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Summer Of '69 by Bryan Adams

Album: RecklessReleased: 1984Charted:
5
42
  • 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."
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Comments: 67

First-ever interview with the girl in this video, including what she's doing now and never-published pics: http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-girl-in-video-summer-of-69-1985-and.htmlMarc - -, Md
This is one of the best songs of all time, it references things you know what I mean, its like we didn't start the fire or we built this city or american pie, its just a great songAdam - York, Pa
I love the debate here about this song's meaning. Like many artists, I believe Bryan Adams enjoys the fsct that the meaning is not perfectly clear, or can be interpreted in different ways. It's part of the greatness of the song because it shows that there's a connection between artist and audience, or more precisely, many connections.Rick - Boston, Ma
"I think 'Summer of '69' -- I think it's timeless because it's about making love in the summertime. There is a slight misconception it's about a year, but it's not. '69' has nothing to do about a year, it has to do with a sexual position... At the end of the song the lyric says that it's me and my baby in a 69 (sexual position). You'd have to be pretty thick in the ears if you couldn't get that lyric".

Bryan Adams, 2008
Megan - Derby, United Kingdom
Ah...doesn't everyone have a summer of 69? I love this song,just a great feel good song and it always always takes me back to my favorite summer.Sara - Union City, Tn
I love this songs, really I love all Bryan Adams' songs!
It's one of my favorite songs!
Ivonne - México, Mexico
i do not believe this song is sexual AT ALL. and btw, I LOVE THIS SONG! its one of my fav songs of all time! ^_^Valerie - None Of Ur Buisness, Bc
I like this song very much. as much that i hear this song several times a dayPolo - Dhaka, Bangladesh
I liked this video, with the playfulness of youths and the constant changing from black & white to color....the song rocks too!Michael - San Diego, Ca
Hmm... Scott from Boston? That is very analytical and it sounds like that could be very true; I have no actual verification, but that is a thought. Because Bryan Adams would have been only 9 or 10 years old during the Summer of '69, it is unlikely that that was the actual year, but I have trouble believing that it would be in reference to the sexual position. This song is really sbout finding a love for music. I would argue that the girl he talks about may actually be a new found musical passion.
This is my favorite song of all time, but I couldn't tell you why. I think it's because of his descriptive details and his use of many different elements thrown together into an overall theme.
Let me break it down:
In the first verse, he remembers his first real musical experience, how he tried to pursue it, but the others weren't as passionate as he was.
In the second verse, he talks about getting into the real worl, having to work for some money, and in doing so, meeting a lover that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
In the third verse, he again remembers his memories as kids who were just living to live.
The song is really about looking back and remembering all the times that were worthy of rememberance. I don't think that that has anything to do with 69 being sexual. Quite frankly, maybe he used that year becuase the syllables fit into the line. Who knows?
Jaclyn - Buffalo, Ny
My old man used to be friends with bryan adams. He helped produce some of his first rock videos, I think run to you is one of them, i was named after this guy, I dont know what the songs about thoughBrian - Vancouver, Canada
There's no way this song's about sex. Why do people think every song is related to sex or drugs? Also, I heard the line "played it 'til my fingers bled" is a reference to The Rolling Stones' song "Let It Bleed" which was released in '69 and got its title from Keith Richards' fingers bleeding during a jam session. Can anyone verify this?Scott - Boston, Ma
the young girl in the video to this song, is a english actress called lysette anthony who starred in various tv productions.Jeff - Liverpool, England
All of you who say the 69 refers to sexual positions, you're wrong. I mean, the summer of a sexual position just doesn't sound right. Also, look at the lyrics. Oh, when i look back now, the SUMMER seemed to last forever, and if i had the chose, Yeah i'd want to be there, those were the beat DAYS of my life. All those words in upper case meant it can't be a sexual positions. Look at the video. it starts in black in white becuase they didn't have colour vidoes back then to give it more of an impact, then goes to colour for the 80's. Also, look it the police car. Old fashioned. Cars. Old fashioned. and the drive in. you go to the theatres now, not the drive in.Luke - Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
Hey why so much commotion over the lyrics.It is a beautiful song and songs are never written just in a single stretch.They are written ,fine tuned and set in music,revised and fine tuned.That is how production of songs goes about.

The song sure does reflect childhood reminisces of a person while in may be high school.There it fits well.It might be possible Bryan was echoing the experience of teenage.69 migh have been rounded figure to fit musically in the composition.I dont think song would have been rhythimical with summer 71 ,summer 84 or summer 75.It is also possible the author of song might have some incidents related to year 69 or some other meaning.So how does it matter?

It is unfortunate why the song wordings are attached to its singer or writer anyway?Did he ever tell it was his autobiogrpahy?

Stop wild guesses please and enjoy the thrill of teen age and school nostalgia.That is all. There is nothing in the song that is bad or offensive.
All these talsk by artists are for publicity .After all its business baby. The music could as well be abit less raucous and little mellowed.Still it is great number and will remain so till teenage remains and schools remain on this earth.Well done Bryan.
Prof R K Gupta
Jodhpur-India
Prof R K - Jodhpur, India
Well, for those who mention that 69 refers to the sexual position, I think you are wrong, and I have a site to prove this... Before making ad lib comments, its usually good to check out the song...please see here:

http://www.jimvallance.com/01-music-folder/songs-folder-may-27/pg-song-emilys-toybox.html
Shaun - Europe, England
Yep always thought it was strange, but looking at this and listening again, OK yes see the pointTricia - Edinburgh, Scotland
I don't see why people are so offended by people saying what they think this song is about. I don't see why it's such a big deal what it's about. If you like the song, listen to it; don't sit around b*tching about what other people say it's about.A - Victoria, Canada
it is a gr8 song n always remain one....no matter wat meaning people attach to it....as a matter of concern the theme clearly goes in favour of the wave of nostalgia...!
summer of '69 rock the world
-Tushar India
Tushar - Jaipur, India
Hi there,
people here who said that the song is about "69" position ARE SO RIGHT! Bryan always admit it, so I don't know why some people get offended here by knowing it!
Take a look at Bryan Adams official website(www.bryanadams.com), there is an interview section where he tells everything about this song, he also said that once he told this story to a journalist in a radio interview and she blushed and said to him"I'll never play this song again"
So believe it, the son is in fact about 69 sexual position!And it's such a lovely song
Anne Gabrielle - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Wow! I sincerely love this song, and I don't care if it's about sex or not... So many famous songs are about it... Well, all I'm gonna say is that B.A did a good job to make at least, one of his songs, enter History just because his words may have a hidden sense...Anne-christine - NoumÃ?a, France
Maybe Bryan wished he was older in 1969, so thats why he said that.Lindsey - Erie, Pa
I registered just because I was so outraged by the very first statement. This song was about the summer of 1969. Bryan Adams didn't write the song and his partner on the song was nineteen in 1969. That's where they got the title. It was a joke at the concert. I was six years old when I went to my first Bryan Adams concert. It was a joke. Don't taint a good song. For shame, for shame.Daniela - Woodbridge, Canada
Maybe Bryan WAS only 9 years old in 1969 BUT, maybe this stuff happened to him in 1979 (when he was 19, which would make more sense) and he just changed it to '69 because it fit with the musicality and the amount of syllables. Plus "Back in the summer of seventy-nine just sounds stupid." Just a thought.Brandon - Peoria, Il
Well, if the guy who co-wrote the song says it's not about sex, I'm gonna have to think that it's not about sex. Jim Valance, you rule. This song is a true classic.Andy - Arlington, Va
this song cannot be about sex. read the lyrics, it cannot be about sex.Ct - Br, La
When Bryan sings "me and my baby in a 69" he is in fact referring to an Austin A69, a popular car of the time. I doubt that there would have been much room in a 69 for a 69 as they were very small cars. Hope this clears up the mystery.
- Mick, Leeds, UK
Michael Wilson - Leeds, England
This song is terrible..i cant believe any of you would even listen to this... i mean seriously, its about the 69 position!! okay i'm just kiddding....i love this song and i never thought of the 69 position until i had to do a report on this song for psychology. i read through forums like this and realized that a lot of people are thinking the WRONG thing about this song...he added the "this song is not about the year 1969 at all" just to get the crowd going..dont think so hard!Krista - Santa Fe, Nm
The first few times I heard this song it was just really annoying to me, but after awhile of hearing it on the radio it started to grow on me. JUst recently, my friend downloaded a summer of '69 ringtone onto his phone. It so happened that when i was in the car with him we kept hearing the song on the radio. So whenever his phone would ring when I was with him I would start singing the song(just being my cheesy self). I am 14 years old and I just found out about this stupid 69 position...I don't look at the song the same way anymore...WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE SONGS WITH HIDDEN MASSAGES. this isn't right even if it is just one line in the song, it still changes the meaning.Ben - La, Ca
You're right, at 3 minutes in you can hear him say "me and my baby in a 69"!! This totally changes the song's meaning for me after all this time... how can I ever live with myself ever again!Benny - Melbourne, Australia
read that Bryan Adams wrote the song with Jim Valance, who DID grow up during 1969. Y'all have to get your minds out of the gutter! Yes, "Me and my baby in a 69" probably IS a reference to the sexual position, but that is not the entire song! It's reminiscing!Grace - Fairfax Station, Va
After reading these comments here i carefully listened to the song. And yes you can here him say "Me and my baby in a 69" towards the end of the song.
However it has nothing to do with the whole song being about him and his lover in a 69 postion. In fact i personally think it ruins the song in a way that its not a line that should be said when he is talking about old memories, etc. Obviously has just sung it because it went together with the tittle. Just my thoughts on it.
James - Wollongong, Australia
Oh my ' I wish this little "controversy" would just go away.

First of all, when Bryan and I were writing the song, it was originally called "Best Days Of My Life". The words "summer of '69" only appeared once, right after "played it 'til my fingers bled". That was it! The song really was about the summer of 1969!

It took us a week or two to fine-tune the lyric. At some point we realized that "Summer Of '69" was a better title, so we literally "shoe-horned" that phrase into a few more places in the song.

At no time do I recall discussing sexual innuendo with Bryan ' except for one little thing. When we recorded the demo in my basement, towards the end of the song Bryan sang a little naughty bit: "me and my baby in a '69". We had a laugh about it at the time, and Bryan decided to keep it when he did the final recording a month or two later. Nobody seemed to notice, and that was the end of it until a few years ago when Bryan started introducing the song in concert by saying, "This song has nothing to do with the year 1969". The audience reaction was predictable.

Let me qualify this by saying I don't pretend to speak for Bryan. Two of us wrote the song. Maybe he was thinking about something completely different ... but I was thinking about that amazing summer when I turned 17. There were brand new vinyl albums released by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Kinks, Janis Joplin, The Band. It was awesome and I'll never forget it.

Bryan Adams is a great writer, a great singer, and a great friend. He's entitled to his recollections as to what inspired the song "Summer Of '69". My recollections just happen to be different than his.
Jim - Vancouver, Canada
Even though the song's printed title contains an apostrophe, that does not shine any light at all on whether it's about the sexual position or not. Since when are all meanings of songs so clearly revealed? If it came down to the printing presses making those decisions for us we might as well not even buy the albums. People argue over backmasking messages and possible satanic implications. Or the inner meanings of songs or those that apply to a grander vision of the world. Or those that relate personally, perhaps secretly, to the artist. The apostrophe means nothing to a song about teenage suicide, metaphysics, desperate love, or, in this case, a song about sex or maybe just about a memorable summer.Brian - Meriden, Ct
Eh, I don't know...I just like the song.Megan - Ozark, Al
This might not be true, but I think it was about the summer vacation of 1969.Candice - Vancouver, Canada
I suspect Bryan Adams is just trying to be cool, after the fact, with the double entendre. It certainly wouldn't be the 1st time an artist has lied to make himself sound more "naughty" (Eminem, Vanilla Ice, Ice-T) in order to please audiences by pumping up the bad boy image.Eric - Cincinnati, Oh
when was the first time he claimed that the song actually was about the sexual position??Asmi - Vasa, Finland
I think the meaning is about the sexual position, when he says that this was the summer of 69, probably when he first experienced that position. but i also think that this is not the only meaning - he talks about friendship and life, probably he misses those days when he was playing with his friends and was dating with a girl with such innocence - he got pure emotions thenAna - Lokev, Europe
Where in the lyrics is "me and my baby in '69" or "me and my baby in a 69"? Sounds like something BA ad libs in concerts. And his claim that "this is not about the year 1969" and "you figure it out" is nothing but a nod of an aging rockerm who is scared of losing his edge, to the juvenile crowd. See the link by mom2kaia to Jim Vallance's page. It just makes sense.At - The O.c., Ca
this song and boys of summer are the best summer songs.!Jon-michael - Augusta, Georgia, Ga
MxPx also did a cover of this... It was pretty goodKevin - Fallston, Md
Okay....BA has said at numerous concerts and interviews that it is NOT about the year 1969!! In a fan club publication he goes on to explain it and yes he does sing "me and my baby in a 69" and in his own words "that the whole story, right there"Bunny - Oz, Australia
Everyone here should know... Bryan adams was born in 1959, and he GOT his first guitar when he was 10 he has said himself on a live performance... which leaves us all wondering, what really IS the song about??

PS. There will NEVER be any better song... Miguel, everything you wrote is 100% my feelings about the song too...
Asmi - Vasa, Finland
Just saw Bryan Adams in the Hunter Valley vineyards, last night, where he intro-ed the song by saying "A lot of people have ideas about what certain songs are about. There is a gross misconception about this song. It has nothin' to do with the year 1969." When someone asked him "What's it about then?" he replied "You figure it out Honey!" He then very clearly sang "...me and my baby in a sixty nine..."
(Sure shocked the sh*t outta my sister who has always proudly declared the song was about her time of birth...)
Jo - Newcastle, Australia
still after more then 20 yrs this song is played on the radio in australia as if it was still in the charts today!Marlow - Perth, Australia
Get your mind out the the gutter people!!
Though Bryan writes most of his lyrics, there are some he has help with. Such is the case with Summer of '69. Jim Vallance was the co-writer who happens to be older than Bryan.
Read the words and you will see it's all about reminiscing. And by the way, if you listen closely, the line is not "Me and my baby in a 69", it is "Me and my baby in '69". Small word-big difference.
Leah - Ottawa, Canada
i think it's awesome that this song is about the 69 sexual position. If you listen closely to the last line he sings, it's "me and my baby in a 69". It's important to remember that in the summer of 1969, Adams was only 9 years old, so I doubt it's about his nostalgia from that year.Victor - Vienna, Va
Well Bruce Springstein also sang this song.Cole - San Angelo, Tx
get it right people, this song is not about sex, its not about the year 1969 and its not about woodstock, IT'S ABOUT NOSTALGIA!Charlie - Thomaston, Ct
Hey, i went to see Bryan Adams in Sheffield t'other day, n before he even played the song he said 'this is not about the year 1969', n the last line says 'ya me and my baby in a '69''. This suggests the sexual position for the song name with references to it, but the lyrics point to remeniscing about past experiencesSteve - Sheffield, England
I went to a Bryan Adams concert yesterday and he said i want to get a misconception about the song straight. The song is NOT about the year 1969Leanne - Doncaster, England
I heard Adams say on radio that this song is about both the year 1969 and the sexual position.James - Canberra, Australia
the summer of 69 refers to when bryan first got a guitar, "played it till my fingers bled was the summer of 69" so what he is singing about is that was the birth of his music career he mentions his first band in school a bunch of mates "should of known we'd never get far, those were the best days of my life."
every sucessful musician would very easily remember the time they first picked up their instrument. obviously they are passionate about it otherwise they wouldnt have become famous. so he's singing about the birth of his career
Marlow - Perth, Australia
I seriously doubt that this song is about Bryan Adams doing a 69er with his girlfriend! That theory is a little far-fetched to say the least...

As the other Matthew said, if it was about the position then it would have been 69 instead of '69, wouldnt it?
Matto - Time Bomb Town, Ireland
To finish my thoughts, it is possible there is a double-meaning but it doesn't quite fit, because the song is about the best days of his life and 69ing is hardly the "best" of anything. And he plays his six-string wondering what went wrong...well the 69 might have done it haha.

No really, it seems more fitting that Bryan Adams feels an attachment to the year 1969 or recognizes a lot of people do and so made a song about how those days were supposed to last forever. That is allegorized by the woman he met. She told him it would last forever, however it did not and he wonders where those days went and where everything went wrong.

At least that interpretation is less vulgar and more meaningful and, I think, more sensible.
Hiram - Reno, Nv
I would like to suggest, that the date 1969 was chosen for Woodstock. When hearing this song I always believed that the idea was the kid who got his first six-string went to Woodstock, admired those on stage and thus went and bought a guitar for himself. Then he finds it is a lot harder to make a band than he thought. But then, most bands have the problems described in this song at least when starting out.Hiram - Reno, Nv
There's no way it's about the sexual position.. it just can't be.Aaron - Glen Ellyn, Il
May I just say one thing, if it was 69 as in the position it would either be: '69' or 69 but as it is '69 this means its just the shortened version of the date 1969Matthew - Nr London, England
Miguel, you have great taste, boys of summer and summer of 69 are THE best songs EVER
till_02@hotmail.com
Julia - London, England
Theres a lot different feelings that hit me whenever I listen to this song. It´s that kind of energy that makes me cry (but not for sadness) Feels like it´s worth to be alive, It gives me peace, I want to do everythig right, really makes me a better person.

I have always know, I will have a daughter named Julia, and when I read Julias FROM ENGLAN comment saying:.."this and don henley's boys o summer are the best summer songs of all time
- julia, london, England"....I could not believe it. Summer of 69 and Don Henley´s The Boys of the Summer, are my FAVORITES songs EVER.(Julia, please put your e mail here, we really need to talk)

I am shure, dont know when or where, but some day, in a beatifull summer day, in a beach, I am playing this song next to Bryan in front of a crowd.

Peace! Miguel
miguel.sanchez@tmmlines.com
Miguel - Culiacan, Mexico
this and don henley's boys o summer are the best summer songs of all timeJulia - London, England
This is like my favorite song of all-time! It's great b/c it's about the unbreakable bonds of friendship, your first love, and summer memories!Ed - Chicago, Il
bowling for soup did a cover of this on their album lets do it for johnnyLeigha - New York, Ny
2nd line: "i bought it at the five and dime" which is a little store back in the day that sold all sorts of little things from books to - 6 strings.Katie - Prince George, Canada
Mark it starts off by saying.......I got my first real six string.......I forget the second line.......played until my fingers bled.....it was the summer of 69.......where did you get the other thing fromAngelo - Vancouver, Canada
i always thought this song was about him and his lover doing the 69 positionMark - Thorsby, Canada