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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?

This edition of the Sunday Jukebox is one that will bring back memories of a time gone by - well, at least for me anyway.  And, for the rest of you, it will be just like any other Sunday Jukebox entry that you've seen in the year so far. 

This week, we're going back nineteen years ago in the past to June 1995.  Let's see...what was I doing exactly nineteen years ago this weekend?  Let me think.

Oh, yeah.  That's right.  Nineteen years ago this weekend, I was getting ready to graduate from elementary school into high school!  And thinking about high school now kind of made me wish that I could have taken ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades at my old elementary school!  Of course, that would be an impossibility now, as all the elementary schools in the area have now been changed to K-6 schools, and the seventh and eighth graders now have a junior high school inside of a high school campus.

How very Degrassi of the school system.

Anyway, back in the good old days in which seventh and eighth grade was still a part of the elementary school curriculum, I graduated with 68 other people (some of which I'm still friends with today, while others I hope to never see again as long as I live) on June 21, 1995.  And, because I'm not above embarrassing myself, I'll post a couple of pictures from the event below.

(Sigh...if only I had that much hair on my head today...only not styled in a bowl cut.  The Archie Comics necktie that I wore was a nice touch though.)

Yeah, for some reason, I always look back on my elementary school graduation with a sense of pride and fond memories.  It was the event in which I received my diploma.  It was where I earned a faculty award for having the highest average in the subject of English.  It was where I earned my badge for being in the senior concert band. 

And, perhaps most importantly of all, it was the event where I had my very first date!  All I will tell you about her is that her name was Heather, and we had a great time together.  Unfortunately, she moved away, and I never saw her again after that.  It's a shame too, because I really liked her.  Oh well...I suppose that sometimes things like that happen.

And, because it's been nineteen years since that day, I wanted to take a trip back to the month of June 1995, just to see what the #1 song was on the day that I graduated elementary school.  As it turns out, it was a song that could very well have been the perfect soundtrack to a slow dance with a date...or at the very least one of those Snowball slow dances where it starts off with a couple, then they separate and grab someone in the circle surrounding them making two sets of two, and so on and so forth.

Here's that song from 1995...and as a special treat, the coloured font will be written in my school colours from elementary school.

ARTIST:  Bryan Adams
SONG:  Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
ALBUM:  18 til I Die
DATE RELEASED:  April 14, 1995

('s true.  Our school colours were royal blue and Sunkist orange...two of the most non-complementary colours in the whole spectrum.  I suppose it could be worse...they could have been something like pink and red.)

But enough about school colours.  We're here to talk about Bryan Adams in this Sunday Jukebox spotlight.

Now, I'm sure that most of you have heard at least one Bryan Adams song in your lifetime.  After all, his first album ever was released in 1980!  That's thirty-four years ago!

Granted, Bryan Adams was more well known in his native Canada and had more impact on the Canadian charts than the Billboard charts, but when he broke through into the American market with 1984's "Reckless" album, he showed everyone that he had the star power and talent to become one of the biggest Canadian exports of rock music.  With singles like "Heaven", "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", and the collaboration he did with Rod Stewart and Sting entitled "All for Love", Bryan Adams was one of those artists who managed to strike while the iron was hot three all three of those singles hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Charts.

"Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" was Adams' fourth #1 hit on Billboard...and unfortunately, his last #1 in America (though he did have several more chart toppers in Canada).  These days, music has taken a bit of a backseat to his humanitarian efforts, photography career, and fatherhood (Adams became a first time father at the age of fifty-one), but he's still known to record an album or perform a concert every now and again. 

Anyway, back to the story of "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman".  It was one of the tracks on Bryan Adams' 1996 album "18 til I Die", but prior to that album's release, it could also be found on the soundtrack for the 1995 film "Don Juan DeMarco", a film which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, and Faye Dunaway.  The film was classified as a sleeper hit of 1995, raking in a total of $68 million on a budget of $25 million, and currently holds a rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.  And, I could go on about what "Don Juan DeMarco" was about, but then I remembered that this was the Sunday Jukebox entry and not the Saturday Night at the Movies entry, and I thought that if I really were to do a feature on "Don Juan DeMarco", I would be better off doing it then.

(Which loosely means that I've never seen the movie, so I have no idea what the movie is all about.  I do know that it was one of the last film projects that Tejano singer Selena did before her March 1995 murder, so it might be worth checking out.)

The song was written by Adams, and his long time collaborators Robert "Mutt" Lange and Michael Kamen, and it was performed throughout the movie "Don Juan DeMarco" a total of three times during the movie.  The first two times were performed by other artists after the song had been translated into Spanish, and the third time was during the closing credits, which was performed by Adams himself. 

The music video is also a production in itself.  It was shot on location in Spain by director Anton Corbjin, and features actresses Amira Casar and Cecelie Thomsen.  It also features Bryan Adams during his shaggy long hair phase circa 1994 as well as him wearing what appears to be a Zorro mask.  The mask features quite prominently in the movie "Don Juan DeMarco", but again, since this isn't a movie post, I won't go into much more detail than that.

The one thing that I can say was that this song was a success, lasting a total of five weeks on the top of the charts.  Not nearly as long as the Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men collaboration that spent four months at the top of the charts, but it was still a great success.  I can still picture some of my classmates dancing the night away to that song...even though we were fourteen, and in all likelihood none of us guys really knew what it was like to really really ever love a woman...or for that matter, a fourteen year old girl.  In some cases, we're probably still trying to figure that out.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm likely on that boat right now. 

I can also picture this song being a very popular choice to be played at weddings.  I imagine that anyone who got married in 1995, 1996, 1997, or even 1998 likely heard this song playing at least once at any wedding ceremony.  It's certainly the right song to play if you want to...ahem...get into the mood.  And, hey, with lyrics like "when you can see your unborn children in her eyes, you know you really love a woman"...yeah, that's deep.

And did you know that this song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1996?  Unfortunately, it lost to "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas".  Still, that is quite an achievement.

This song also holds a place in my heart.  It was the song that closed off the chapter of elementary school, and paved the way towards high school.  Such as it was. 

And, if that class reunion gets rescheduled, I hope that this song is one of the ones that is played.  That would be perfect.

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