"Summer of '69" is a song recorded by Canadian recording artist Bryan Adams, from his fourth studio album, Reckless (1984). The song was written by Adams and Jim Vallance, a long-time writing partner of Adams. "Summer of '69" was produced by Adams and Bob Clearmountain. It was released in June 1985 under A&M Records as the fourth single from Reckless. As with most Adams songs, "Summer of '69" is an up-tempo rock song. According to Adams, the number 69 is used in reference to sex, and not the year 1969; his co-writer Jim Vallance disagrees, however, claiming that it has nothing to do with the sex position.
The song was released with two B-side tracks; "Kids Wanna Rock" and "The Best Was Yet to Come". "Summer of '69" received favourable reviews from music critics. Barry Webber from All Music was favourable towards the song, even when he admitted that the lyrics contained many clichés, but it was these clichés as he put it that made Adams famous. He wrote: "After all, the silliness of the single is what gives it the desired naïve charm, relating to the cliché 'age of innocence'." It was described as an "anthemic rocker" by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. An unnamed writer of The Miami Herald felt the song reminded him/her of the musical talents of John Mellencamp and Bob Seger. The New York Daily News writer Jim Farber wrote: "Of course, we're talking Bryan Adams here the only person on Earth who could write a song titled 'Summer of '69' that has nothing to do with political protests or social upheaval, but instead simply recalls a fun day Adams spent throwing dirtballs at his friends. His conclusion was that since Adams knew his place in the world, something he felt many other artists didn't, he made it easier for himself to write good songs. This he felt was proven on the album 18 til I Die, but also "Summer of '69". Nada Lakovski of Chart magazine described it as "A most wonderful, straightforward and unpretentious rock 'n' roll pop song".
Adams, later in an interview, when talking of the song's success said: "That song is 25 years old now so it's had that many years to incubate. A lot of songs, like that one, hit big in America but really not anywhere else. It didn't chart anywhere in Europe until at least 10 years after it was released. [...] I think songs can have a life of their own regardless of the promotion."
In 1985 the song won the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Citation of Achievement for US radio airplay, the following year 1986 - Procan Award (Performing Rights Organization of Canada) for Canadian radio airplay and in 2000 it won a Socan Classics Award for more than 100,000 Canadian radio performances. In a poll conducted by Decima Research in 2006, "Summer of '69" was voted the best driving song among Canadians who sing in their cars. The song topped the survey with both sexes, and with French and English-speaking Canadians. In 2010, the song was voted the "hottest summer song" in Germany. In another poll, this time by now defunct Canadian magazine Chart, "Summer of '69" was voted the fourth best song of all-time in 2000, four years earlier it had been voted the twenty-fourth best song of all-time. The song was ranked #17 on CBC Radio's 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version. In 2008, the song was voted the 87th best-song of all-time by radio listeners in Norway, becoming the second highest Adams song ranked, the highest being "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" from 1991. It was voted the fifth best-song ever on Radio 2, a Belgian radio station, in 2008.
"Summer of '69" was released as a single internationally in June 1985 and charted on the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at 5. Like the previous single released from Reckless, "Heaven", "Summer of '69" was a commercial success worldwide. "Summer of '69" debuted at number fifty-nine, and managed to climb up the chart, and two weeks later reached its peak position 42, on August 24, 1985, on the UK Singles Chart. The single remained on the country's chart for four consecutive weeks from August to September 1985, before falling out of the top 100. The track debuted at number twenty-two on September 22, and peaked at number seven in the fifth week on the New Zealand Singles Chart. The song debuted at 95 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart on June 29, 1985, jumping to fifty in its second week and peaking at eleven on September 14, 1985 after spending seven weeks on the chart.
The song debuted at its peak position, number 9, on August 10, on the Norwegian Singles Chart and stayed there for another four weeks before falling of the charts. "Summer of '69" charted on the Swedish Singles Chart for five consecutive weeks. Having debuted at number twenty on December 13, and peaked at number thirteen two weeks later. The single spent another three weeks on the chart before falling off. The track peaked at number 17 on the Austrian Singles Chart, and remained on the country's chart for five weeks. The single's most commercially successful charting territory was the Netherlands, were it peaked at number 4 on September 22, 1990. The single's least successful chart territory was Germany. Having peaked on the country's singles chart at number 62, the single spent the next five weeks fluctuating down the chart.
The track was promoted with a music video, which was filmed by Irish director Steve Barron in 1985. The video features Adams and his backing band in a variety of settings, including running from the police. In 1985 it was nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards in one category for Best Male Video. While the song did not win the award, it was one of four nominated songs from Adams' fourth studio album Reckless. The video includes appearances by Lysette Anthony and Michael Brandon.