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Ryan Adams Emails Bryan Adams Every Year on Their Shared Birthday

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: Musician Ryan Adams poses backstage at the G Star Fall 2008 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 at Gotham Hall on February 5, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG)

A new New York Times essay by Ryan Adams gives a detailed account of the first night the singer-songwriter was properly heckled. It wasn’t just any heckle: It was the notorious “Play ‘Summer of ’69’!” heckle. The joke behind the taunt is that the name “Ryan Adams” sounds a lot like “Bryan Adams,” the 1980s Canadian radio-rock icon whose most famous song is “Summer of ’69.” On that fateful night in 2002, the jab prompted Ryan Adams to storm off stage and ask the clearly drunk audience member to leave.

The NYT essay guides the reader through Adams’ tense night at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and culminates in the alt-country star being vaguely awakened to the good in human beings–even the rude ones. He also discovers the joys of Bryan Adams’ discography. To that end, there’s a very strange revelation buried in the penultimate paragraph: In addition to his mission to “study others and look for that good,” Ryan Adams, at some point, began to “send an email every year to the genius writer of that song on his birthday, which is also mine.”

Yes, Ryan and Bryan Adams have the same birthday–if you didn’t know–and Ryan Adams emails Bryan Adams every year to wish him glad tidings, as some sort of strange, privately symbolic gesture.

The kicker of Ryan’s essay pays further tribute to Bryan’s 1985 mega-hit:

“But looking back, in all honesty, I would have shouted something else. I would have screamed Bryan Adams’s “Run to You.” That song is my jam. And after playing “Summer of ’69” a decade later in the same venue, I must admit that is one hell of a challenging bridge. But as fine a bridge as I have ever crossed.”

What a decent guy!