When the music of Bryan Adams wasn't Canadian enough

Launching his 1992 tour, Bryan Adams held a press conference in which he protested a CRTC ruling that his music didn't count as Canadian.

Rocker said Canadian content regulations were 'breeding mediocrity' in 1992

Bryan Adams hits back at the CRTC

31 years ago
Duration 1:29
The rocker pulls no punches in his criticism of Canadian content regulations that consider his music not Canadian enough.

Bryan Adams spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart for his ballad (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

Even though Adams performed the song and co-wrote the lyrics and music, the nation's enforcer of Canadian content broadcast regulations said the song wasn't Canadian enough in September 1991.

Even four months later, Adams wasn't having it.

"The Canadian government should just take a step out of the music business entirely," he told a press conference in a CBC report that aired on Jan. 14, 1992. 

The Vancouver rocker was about to embark on a Canadian tour in support of the single and his album Waking Up the Neighbours.

The album had been recorded in Britain and co-written by a non-Canadian, and that meant it didn't have enough Canadian content to satisfy the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). 

"I think it's a disgrace and ... it's a shame that we have to deal with this stupidity all the time," he said at a press conference in Sydney, N.S. "You'd never hear Elton John being declared un-British."

Bryan Adams calls CanCon "ridiculous" at press conference

31 years ago
Duration 1:25
The very first question tackles the CRTC ruling that his music isn't Canadian enough.

'How did it feel when you found out you were un-Canadian?'

Reporters at the press conference wasted no time asking Adams about the ruling.

"I might as well ask you the CRTC question first," said an unidentified journalist after Adams entered the conference room to a smattering of applause. "How did you feel when you found out you were un-Canadian, that the songs on your new album weren't allowed to be considered Canadian content?"

"I didn't think much of it," the rocker replied. "I never thought much about CanCon anyway. I always thought that it did nothing but breed mediocrity.

"I was pretty sorry to hear it, to be honest," he added. "Because I don't think any other country in the world would have declared their artists or un-American or un-British, so for the Canadian government to consider me un-Canadian is just ridiculous."

Bryan Adams says CanCon was no help in his fledgling career

31 years ago
Duration 2:09
"It wasn't until my records were really big in America that I started to get serious airplay in Canada," Adams said.

'No less Canadian than anything I've written in the past' 

Later in the conference — which lasted almost 24 minutes — Adams said CanCon had been never been a help to him, even when his career was in its infancy.

"In the early days, it wasn't until my records were big in America that I started to get serious airplay in Canada," he noted. "Sorry to say that, but it's true."

With one exception

There was a caveat. 

"With the exception of maybe my hometown of Vancouver, which has always been very supportive of me," he added.

Adams's writing partner on the album was South African-born producer Mutt Lange, who had worked with a large roster of international artists including AC/DC and Def Leppard. 

"Music is international. It belongs to everybody," said Adams. There may be some argument that CanCon helps young bands get started, but if anything — I keep telling you — I think it breeds mediocrity."

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now