Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
In the Summer of '69, Bryan was 9 years old. He told us: "It's a very simple song about looking back on the summertime and making love. For me, the '69 was a metaphor for making love not about the year. I had someone in Spain ask me once why I wrote the first line 'I had my first real sex dream'... I had to laugh." (Check out our interview with Bryan Adams
Adams wrote this with the songwriter Jim Vallance, who wrote several Aerosmith songs and often collaborated with Adams. On his website
, Vallance explains that the song went through a number of changes, and it was originally called "Best Days Of My Life," with the line "Summer Of '69" appearing just once in the lyrics. Vallance feels that the Jackson Browne song "Running On Empty
," which contains the lyrics, "In '69 I was 21," was a subconscious influence on their writing, and that Adams may have been influenced by the movie Summer Of '42
Adams had a few hits before this was released, his biggest being "Straight From The Heart
," but this song and the rest of the Reckless
album made him a star. Vallance reflects: "Looking back, I think 'Summer Of '69' was Bryan and I at our best. We hadn't had any real 'success' yet... that would come when Reckless
went to #1 on the charts and sold 12 million copies... but that was a year away. In January 1984 Bryan and I were still writing songs for all the right reasons, for the pure love and joy of it. We had nothing to prove, and even less to lose. We wrote songs to please ourselves. Everything started to unravel after Reckless
According to Vallance, many of the lyrics were inspired by other songs:
"I got my first real six string" - from Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero" and the line, "I bought a beat up six-string in a second-hand store."
"Standin' on your mama's porch, you told me that you'd wait forever" - Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road
" and the line, "The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays."
"When you held my hand, I knew that it was now or never" - The Beatles "I Want To Hold Your Hand
Both Adams and Vallance had bands in high school, which provided fodder for the lyrics about the band that broke up. In the line, "Jimmy quit, Jody got married," Jody was Jody Perpik, who was Adams' sound man. He got married around the time this song was coming together, and he appeared in the video with his wife - in a car with a "Just Married" sign.
Bryan always performs this at his concerts - he tends to start singing the first line, and then the audience takes over for the first chorus.
This was included in the video Reckless, which includes six video clips of songs from the album. The same woman is featured in all the clips, sort of like a mini-movie over the six videos. (thanks, Nicola - Christchurch, New Zealand)
Bowling For Soup did a cover of this on their album Lets Do It For Johnny!. It's very similar but sped up a bit. Other artists to cover the song include WC Experience, MxPx, Janet Theory and Jive Bunny. (thanks, leigha - New York, NY)
In a 2009 survey for Brazilian rum Sagatiba, this was found to be the UK's favourite summer song of all time, narrowly beating Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime
Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"
"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."
They Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"
The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.