For Tracks of My Years (Verve), Bryan Adams' first record in six years, the Canadian pop-rock star, 54, says he "fumbled my way through a bunch of covers." The LP, which also includes one original, is an homage to the classics that influenced the hitmaker -- whose legacy includes four No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 and 17 million U.S. album sales, according to the RIAA -- as a child. Adams, who is releasing a 30th-anniversary edition of his Reckless album on Nov. 24 and is also working on a new studio set, took Billboard on a tour through some of Tracks' best, well, tracks.
"Kiss And Say Goodbye" (originally by The Manhattans)
"I was messing around looking for Philadelphia soul and Motown on YouTube. I would look for a song, and then on the right side of the page, it shows you like-minded ones. I hit on this and was like, 'Of course;' I remember it distinctly as a youngster. A number of songs were discovered that way."
"Sunny" (originally by Bobby Hebb)
"It's such a happy song. It has five, six different key changes -- it keeps going up and up and up. It's a nightmare for a guitar player. In fact, it's the only song I'm not playing guitar on. The Bobby Hebb version is a classic, but I prefer Marvin Gaye's."
"God Only Knows"(originally by The Beach Boys)
"You can't not be in awe of that song. You can't think about topping the original, so we kept ours simple and stripped down."
"Down on the Corner" (originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
"I had nothing to do with the arrangement; that was all [co-producer and Verve chairman] David Foster. I don't think he even knew the song, but that's OK. He has a different musical background than me, and maybe that helped us get a more original take on the songs."
"Any Time At All" (originally by The Beatles)
"I cut a lesser-known hit rather than one of the well-known ones as a tip of the hat. I couldn't not put a Beatles song on there. They were my whole world!"
This story originally appeared in the Oct. 11 issue of Billboard.