 May 2011 #

    I do like “Wind Of Change” yeah! I’m quite glad I’m not called upon to justify it though.

  115. 115
    swanstep on 7 May 2011 #

    …Meanwhile, in the nether regions of the charts, Nine Inch Nails bided their time with Head Like A Hole for 4 weeks of (EID)IDIFY’s reign. The song had been out for two years at that point, but IIRC NIN blew up on that first Lollapalooza tour early in 1991 and then the nifty vid. went into high rotation on daytime MTV in the US, as Soundgarden’s Outshined vid. did at about the same time. Neither of these songs did especially well in the charts in the US, again IIRC, but it was obvious that something big was up… In retrospect, it was widely believed that Head Like a Hole had been the biggest ‘near miss’/shoulda-coulda-been-teen-spirit record.

  116. 116

    […] Ewing recently live-blogged his heroic act of listening to Bryan Adam’s “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” 16…, one for each week that it spent atop the UK singles chart during the summer of 1991.  Probably […]

  117. 117
    AndyPandy on 7 May 2011 #

    109/114: I think “Wind of Change” is getting near to about as good as power-ballad can be – and maybe its lifted out of the run of the mill by the fact that with the Scorpions hailing from Germany (and the most momentous of the events that inspired it taking place in that country) that it wasn’t just a cynical exercise, but motivated by genuine excitement and hope in what they’d seen unfold around the Berlin Wall/Eastern Europe less than a year before they recorded it. It so different from their usual generic hard rock stuff that I think that could well be true.

  118. 118
    swanstep on 7 May 2011 #

    Bully for Balladosaurus (if anyone needs a title for their contrarian piece arguing the case for slow, movie-related power ballads).

  119. 119
    hardtogethits on 7 May 2011 #

    #117. So spot on; I don’t (think I) like Wind of Change, but spending some time in Germany in 1991 it unquestionably helped capture the spirit of the times (I couldn’t possibly use the Z word here, could I?). I know it succeeded in expressing, in English, the way many Germans felt positively about their country in 1989-90-91 (although I take care not to generalise too much and I can’t comment on whether there was / is a backlash against it, or parts of the country which liked it less than others etc). Because the band are part of what the song is about – sincerely, genuinely – and not just observing it, the song is head and shoulders above most other social commentary in Pop.

  120. 120
    Mark G on 7 May 2011 #

    Of course you can use the Z word, it’s German after all!

  121. 121
    Andrew Hickey on 7 May 2011 #

    @84 – the reason this didn’t do as well in Canada as Adams’ other records is that the Canadian radio stations have (had?) a quota, whereby a certain percentage of the records they play have to be Canadian in origin. But because Lange and Kamen were British and USian respectively, this didn’t count toward the quota (which was based on songwriting as well as performance). That at least is my memory from a magazine article from the time.

  122. 122
    Snif on 8 May 2011 #

    >> it unquestionably helped capture the spirit of the times

    And David Hasselhoff didn’t?

  123. 123
    abaffledrepublic on 8 May 2011 #

    #2: the EID phenomenon was certainly written about in Punch magazine, which celebrated its 150th anniversary by folding a few months later.

    ‘Wind of Change’: the son of my mother’s German friend had this long before it was released here. By the time I knew about it, he’d got so sick of it that he’d snapped his copy in half. I’ve no idea if that view was representative of Germany though.

    The film tie-in may be one reason why this song had such an extraordinary run at the top, but I’m not sure it’s the only one, after all the last half dozen entries on Popular have been from films or shows, some of them barely watched by all accounts, and none of them had this record’s staying power. More likely, the success of these records (EID in particular) was down to a simple lack of competition, that it only stayed at the top for so long because something had to be there. Despite being the year that Nevermind, Blue Lines and Screamadelica were released, 1991 felt like the doldrums at the time. Grunge wouldn’t break through until the last month of the year and as already noted, the bands who had done much to make the previous couple of years interesting had disappeared from view for various reasons. The public were left with a handful of established superstar acts and very little beneath that level. When Cathy Dennis and the godawful Kenny Thomas were being touted as pop stars, you knew things were desperate.

    If anything livened up that year’s charts, then rave was surely it. As noted upthread, no rave tunes were in the runners-up spot while EID was at the top. That happened several times during 1992, and doubtless they will be discussed on Popular when we get there. Plenty of hardcore tracks hit the charts though, and even those that didn’t must have felt like huge hits given the stadium-sized crowds at raves. If the dance indies had had the marketing clout of the major labels, the top 40 might have consisted purely of rave for months on end, and it’s arguable that some of the non-charting rave tracks from 1991-93, were even more brilliant than those which did make the grade.

    EID itself: 4 feels about right. It probably soundtracked a good few wedding first dances that summer.

  124. 124

    My old boss at Wire the late Richard Cook wrote the Punch music column for quite a long time — so it was actually often pretty good, unlike any of the rest of the magazine by then.

  125. 125
    Billy Smart on 8 May 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: Bryan Adams performed ‘Everything I Do’ on the Top Of The Pops transmitted on July 11 1991. Also in the studio that (rather strange) week were; DJH featuring Stefy, OMD, Billy Bragg and Bros. Bruno Brookes was the host.

    Towards the end of Adams chart-topping reign, Top of the Pops undergoes its greatest change, leaving Television Centre to be recorded at Elstree, replacing Radio DJs as presenters with some particularly anonymous young people (Tony Dortie, Mark Franklin, Claudia Simon et al), and insisting on live vocals from performers, leading to especially memorable appearances from Nirvana and others.

  126. 126
    Billy Smart on 8 May 2011 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: The groover from Vancouver doesn’t appear in British TV studios all that often;

    AL MURRAY’S HAPPY HOUR: with Paul Daniels, Bryan Adams, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Serkis (2008)

    FRIDAY NIGHT’S ALL WRIGHT: with Gordon Ramsay, Dennis Rodman, Gwyneth Strong, Shelby Lynne, Lisa Loud, Bryan Adams, Lenny Biege (1999)

    LIVE FROM ABBEY ROAD: with Gary Dyson (Interviewer), Bryan Adams, Justin Currie, Ben Harper (2008)

    THE NATIONAL LOTTERY LIVE: with Bob Monkhouse, Alan Dedicoat (The Voice of the Balls), Bryan Adams, Mystic Meg, Peter Gardner, Ricky Hards (1996)

    PARKINSON: with Joan Collins, Jeremy Clarkson, William Hague, Bryan Adams (1998)

    SATURDAY LIVE: with Mark Morrison, Bryan Adams (1996)

    T•F•I• FRIDAY: with Will Macdonald, Andrew the Barman, Bryan Adams, Melvyn Bragg, Chris Rea, Shed Seven, Skunk Anansie, Sharleen Spiteri (1996)

    THE TUBE: with Jools Holland, Paula Yates, Bryan Adams, Lucinda Lambton, Tim Healy, Fine Young Cannibals, Muriel Gray (1985)

    WOGAN: with Bryan Adams, Chris Tarrant, Simon Forbes (1991)

    WOGAN: with Bryan Adams, Donald Pleasence, Emo Phillips, Les Dennis (1991)

  127. 127
    Billy Smart on 8 May 2011 #

    Michael Howard chose this as his favourite record of all time on Desert Island Discs.

  128. 128
    hardtogethits on 8 May 2011 #

    #122. What?

  129. 129
    Izzy on 9 May 2011 #

    #125-6: I remember Bryan turning up in the audience at totp one time, and barging aside a presenter during a link, all while wearing a Chelsea shirt. He was never announced and you couldn’t even see him that clearly, so it seemed a bit odd, especially as he didn’t have a record in the charts at the time iirc. Why would he go to Elstree to do that?!

  130. 130
    Izzy on 9 May 2011 #

    #123: doubtless everyone feels the same about their own era, but I first found music press music in 1991 and it seemed anything but the doldrums to me – plenty of genuine indie classic albums that year (the ones you mention, tfc, mbv, st et), awesome shoegaze eps dropping fortnightly, tons of wonderful dance singles.

    In retrospect it was always the latter that affected me most and that I’d like to hear now, so I do resent spending years in the music press ghettoes for years afterwards. The dance stuff they covered tended for obvious reasons towards po-faced albums acts rather than cartoonish singles merchants, which is a shame but I guess maybe shows that reading is not always the best reaction to great tunes.

    1991 does seem like a rather unassuming period, compared to what came after and what had just been – there seems more of a spectrum of possibility for that kind of music press music, in the absence of a grand narrative. But then that’s probably only apparent if you were there to feel the stuff that’s been all forgotten now. Still, if britpop allowed for these various nooks, I don’t remember them.

  131. 131
    Steve Williams on 9 May 2011 #

    As #125 points out, another thing that emphasised its marathon run was that Adams only performed it on Top of the Pops once, so for its entire run it was represented by either the same performance or the video – and when Pops was revamped in October, they couldn’t show the performance anymore either, because it was on the old set, so you just got the video over and over again instead, which made it seem number one for longer.

    1991 was a very strange year musically because, as I mentioned when commenting on Chesney Hawkes, there were virtually no teen idols around – New Kids On The Block, Kylie and Jason were all going down the dumper, and at the Smash Hits Awards there were prizes for Marky Mark and Extreme. You ended up with Smash Hits promoting the likes of Jesus Jones and EMF, as well as the bog standard likes of Kenny Thomas. So there was nobody around to stop Adams, really.

    Incidentally I dunno why every wedding DJ now seems to play Summer of 69, I was at a do the other week and said to the person I was sitting next to that DJs in these places always play Summer of 69, only for him to put it on thirty seconds later. I read it was on the playlist for the Royal Wedding reception! I wouldn’t mind, but it’s undanceable.

  132. 132
    Pete on 17 May 2011 #

    It’s fair to say that whilst this was number 1 the remainder of the 80s quietly snucked out the back door whilst the 90s filtered in dribs and drabs.

  133. 133
    swanstep on 18 May 2011 #

    Just noticed that Roxette’s 1989 hit ‘The Look’ has an (ungrammatical) line in its chorus:

    When everything I’ll ever do, I do for you.

    Just coincidence I suppose.

  134. 134

    […] of this is shamelessly ‘borrowed’ (inspired by) Tom Ewing’s fantastic live-blog (found here: http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2011/05/bryan-adams-everything-i-do-i-do-it-for-you/) in which he listened to Brian Adams’ ‘Everything I Do’ sixteen times in a row, one for every […]

  135. 135
    The Lurker on 20 May 2011 #

    #87 – Bryan Adams has claimed that the 69 in “Summer of 69” does not refer to the year, which puts a slightly different spin on it being a wedding favourite.

  136. 136

    […] BRYAN ADAMS – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” | FreakyTrigger. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  137. 137
    Sonb on 21 Mar 2012 #

    One word. Urgh. Kevin Costner and this sickly number 1. Not a great combination. Looking at all the other great summertime music released at the time that Alfred pointed out:

    D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Summertime
    Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless) and Makin’ Happy

    I think most of the purchasers of this was the entire female population in the UK. It touches something in the female psyche I guess (and I am a woman too).

  138. 138
    Nik Krohn on 30 Apr 2012 #

    Are you every thing do it? Nice post.
    Thanks for your nice post…

  139. 139
    Mark G on 30 Apr 2012 #

    Yes. We are everything do it. Thanks for noticing.

  140. 140
    Ricardo on 7 Jan 2013 #

    Why only now I felt the need to comment on this, I don’t know! But there you go.
    With the benefit of hindsight, one can easily claim this song was the Power Ballad Era’s one last big shot at the limelight a few months before That Album With The Naked Baby Under The Pool Water changed everything.
    OK, so a lot of you will claim the whole power ballad thing never really hit in the UK the way it did in America or even some other Continental Europe countries. Fair enough. In fact, I’d wager that “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” might even be the only such member of its species troubling Popular‘s narrative. Still, one cannot help to think that this is another case where a song’s mammoth success is not, in any shape or form, a new beginning, but rather the very peak of Something and that the road marked Down is the only way possible after it. Needless to say, Bryan hasn’t exactly hit such heights since then, and power ballads as unashamedly big as this started becoming a scarcity, probably as a result of a Where To Go Next after such giddy heights.

  141. 141
    xyzzzz__ on 24 Mar 2013 #

    At least you were spared from reviewing this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_for_Love_%28song%29

  142. 142
    DanH on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Although this song only spent 7 weeks at #1 here in the States, we had a motley crew of #2’s behind it…

    “Right Here, Right Now” – Jesus Jones – along with EMF, our only big hit from the early ’90s British rock scene

    “P.A.S.S.I.O.N” – Rhythm Syndicate – who?

    “Every Heartbeat” – Amy Grant – it’s sad that I remember so many Amy Grant songs from that period. So much so that when I first heard “Speak Like a Child,” I started singing the EH chorus

    “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” – Lenny Kravitz – the closest he ever got to a U.S. #1

    “Fading Like a Flower” – Roxette – don’t remember that one

  143. 143
    Steviebab on 22 Nov 2013 #

    I hated this song so much. Partly for its blandness, partly for its success and longevity but mainly for what I saw as some kind of self-perpetuating endorsement. People thought it must be good because it remained at number one so long. It wasn’t. At the time I disliked my job and I worked with a girl who (along with her boyfriend) bought all the number one singles, whether they liked them or not. I was especially opposed to this populist approach. Why buy stuff you don’t like? At least this being No. 1 for so long saved them some money.

  144. 144
    mapman132 on 24 Aug 2014 #

    One of the three 90’s megahits that was huge almost everywhere in the Western world (since they’re no longer bunnied I can say the others were CITW97 and MHWGO). In the US, EID was #1 for seven weeks, a quite impressive accomplishment at the time that’s been obscured by the change in Hot 100 methodology a few months later that caused lengthy stays at #1 to become commonplace, a situation that persists to this day.

    During the mid-to-late 80’s and into 1990-91, the top of the Hot 100 was pretty much a revolving door, not quite as much as the UK chart today, but 1 or 2 weeks per #1 was the norm. 3 weeks at #1 was an accomplishment, 4 weeks meant you had one of the biggest hits of the year. At the beginning of 1991, the 4-week barrier had not been broken since “Like A Virgin” six years prior (seemingly forever for a teenager like myself). I sometimes referred to this as the “We Are The World” curse: since the famous charity record had been deposed after just 4 weeks, the chart gods/Billboard/whoever had apparently decreed that no record shall ever surpass that mark again. Or something like that. Anyway, in the late spring of 1991, a record came along that had all the makings of a possible end to the curse. No, not EID, I refer to the much-hyped first ballad by dance diva Paula Abdul: “Rush Rush”. And in a tidal wave of airplay, sales, and great publicity, it quickly raced to the top of the chart and racked up one week after another until the magic 5th week came and the curse was broken. Avid chartaholic that I was, I still remember exactly where I was when I found out. Ironically, “Rush Rush” is almost completely forgotten today. I haven’t heard it on the radio in years, and references to the recording career of the future American Idol judge focus entirely on her Forever Your Girl-era dance hits. Just as well, as RR wouldn’t be 1991’s top hit after all….

    I first saw Robin Hood in the theater in June that summer while vacationing with my family at the New Jersey shore (not at all like that horrible MTV show which hopefully hasn’t crossed the ocean, btw). I actually enjoyed the film despite the cheesy dialogue and Kevin Costner’s infamously bad attempt at a British accent. As the credits rolled I got my first exposure to EID. My sister mentioned it was the new Bryan Adams song. I didn’t give it much thought at the time as everyone knew BA was a has-been. In fact, often “Heaven” was referred to as his only number one hit with the clear implication that he wouldn’t come close to another one.

    Of course, EID would soon debut on the Hot 100 and race to the top in a then-astonishing five weeks – just two weeks after “Rush Rush” in fact (EMF’s “Unbelievable” was the interregnum). And it quickly became apparent an even more impressive run at #1 was about to happen: 5, then 6, then 7 weeks: longest run since the legendary (to me) 8 weeks of “Every Breath You Take” in 1983. The fact that it kept a record-tying five songs at #2 underlined how impressive this was in an otherwise revolving door chart climate. Soon after it was deposed at US#1 (by Paula coincidentally) came word of its record-breaking performance in the UK – the UK chart doesn’t make the news here that often, but this time it did. On the American Top 40 year-end countdown, where EID was #1 of course, Shadoe Stevens made note of both the US and UK chart runs when announcing the song. I think I still have this on tape somewhere.

    As it turned out, changes were afoot in the Hot 100. A new chart methodology called Soundscan was about to be introduced that would count individual single sales and plays as they happened making everything much more accurate. No longer would the chart rely on easily manipulated playlists and shop-compiled sales reports. Aside from dramatically exposing the deficiencies of the previous charts, the new Hot 100 would also end the revolving door chart. Top 40 and top 10 hits would be much harder to earn, and long stays at #1 would become the new normal. A test chart had been compiled using the new methodology for a good six months or so before it became official in December 1991. Supposedly EID spent 17 weeks at #1 on this test chart which would still be a record today. Instead it would fall to Boyz II Men, then Whitney, then B2M again teaming with Mariah to set the new benchmarks for length of stay atop the Hot 100. One record EID still holds though: most competitors held at #2 (tied with “Theme From A Summer Place” from 1960.

    So what was its appeal then? Like I said, it didn’t register with me much when I first heard it at the end of Robin Hood. RH was a popular movie, but it wasn’t even the most popular of 1991, let alone an all-time great. As mentioned many times on this thread, it did have weak competition (at least by sales, not necessarily quality), so that helped. It did get a lot of request airplay on love song shows in 91, but it seems to have receded to the background in the years since – I don’t think it would make many lists of All-Time Great Love Songs today. Then again, I’ve heard it at many weddings, occasionally as first dance song, so maybe I’m wrong. As I said at the very top of the post, it crossed many cultural barriers too: not just a UK phenomenon like the 15-week #1 from 1994 that missed the US top 40, or the various Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey songs that were much more popular in the US than elsewhere. And finally, I must admit I kind of like it too: not love it – there’s very few love songs I truly love. But I guess it just became one of those familiar yet comfortable sounds during its moment of glory. So, what the heck, 6/10.

  145. 145
    hectorthebat on 28 Mar 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Bob Merserau (Canada) – The Top 100 Canadian Singles of All Time (2010) 63
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)
    Grammy Awards (USA) – Record of the Year Nominee

  146. 146
    Kinitawowi on 14 Jan 2016 #

    Fuckin’ hell, not Alan Rickman too.

    It really isn’t a good time to be around 69. RIP

  147. 147
    enitharmon on 14 Jan 2016 #

    I was just wondering where if anywhere that ought to go. Thanks Kinitawowi

    I was lucky enough to know Alan before he was famous as his long-term partner Rima, whom he married finally in 2003, was a good friend in my Notting Hill days and we often found ourselves at the same parties. A lovely man with no front whatsoever.

    It’s been a bad week and it’s not over yet.

  148. 148
    Auntie Beryl on 16 Mar 2019 #

    Quite a bit of discussion about More Than Words, without anyone clocking it’s a song about requesting, erm, oral relief.

  149. 149
    Andrew Farrell on 17 Mar 2019 #

    I do like the idea of a song where the text is so much about sex that the sub-text is also about sex.

  150. 150
    Sara Downes on 25 Apr 2021 #

    I think I prefer all of the singles held off the top spot, to this. Adams would get a 3/10 from me.

  151. 151
    Gareth Parker on 29 Apr 2021 #

    I must admit if you’d asked me many years ago this would have been a dead cert 1/10, but I will go with a 3/10 here; not much of an upgrade granted! I feel that better records stalled at #2 during this 16 week reign of terror.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)

Required

Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page