When I think of the 70s and early 80s Bob Seger always comes to mind. Here is a man who paid his dues and he deserved all the success he achieved. He is from Michigan and started in the early sixties and kept at it until he hit gold with the album Beautiful Loser in 1975. He did have a minor hit in 1968 with Rambling Gambling Man but failed to build on it.
The next album he did after Beautiful Loser was Night Moves which made him a star. That album was released in 1976. He formed the Silver Bullet Band in 1974 and he built on that.
Still The Same was on the album Stranger In Town and it was a huge hit. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard Album Charts, (from what I’ve found) #5 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #31 in the UK. Four singles came off of that album and all were top 40 hits. Still The Same, Hollywood Nights, We’ve Got Tonight, and Old Time Rock and Roll. I have to admit… he got the “Steve Miller” treatment by radio. Many of his hit songs were played to death especially Old Time Rock and Roll which I cannot listen to anymore.
He did something different with many of his albums including this one. He would record half the songs in Muscle Shoals using some of their musicians and the other half he would use the Silver Bullet Band in the Criteria studios in Miami Florida. It would give him a different sound and actually was a smart thing to do.
Still The Same was recorded with the Silver Bullet Band in Miami. The B side to this single was also a well-known song… Feel Like A Number. That song was featured in the 1981 movie Body Heat.
Bob Seger about the type of people the song is about: “They’re just very charismatic, but they have tremendous faults, but part of the appeal is the charisma. You overlook everything because of the charisma. That’s a gift and a curse.”
Bob Seger on Feel Like A Number: I got the idea for the song after watching a show about computer banks and how many names were in them. We’re all in computer banks. Lord knows how many data collections there are. Everybody is a number and in the record industry you’re also thought of a lot of times as a number — the amount you sell or whatever. Some of the humanity gets lost and the hype takes over. You have to watch out. That’s the whole idea of Stranger in Town as an album, actually. It’s about identity and trying to survive and keep your identity.
The B side Feel Like A Number
Still The Same
You always won every time you placed a bet
You’re still damn good, no one’s gotten to you yet
Every time they were sure they had you caught
You were quicker than they thought
You’d just turn your back and walk
You always said the cards would never do you wrong
The trick you said, was never play the game too long
A gambler’s share, the only risk that you would take
The only loss you could forsake
The only bluff you couldn’t fake
And you’re still the same
I caught up with you yesterday (still the same, still the same)
Moving game to game
No one standing in your way
Turning on the charm
Long enough to get you by (still the same, still the same)
You’re still the same
You still aim high
(Still the same, still the same)
(Still the same, still the same)
There you stood
Everybody watched you play
I just turned and walked away
I had nothing left to say
‘Cause you’re still the same (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
You’re still the same (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
Moving game to game (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
Some things never change (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
Oh, you’re still the same (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
Still the same (still the same, baby, baby, still the same)
Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.
Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles
I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry
And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb
You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.
Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead
I wasn’t looking too good but I was feelingreal well… Rolling Stones
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash
We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen
The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.
I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band
I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd
I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet
She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger
In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks
I’ve met some Seger fans who basically stopped liking his music when this album came out. I don’t understand that really because this is one of my favorite Seger songs although I do like his earlier ones the best. Classic Rock radio has really worn this one thin but I still listen to it when it comes on. The older I get the more I can relate.
I always thought Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then was a great line. Funny enough…Seger was going to scratch that line because he said it didn’t sound right grammar-wise… he changed his mind when people told him it was the best line in the song.
The album Against The Wind was huge. It is his only number 1 album to date. Fire Lake is what attracted me to the album and I had it many years ago. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #26 in the UK in 1980.
The title track peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #6 in Canada in 1980.
In the lyrics he mentions “Janey”…who was thought to be long term girlfriend Janey Dinsdale. He confirmed it in an interview at the time: Janey says to me all the time, ‘You allow more people to walk on you than anybody I’ve ever known.’ And I always say it’s human nature that people are gonna love you sometimes and they’re gonna use you sometimes. Knowing the difference between when people are using you and when people truly care about you, that’s what “Against the Wind” is all about. The people in that song have weathered the storm, and it’s made them much better that they’ve been able to do it and maintain whatever relationship. To get through is a real victory.
Half the album was recorded with his Silver Bullet Band and the other half at Muscle Shoals studio with their rhythm section.
Seger won the 1980 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal Grammy award for this song.
Bob Seger:“My old friend Glenn Frey of the Eagles had an idea that our guitarist Drew Abbott should play along with the piano solo. He and I then went out and did the background vocals together. The line ‘Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then’ bothered me for the longest time, but everyone I knew loved it so I left it in. It has since appeared in several hits by other artists, so I guess it’s OK.”
“The only thing that bothered me about that phrase was the grammar. It sounded grammatically funny to me. I kept asking myself, ‘Is that correct grammar?’ I liked the line, and everybody I played it for – like Glenn and Don (Henley) – were saying, ‘That’s the best line in the song,’ but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. But I slowly came around. You have to understand that songwriters can’t punctuate anything they write. I work in such a narrow medium that I tend to second-guess things like that. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen that line in a few other songs since I came up with it, so I guess it was okay after all.”
Against The Wind
It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playing low
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
‘Til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove
And I remember what she said to me
How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then
Against the wind
We were runnin’ against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin’
Against the wind
The years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home
And I guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was living to run and running to live
Never worried about paying or even how much I owed
Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time
Breaking all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searching
Searching for shelter again and again
Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind
Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind
Well I’m older now and still runnin’
Against the wind
Against the wind
Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
I’m still runnin’ (against the wind)
I’m still runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Still runnin’ (against the wind)
Running against the wind
Running against the wind (against the wind)
See the young man run (against the wind)
Watch the young man run (against the wind)
Watch the young man runnin’ (against the wind)
He’ll be runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Let the cowboys ride (against the wind)
Oh (against the wind)
Let the cowboys ride (against the wind)
They’ll be ridin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Against the wind (against the wind)
Ridin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Against the wind
I was at “A Sound Day” reading Dave’s blog and he talked about Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s live album Nine Tonight that this song came off. I had forgotten about this song completely until Dave brought it up. So I give all credit for this post to Dave. It was like finding a long-lost pair of jeans you liked and missed. This song is not one they wear out on the radio as much.
Do you notice what song released around the same time sounds like this? Looks like the Eagles may have heard this version or the original and written the song The Long Run. Rock Critic Dave Marsh called The Long Run a complete ripoff of the 1972 R&B record “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You” and after listening to them…I do agree they are very similar.
Otis Clay was a soul singer in the 60s and had his biggest hit with this song in 1972. He never could seem to break through…he had a good soul voice. He continued to make music until 2015 and he passed away in 2016.
This one was written by Eugene Frank Williams which Clay recorded a version in 1972 that only peaked at #102 on Billboard and #24 on the Soul Charts. Less than ten years later Bob Seger would take the song to a much higher place.
The song was on Seger’s Nine Tonight live album released in 1981. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album Charts, #6 in Canada, #24 in the UK, and #37 in New Zealand in 1981.
The song was a hit…it peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #11 in Canada.
Trying To Live My Life Without You
… All right, you guys feel funky tonight, ah yeah this is an old Memphis song, old Memphis song I used to smoke Five packs of cigarettes a day It was the hardest thing To put them away I drink four or five bottles of wine I kept a glass In my hand all the time Breaking those habits was hard to do But nothing compared to the changes You put me through Trying to live my life without you babe It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do Trying to forget the love we once shared It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have All right, I said I had the worst reputation in town For chasing all the women around I thought changing my way of living Was hard to do But it’s nothing compared to the changes That you put me through I’ve done everything I’ve tried to do But it’s gonna take a miracle To get me over you Trying to live my life without you babe It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do Trying to forget the love we once shared It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have All right, I said I had the worst reputation in town For chasing all the women around I thought changing my way of living Was hard to do But it’s nothing compared to the changes That you put me through I’ve done everything I’ve tried to do But it’s gonna take a miracle To get me over you
Pop’s Pool Hall…did every small town have one? I was there in a small town in Tennessee as a 12-year-old when I first heard this song in that pool hall. The song had been out for a few years but this is when I really paid attention to it. It made me feel like I was looking back on my town at 12 years old. The guitar (Pete Carr) stands out in this song and any song that can make a 12-year-old look back works rather well.
What surprised me about this one is the Canadian love for this Seger song. Personally, I thought it did better in America than it did…but Canada really loved it. This song peaked at #1 in Canada and #24 in the Billboard 100 in 1977. The song was on his Night Moves album released in 1976. This was his breakthrough album and it peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts and #12 in Canada.
The actual street Seger sings about in this song is Ann Street, which was off of Main Street in Ann Arbor. Seger has said he wrote this song about his high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The song explores the promise of youth, and what Seger calls his “awakening” after being a quiet, awkward kid for most of his youth.
This is another song that Seger recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. While most of Seger’s work was done with his Silver Bullet Band, he did make a few trips to Alabama to record at Muscle Shoals, taking advantage of the talented musicians and lack of distractions.
Bob Seger:“It was a club. I can’t remember the name of the club, but the band that played there all the time was called Washboard Willie. They were a Delta and Chicago blues band. Girls would dance in the window. They were a black band, and they were very good. That’s where I would go but I was too young to get in. It wasn’t in a great part of town but college students loved to go there.”
The nostalgic tone of this song led many critics to compare Seger to Bruce Spingsteen, sometimes unfavorably. The NME wrote, “Leaning heavily on anyone so personally stylized as Springsteen has got to qualify as an error of judgment.”
Seger acknowledges Springsteen as an influence at that time, but insists he wasn’t going after Bruce’s sound or image. There weren’t many rock musicians writing introspective hit songs about life in working-class America at the time, and with Springsteen in a legal dispute with his manager that kept him from recording, Seger had 1977 to himself.
The studio was owned by four of the guys who played on the track: David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The lead guitarist on the session was Pete Carr.
This was the second single from the Night Moves album, following the title track. Both songs are very nostalgic and a departure from high-energy rockers that dominate his album Live Bullet, which was released in 1976 six months before Night Moves. By this time, Seger had been at it in earnest for over a decade and was just starting to break through to a national audience. Live Bullet was his first album to find a broad audience; many who bought it snatched up Night Moves when it came out, and weren’t disappointed. Both albums ended up selling over 5 million copies, making Seger a star.
I remember standing on the corner at midnight Trying to get my courage up There was this long, lovely dancer in a little club downtown Loved to watch her do her stuff Through the long, lonely nights she filled my sleep Her body softly swaying to that smoky beat Down on Main Street Down on Main Street
In the pool halls, the hustlers and the losers Used to watch ’em through the glass Well I’d stand outside at closing time Just to watch her walk on past Unlike all the other ladies, she looked so young and sweet As she made her way alone down that empty street Down on Main Street Down on Main Street
Sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat I drift back in time and I find my feet Down on Main Street Down on Main Street Down on Main Street Down on Main Street Down on Main Street Down on Main Street
I grew up with this song played on the radio quite frequently. I grew up in the south…and radio stations claimed Michigan-born Bob Seger as their own. The Eagles and Bob Seger were adopted by southern states radio and spoke of in the same breath as Lynyrd Skynyrd and other southern acts.
This song was on the Against the Wind album that came out in 1980. This song was written 7 years before its inclusion on that album. It was originally intended for Beautiful Loser album but was left off that album because it had a different sound and didn’t quite mesh with those songs.
Seger eventually stated that it is about a lake in Michigan called Silver Lake. He said that it was written about Silver Lake in Dexter, about being in the Pinckney-Hell-Dexter area.
He didn’t use the Silver Bullet Band for this one. He recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, where the studio owners, Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar), backed him up. Seger recorded some of his most memorable songs there, including his Old Time Rock and Roll. Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmit later added backups to Fire Lake. Seger returned the favor by coming up with the chorus to Heartache Tonight.
Fire Lake peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in Canada in 1980.
Bob Seger helped keep Muscle Shoals in business during this time.
David Hood (part-owner of Muscle Shoals and bass player):“Everything we recorded with Bob Seger, we get a production royalty on. And as it turns out, we recorded ‘Fire Lake,’ and ‘Old Time Rock and Roll,’ and ‘Mainstreet,’ just a whole bunch of things with them. And so that became a very lucrative thing. We don’t even have a real contract on that, but he’s always paid us for the records that we played on, we were co-producers on, as well. And that’s what I think about Bob Seger. He’s a very honest man. He and Punch Andrews are honest people who stick to their word. That’s rare in the music business.”
Who’s gonna ride that chrome three wheeler Who’s gonna make that first mistake Who wants to wear those gypsy leathers All the way to Fire Lake
Who wants to break the news about uncle Joe You remember uncle Joe He was the one afraid to cut the cake Who wants to tell poor aunt Sarah Joe’s run off to Fire Lake Joe’s run off to Fire Lake
Who wants to brave those bronze beauties Lying in the sun With their long soft hair falling Flying as they run Oh they smile so shy And they flirt so well And they lay you down so fast Till you look straight up and say Oh Lord Am I really here at last
Who wants to play those eights and aces Who wants a raise Who needs a stake Who wants to take that long shot gamble And head out to Fire Lake Head out Who wants to go to Fire Lake And head out Who wants to go to Fire Lake And head out (who wants to go to Fire Lake) Head out, head out (who wants to go to Fire Lake) Out to Fire lake Who’s gonna do it (who wants to go to Fire Lake) Who’s gonna wanna do it (who wants to go to Fire Lake) Who wants to do it, who wants to do it, yeah (who wants to go to Fire Lake)
No matter how many times I’ve heard this song it sounds great.
Seger worked hard for his success. He spent years touring and in 1968 with Capitol Records he scored a hit with Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man. After that he didn’t have much success until his second stint with Capitol records.
He first left the label to record for Palladium, a Warner Bros. subsidiary run by his manager, Edward Andrews. Seger released three albums on Palladium, but when he delivered Beautiful Loser, Warner Bros. rejected it and Seger went back to Capitol. The album sold about as well as Seger’s previous releases, maybe 50,000 copies, mostly in Michigan. But his next release was the live album Live Bullet, recorded at two Detroit shows in 1975 and released in April 1976. With “Beautiful Loser” one of the standout tracks, the album proved a winner and had sold well over 100,000 by the time Seger released his next one, the breakthrough Night Moves. His sudden success stoked interest in his back catalog; Beautiful Loser ended up selling over 2 million.
Radio stations usually play the live version of “Beautiful Loser” together with “Traveling Man” off the 1976 Live Bullet album. The two songs are separate cuts but flow together perfectly.
Bob Seger:“I’ve never written the lyrics and tried to build the music around that. It’s usually a feel or a verse or a chorus, and the lyrics will come after I’ve decided that a certain pattern or groove or rhythm is cool. Then I’ll start singing gibberish over that and just find a lyrical idea that fits the ideas that I started out with.
Other times I’ll just sit down and say, ‘I wanna write a song called this.’ That’s how ‘Beautiful Loser’ happened. I just loved the title, which I got from a book of poetry from Leonard Cohen called Beautiful Losers, with an ‘s,’ and I thought it was a really cool title.
This song is about people who set their goals so low, they never achieve anything. It is not about Seger personally. He told Creem magazine in a 1986 interview: “A lot of people think I wrote ‘Beautiful Loser’ about myself. I got the idea for that song from a book of Leonard Cohen poetry by the same name. The song was about underachievers in general. I very rarely write about myself that much. I draw on my own experiences like anyone else, but I’m not what you’d call auteuristic. I’m not like my songs at all. I’m a lot more up person than what I write.”
Cohen’s book that Seger refers to is called Beautiful Losers.
Seger took almost a year to write this. He played around with many different arrangements of the song until he got it right. In a 1994 interview with Music Connection, he explained:
Actually, I wrote three or four songs called ‘Beautiful Loser’ until I came up with the one that worked. But that’s a pretty rare thing.”
Glenn Frey, a member of the Eagles and a friend of Seger’s, was one of the first people Seger played this for. Frey loved it and helped Seger tweak it before it was released.
Seger spent a lot of time on the road, and he didn’t like to work on songs when he was touring. When it came time to make an album, he would work with his Silver Bullet Band, but also repair to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama, where he a cadre of very talented musicians served as his backing band.
“Beautiful Loser” was one of the tracks he recorded at Muscle Shoals, which had two standout keyboard players in their ranks: Barry Beckett and Spooner Oldham.
He wants to dream like a young man With the wisdom of an old man He wants his home and security He wants to live like a sailor at sea
Beautiful loser Where you gonna fall? When you realize You just can’t have it all
He’s your oldest and your best friend If you need him, he’ll be there again He’s always willing to be second-best A perfect lodger, a perfect guest
Beautiful loser Read it on the wall And realize You just can’t have it all You just can’t have it all
You just can’t have it all Ohh, ohh, can’t have it all You can try, you can try, but you can’t have it all Oh yeah
He’ll never make any enemies, enemies, no He won’t complain if he’s caught in a freeze He’ll always ask, he’ll always say please
Beautiful loser Never take it all ‘Cause it’s easier And faster when you fall
You just don’t need it all You just don’t need it all You just don’t need it all Just don’t need it all
I always liked this song by Seger. This song is a staple on classic radio and I still listen to it when it comes on. Seger has great imagery in this song.
It took Seger around six months to write this song. Along with “Turn The Page,” this was one of just two songs Seger ever wrote on the road.
Night Moves was a breakthrough hit for Seger, introducing the heartland rocker to a much wider audience. He had been very popular in Michigan ever since his first album in 1969… which had the hit Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man. That song went to #17 on the Hot 100, but over the next few years, he struggled to make a national impact.
A big break came in April 1976 when his label, Capitol, seeing the success of Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive, issued a Seger live album, Live Bullet, recorded at two of his Detroit concerts in 1975. It quickly found a following and outsold every other Seger album.
Bob was born in Detroit. His father was a bandleader and musician who worked in an auto plant to support his wife and two children. He was the younger of two sons and got less attention from his father.
Bob Seger was inspired by the movie American Graffiti, which was released in 1973 but set in 1962. He said, “I came out of the theater thinking, Hey, I have a story to tell too. Nobody has ever told about how it was to grow up in my neck of the woods.”
Night Moves peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, and #39 in New Zealand.
This song is about a young couple losing their virginity in the back seat of a Chevy. Seger says the song is autobiographical, but he took some liberties, as their tryst was after high school. The girl he was with had a boyfriend away in the military, and when he came back, she married him, breaking Seger’s heart. Seger says the song represents the freedom and possibility of the high school years.
The phrase “night moves” has a number of meanings, which made it an intriguing song title. It could mean “putting the moves on” a girl in the back seat of a car, but Seger says it also relates to the impromptu parties he and has buddies threw in the fields of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they would turn on the headlights and dance their “night moves.” They called these gatherings “grassers.”
Four songs on the Night Moves album were recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and another four at Pampa Studios in Detroit with Seger’s Silver Bullet Band. They needed one more for the album, so Seger’s manager booked three days at Nimbus Nine Studios in Toronto with producer Jack Richardson. They quickly recorded three songs that weren’t that memorable. Seger’s guitarist and sax player returned to Detroit, but the rest of the crew kept working on a very stubborn song Seger had been toiling over: “Night Moves.” When it started to come together, Richardson brought in the local guitarist Joe Miquelon and organist Doug Riley to play on the track along with Seger and two members of his band: bass player Chris Campbell and drummer Charlie Allen Martin.
It’s also the only track on Night Moves with female backing vocals, which were provided by Laurel Ward, Rhonda Silver and Sharon Dee Williams, a trio from Montreal that happened to be in town.
The famous bridge in this song, where Seger strips it down and sings “I woke last night to the sound of thunder,” is something he and producer Jack Richardson came up with on the fly in the studio.
Night Moves was released in October 1976, with the title track issued as the lead single. When the Night Moves album entered the chart at #84 on November 13, Live Bullet was hanging around at #159. For the rest of the year and most of 1977, both albums were on the chart. Each ended up selling 5 million copies.
As for the “Night Moves” single, it rose to #4 in March 1977, making the heartland rocker a national name.
On the album, this runs 5:25. The single version was cut down to 3:23, taking out the bridge section where Seger wonders about the thunder and hums a song from 1962.
This reflective track was a change of pace for Seger, whose songs tended to be rockers with lot of live energy. It wasn’t his first slower song though: “Turn The Page” was released in 1972 but got little attention. After “Night Moves” and the next single, “Mainstreet,” took off, many radio stations added “Turn The Page” to their playlists.
According to Seger, he knew he had a hit after he recorded the song. Folks at his record company were also sure of it; Seger recalls the esteemed promotions man at Capitol, Bruce Wendell, telling him, “You’re going to be singing this song for your entire career.”
Like many of Seger’s songs, there is a touch of nostalgia in the lyrics. When he sings, “And it was summertime, sweet summertime, summertime,” he’s not only referring to the time of the year, but to that season of his life as well. In the last verse of the song, when he is reminiscing, he says, “With autumn closing in” and is referring to the autumn of his life, getting older. >>
Rolling Stone magazine named this Single of the Year for 1977.
The tempo changes were inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland.” Seger wrote the song in pieces; he had the first two verses written but was having trouble finishing the song. After hearing “Jungleland,” he realized he could connect the song with two distinct bridges.
When Seger sings the line about how he dressed in high school, “Tight pants, points, hardly renowned,” “Points” refers to small metal objects some teenagers wore on their shoes in the ’60s.
“Night Moves” didn’t get a video when it was first released (it was five years before MTV), but when Seger’s Greatest Hits album was released in 1994, a video was made to promote it. The video borrows heavily from American Graffiti, showing young people at a ’60s drive-in, intercut with shots of Seger singing the song in the projection room. It was directed by Wayne Isham and stared some soon-to-be famous actors, notably Matt LeBlanc, who would later appear on the TV series Friends. His love interest is played by Daphne Zuniga, who was already starring in Melrose Place. Johnny Galecki, who later found fame on Roseanne and The Big Bang Theory, also appears. The video version of the song runs 4:30, splitting the difference between the album version and the single edit.
In the UK, the song charted for the first time (at #45) when it was released as a single along with Seger’s Greatest Hits package.
According to Seger, he and the girl really made it in the backseat of a ’62 Chevy, but it didn’t fit lyrically, so he changed the line to “my ’60 Chevy.” >>
“Night Moves” is also the name of a 1975 movie starring Gene Hackman that is unrelated to the song. Another movie called Night Moves, this one starring Jesse Eisenberg and also unrelated to the song, hit theaters in 2013.
Since this is such a personal song, it has garnered few covers, although Garth Brooks and The Killers have performed it live.
Seger revealed in a radio interview that in the line, “Started humming a song from 1962,” the song he had in mind was “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes (which was actually released in 1963).
Seger credits the Kris Kristofferson-written song “Me And Bobby McGee” for inspiring the narrative songwriting style he employed on this track.
I was a little too tall, could’ve used a few pounds Tight pants points hardly renown She was a black-haired beauty with big dark eyes And points all her own sitting way up high Way up firm and high
Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy Out in the back seat of my sixty Chevy Workin’ on mysteries without any clues Workin’ on our night moves Trying’ to make some front page drive-in news Workin’ on our night moves In the summertime In the sweet summertime
We weren’t in love, oh no, far from it We weren’t searching for some pie in the sky summit We were just young and restless and bored Living by the sword And we’d steal away every chance we could To the backroom, the alley, the trusty woods I used her she used me, but neither one cared We were getting our share
Workin’ on our night moves Trying to lose the awkward teenage blues Workin’ on out night moves And it was summertime Sweet summertime, summertime
And oh, the wonder Felt the lightning Yeah, and we waited on the thunder Waited on the thunder
I woke last night to the sound of thunder How far-off, I sat and wondered Started humming a song from nineteen-sixty-two Ain’t it funny how the night moves? When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose Strange how the night moves With autumn closing in
Hmm, night moves (Night moves) night moves (Night moves) yeah (Night moves) night moves (Night moves) I remember the night moves (Night moves) ain’t it funny how you remember? (Night moves) funny how you remember (Night moves) I remember, I remember, I remember, I remember (Night moves) oh (Night moves) move away (Night moves) we’re gonna practice, love (Night moves) night moves (Night moves) oh, I remember (Night moves) yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember (Night moves) oh, I remember (Night moves) god, I remember (Night moves) lord, I remember
Oh, woman, oh, yeah, yeah, uh-huh, I remember, I remember
Something about Bob Seger…the man paid his dues. Bob started in 1961 in the Detroit music scene in a band called the Decibels. Bob kicked around in different bands through the years. His break out song is this one. His friend, 19-year-old Glen Frey is playing acoustic guitar and singing backup on this song. The song was a big hit in Michigan and eventually started to climb the charts. The song peaked at #17 in the Billboard 100 in 1969. It would be 1975 before Seger broke nationally.
I’ve always liked Bob Seger. He gets heavy play here in the south and many of his songs have been played to death…but not this one. I like the rawness of this single.
Seger and his band were called “The Bob Seger System” when this song was released. It was just their second single on Capitol Records (after “2+2=?”), which they joined after their previous label, Cameo-Parkway, folded.
This was Bob Seger’s first big hit; it charted at #17 despite receiving no airplay in most major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Seger was very popular in Detroit, but despite being a talented singer/songwriter at the beginning of the singer/songwriter era, he couldn’t get any heat in most coastal cities. It wasn’t until his 1975 Beautiful Loser album that Seger broke nationally.
Here is a very early look at Bob Seger
Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
Yeah, I’m gonna Tell my tale, come on Come on, ha, give a listen
Cause I was born lonely Down by the riverside Learned to spin fortune wheels And throw dice
I was just thirteen When I had to leave home Knew I couldn’t stick around I had to roam
Ain’t good looking But you know I ain’t shy Ain’t afraid to look A girl in the eye
So if you need some loving And you need it right away Take a little time out And maybe I’ll stay
[CHORUS] But I got to ramble (rambling man) I got to gamble (gambling man) Got to, got to ramble (rambling man) I was born a rambling, gambling man
Yeah, yeah, yeah…. Ha ha, bring it on Come on down, yeah All right, here we go Now, now
I’m out of money Cause you know I need some Ain’t gone run out of loving And I must run
Gotta keep moving Never gonna slow down You can have your funky world See you round
Cause I got to ramble (rambling man) I got to gamble (gambling man) I got to ramble (rambling man) Lord, I’m a rambling, gambling man
Oh, I’m just a rambler Yeah, I’m just a gambler Come on and sing along
Cause I’m just a rambler (rambling man)
Lord, I’m a gambler (gambling man) I’m a rambler (rambling man) Yeah, I’m a rambler…
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