For Bryan Adams and longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance, having Jeff Lynne produce his latest album, Get Up!, is "dream come true stuff."
"It was such a thrill. Working with Jeff brought out the best in me and in Jim," Adams tells Billboard. "Jim and I both have great respect for (Lynne) and admiration as a producer and a musician, and suddenly he's working on our songs and our demos? It was killer, man."
Get Up!, the follow-up to last year's covers set Tracks of My Years, comes out Oct. 30 and is Adams' first of all-original material since 11 in 2008. He and Vallance co-write eight of the nine tracks, while Adams and Lynne combined for "Do What Ya Gotta Do," which was originally pitched for the American Hustle film soundtrack but didn't end up on it. "Don't Even Try" and "You Belong To Me," meanwhile, date back to the beginning of Adams' work with Lynne; both were intended for a TV pilot that was never made, but it was the director of the proposed series who put Adams and Lynne together. Listen to "Don't Even Try," which Billboard is exclusively premiering below.
"The guy said, 'I need some songs. I'm gonna get my buddy Jeff to do one,'" recalls Adams, who first met Lynne back in 1987 in the U.K. "I said, 'Oh, you know Jeff?' 'Yeah.' "Tell him I said hi.' Next thing I know I get a message back; 'Jeff wants you to give him a call if you get a chance next time you're in L.A.' So I called him and he said, 'Next time you're in L.A., come over and have a cup of tea.' So that's all it was; I went over there one day and on the way out he said, 'Hey man, we should cut a song some time.' 'Hell yeah!'"
Adams says the Get Up! recording process took place intermittently; he'd send demos of songs to Lynne, who would create finished tracks, playing most of the instruments himself. Not surprisingly, Lynne gravitated quickly to the Beatles-flavored "Don't Even Try." "When I played that song for Jeff he looked at me and said, 'That sounds like a Rubber Soul outtake,'" Adams says. "The director of that TV series wanted songs that had sort of a '60s feel, so I was going for that and it just came out with that kind of sound."
The process of working with Lynne on Get Up! was pretty seamless despite all the back and forth. "The way the whole (album) worked is we would send the demo to Jeff and he would either keep or replace what he thought was good or bad, and if I needed to come back and do something I would. But more often than not he'd use the vocal that I sent and that was it," Adams explains. "I would say Jeff's kind of a minimalist in the sense that there's no frills on the recordings. It's real instrumentation. It's not computerized. He never relies on instrumentation that's been sampled. It has to be played, so I think all those elements provide sort of a really organic sound, even though he may be using modern technology to record things."
With Lynne's own new ELO album on the way this fall (Alone in the Universe, out Nov. 13) Adams hasn't had an opportunity to do any more work with Lynne but hopes to in the future. But, after spending the past year celebrating the 30th anniversary of his Reckless album in concert, Adams -- who directed the video forGet Up!'s first single "You Belong To Me" and plans to do more -- is looking forward to taking the album on the road in the new year. "I had someone tell me I could take this whole album and open the show and people would think it's one of my classic records," Adams says. "It's rockin', that's for sure. They'll be great to play live."
You can pre-order Get Up! here.
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