Bryan Adams Tops In India

Who is the most popular Western rock musician in India? According to, it’s Bryan Adams, who just finished a tour of the subcontinent, although one of the shows was canceled “due to public safety” and amid whispers of scams and corruption despite the concert reportedly being sold out.

It’s his fifth Indian tour since the early ’90s. In fact, when Adams made his first trip to India to perform, he was one of the first Western artists to give a large-scale concert in Mumbai during an era when the government was trying to liberalize the country culturally.

The tactic apparently worked, at least in terms of Adams’ success in the country. In 1998, his album On a Day Like Today appeared in the U.S. charts for only two weeks but remained on the Times of India’s Top 10 English-language album chart for more than a year.

Schools have adopted his songs as anthems, teens have used his melodies for ringtones; he’s even an important plot device in a bestselling Indian novel.

An executive with Universal Music India told the website that “the only [Western] performer who comes close [in terms of popularity] is Enrique Iglesias.” The executive adds that Bollywood music remains the pop music of choice, and that nowadays, because of piracy, a Bollywood album is lucky if it breaks the 100,000 sales mark.

However, Adams’ latest album, Bare Bones, has so far sold 175,000 copies in India. What Indians appreciate is his singable melodies and his penchant for soaring ballads. Also, they appreciate his stage show, “which doesn’t rely on choreography or gimmicks.” Universal hopes it can get Adams to collaborate with an Indian artist in the future, perhaps Oscar winner A.R. Rahman.