Cuts Like A Knife
Recording Artist: Bryan Adams
Release Date: 1983 / February 19
Songs By Jim Vallance: Cuts Like A Knife
The Best Was Yet To Come
Don't Leave Me Lonely
I'm Ready
Let Him Know
The Only One
Take Me Back
This Time
What's It Gonna Be?
Charts: #8 - Billboard Album Chart / June 1983 (89 weeks on chart)
#21 - UK Chart / 1983?
Certification: Gold Album Award USA (500,000 sales) 1983
1x Platinum USA (1 million sales) Aug. 17, 1983
Gold Album Award Canada (50,000 sales) 1983
1x Platinum Canada (100,000 sales) 1983
Gold Album Award Australia (35,000 sales) 2004
World: Approximately 2 million sales
Comments:
Bryan on the set of the
"Cuts Like A Knife" video
"Cuts Like A Knife" was Bryan Adams' break-through album.  The title track continues to be one of his more enduring concert favourites, while the album's first single, "Straight From The Heart", co-written by Bryan and our friend Eric Kagna, is one of the better ballads from Bryan's 25-year recording career (it reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1983).

"This Time" and "The Best Was Yet To Come" were also well received, but really, Adams and I hadn't yet hit our stride as writers, and the rest of the songs are merely adequate (a year later on "Reckless" we wouldn't have given them a second glance).

There was one more surprise on "Cuts Like A Knife". Bryan and his band delivered a rockin' performance on "I'm Ready" -- but for me, the song didn't particularly stand out.  Then, nearly 15 years later, Bryan re-worked "I'm Ready" into a beautiful ballad, with help from arranger-producer Patrick Leonard.  The new version appears on Bryan's 1997 "MTV Unplugged" CD.  "I'm Ready" is now one of my favourite co-writes from my years with Bryan.
 
 
 
The "Cuts Like A Knife" album achieved "platinum" status in the USA (more than a million sales) in August 1983, and A&M Records threw a party to celebrate. Jeff Gold, assistant to A&M President Gil Friesen, was given the task of organizing the event. 

A few months before, the video for the album's title track had been filmed in an empty indoor swimming pool at the "Hollywood Athletic Club". Built on Sunset Boulevard in 1924, it was once the tallest builiding in Los Angeles.  It's now designated an historic site.
 
The pool has been drained and out-of-use for several decades. Jeff Gold thought it would be the perfect location for Bryan's "platinum album" party.  And it was!

Drinks and appetizers were served, and for the first hour everyone just stood around chatting.  As the dinner hour approached, in keeping with the "pool theme", the chefs fired up several large barbecues and began preparing the main course.  Being an indoor pool, the smoke from the barbecues rose to the ceiling where it began accumulating in rather large quantities, eventually descending into the pool area where the guests were gathered.  A few moments later we were all forced to evacuate, hacking and coughing, and finish the party outside in the parking lot!
 
The platinum album party for "Cuts Like A Knife", held in the empty swimming pool used for the video shoot >
 
The above photo was taken during the "pool party" (before the barbecues were lit!).  Left to right:

Lance Freed: President of Almo-Irving and Rondor Music, A&M's publishing wing.  Lance's father Alan Freed was a 1950's Philadelphia DJ, credited with coining the phrase "Rock 'n Roll".

Charlie Minor: The flamboyant head of promotion at A&M Records, it was Charlie's job to encourage radio programmers to add A&M artists to their play-lists.  In 1995 Charlie was murdered, allegedly by a jealous girlfriend.

Jeff Gold: Assistant to A&M president Gil Friesen.  I didn't have a great deal of contact with Jeff, but I recall him being a really nice fellow.

Bruce Allen: Bryan's manager since 1979.  Bruce is smart, abrasive, opinionated and fiercely competitive.  Everything a manager should be.

Gil Friesen: President of A&M Records.

Jim Vallance: Little-known Canadian songwriter.

Gerry Lacoursiere: Chairman and CEO of A&M-Canada, Gerry gave Bryan his first recording contract.   Gerry retired in 1997 and now lives in Florida.

Bryan Adams: Canadian singer. Recipient of indoor-barbecue platinum album party.
 
 
 
 
In 1983 Bryan toured extensively in support of his "Cuts Like A Knife" album , including one hundred U.S. dates with Journey, a cross-Canada tour, concerts in Japan, and a six-week, 11 country solo tour of Europe ... 283 days in all.
 
 
In January 1984 Bryan and I settled in to write songs for "Reckless", the follow-up to "Cuts Like A Knife". With the tour behind them, Bryan's band members dispersed.  Drummer Frankie LaRoca returned to his home-town of New York to record with the group Scandal.

Then, out of the blue, in February 1984 Bryan was invited to open for "The Police" on the final leg of their Synchronicity tour (Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia). Three of Bryan's band-members lived in Vancouver and were readily available, but drummer LaRoca was in New York, mid-album with Scandal, and couldn't break away. Bryan was desperate for a drummer. 

I had played drums on all of Bryan's demo recordings. Bryan knew I was familiar with the arrangements and, if required, could substitute for drummer LaRoca with minimal rehearsal. I auditioned and got the job!
Writing songs for "Reckless" Spring 1984
 
After a few days of rehearsal we flew from Vancouver to Hawaii for a concert at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on February 25, 1984.

After that it was an 8-hour overnight Quantas flight to New Zealand where we performed for a large outdoor audience at Western Springs Stadium, near Auckland (February 29). The day of the Auckland show Bryan and I went to the beach with Sting.  Sting accepted an offer to "para-sail" (where the rider is strapped into a harness and suspended from a parachute towed behind a boat). Unfortunately the wind picked up dramatically, and there was some difficulty getting Sting back down. He was forced to remain airborne for more than an hour, and I think he was somewhat rattled by the experience (although not as rattled as Bryan a year later when his parachute got tangled in his legs after jumping from an airplane. The emergency chute opened after a 24-second unplanned free-fall).
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu
 
 
The Police
The final two Police performances were in Sydney and Melbourne (March 2 and 4, 1984) with 50,000 and 60,000 people in attendance, respectively. It was an amazing experience, one that I'll never forget!

Most remarkable of all was the opportunity to see The Police perform "up close". For each of the four concerts I stood side-stage, less than 20 feet from the band. They were absolutely phenomenal ... I've never seen anything like it! They were tight, energetic, powerful, and the performances were as close to perfect as humanly possible.

Four years previously Adams and I had seen The Police perform for a few hundred people at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (November 16, 1979). It was early in their career, between the first and second albums. They were good then, but now they were a major act at the top of their game, performing as a group for one of the very last times.

The Police re-formed in 1986 for three Amnesty International performances, but Melbourne was the last show of their last official tour. Backstage, following the performance, The Police were presented with a large "end-of-tour" cake. Sting started to make a speech, then paused mid-sentence and dumped the entire cake on Stewart's head. Stewart and Andy grabbed handfuls of cake and smeared Sting's face, and a brief food-fight ensued.  It was hard to believe the rumours -- if they were true -- that the band were barely speaking to one another and were looking forward to going their separate ways.


After a 23-year hiatus The Police toured once again.  As luck would have it, the first show of the 2007 tour took place in my home-town of Vancouver, on May 28.  As a result, I attended the last show of their previous tour in 1984, and the first show of their new tour.
 
 
 
Reviews:
Bryan Adams's second major-label release, CUTS LIKE A KNIFE, is a real step forward from his debut, rocking harder and swaggering more brashly than before. But mainly it is the solidification of the songwriting team of Adams and Jim Vallance that is most evident here. They deliver a round of readymade FM rock anthems, including the mid-tempo "This Time" and the tough yet sensitive title track, which greatly benefited from an MTV video portraying the brooding Adams in a black leather jacket. Adams also had a big hit with the earnest ballad, "Straight From the Heart." Here Adams shows off his far-reaching appeal. His brand of hard rock was brash and basic enough to win over the average Bic-igniting rock concert-goer, and with his wounded, rough-hewn look, he had what it took to be a rock heartthrob. Adams's voice has the timbre of Rod Stewart and the soulful, defiant delivery of Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen, but he's always a lot less down in the mouth than those singers. Though he gets a bit wistful on "The Best Was Yet to Come" Adams's youthful but experienced voice presents a younger version of roots rock without the complicated subtext - MTV website review
 
 
With one eye on production values and the other on the bottom line, Bryan Adams has crafted a flashy third album that's more a carefully constructed shot at the big time than essential rock & roll - Errol Somay, Rolling Stone Magazine
 
 
 
  Proceed to the next album, "Reckless"