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It’s Only Love… and that’s all. A look back on the incredible partnership between Bryan Adams and the late Tina Turner

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By Karen Bliss

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Adams expressed his heartfelt condolences to Tina Turner’s husband Erwin and family on his social media after learning of her passing yesterday (May 25) at age 83.

In 1984, the pair recorded the duet “It’s Only Love” for his 1985 album, Reckless, and the signature song for both is a staple in his concerts. They would go on to perform it together many times onstage, including at the 1985 JUNO Awards in Toronto and at Turner’s 60th birthday celebration in 1999 in London.

These days, every time Adams plays it live in concert, he does a mock introduction faking out the excited crowd as if she’s going to appear onstage—but “she’s not here.” The bit serves as a constant tribute and reminder of her importance to the song.

“I’ll be forever grateful for the time we spent together on tour, in the studio and as friends,” he wrote. “Thank you for being the inspiration to millions of people around the world for speaking your truth and giving us the gift of your voice. It’s Only Love and that’s all.”

Adams and his long-time songwriting partner Jim Vallance wrote “It’s Only Love” for Reckless, his fourth album which contained “Run to You,” “Summer of ’69″ and “Heaven.” It was the first Canadian album to sell a million copies domestically (diamond status). Adams produced it with Bob Clearmountain.

“It’s Only Love” was the sixth and final single from the album. It was the first song he recorded after taking a little break from the studio.

Adams had reportedly been a fan of Turner since his late teens, going to see her in the clubs years before her incredible comeback in the 1980s, with her worldwide hit album, Private Dancer.

He was only 24 when he got to record that song with her, his career skyrocketing after 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife. Turner was in her mid-40s.

The song was a chart topper all over the world, including No. 14 in Canada on RPM’s singles chart and No. 15 in the U.S. on Billboard’s Hot 100. It went on to receive a Grammy nomination for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal, and the video a win for MTV Video Music Award for best stage performance.

“It’s Only Love” also appears on greatest hits albums by both artists, Turner’s 2004 All the Best, and Adams’ 2005 Anthology. A live version of the song is also on the 1988 album, Tina Live in Europe.

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