Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Night Moves' made Bob Seger a bonafide star

It had been a long road for Bob Seger. Making music since the mid-1960s, mass market success had always been just out of reach. Despite a hit single in the late sixties ('Ramblin' Gamblin' Man'), he had never quite gotten over the hump.
By 1976, this was changing. The live album Live Bullet made a significant dent on the Billboard album chart that year. The album's sales would eventually reach the multi-million level, and at this point, Seger needed a strong follow-up album to consolidate his success.
He found this with Night Moves. The album was both a critical and commercial success. The Rolling Stone Album Guide has referred to it as 'remarkable,' and it reached number eight on the Billboard 200 album chart.
The title song was a big hit single and remains his best known song. Reaching number four on the singles chart, it is a memorable acoustic ballad about the coming of age of youth. Pulsing acoustic ballads would serve Seger well in the future, and it was an approach he had developed over many years. An early example of this style was the song 'Big River' that appeared on 1970's Mongrel.
Despite the success of this approach, Seger is first and foremost a rocker. Night Moves opens with 'Rock and Roll Never Forgets.' It is infectious and thunderous. It continued Seger's tradition of beginning albums with breathtaking rock and roll (future examples include 'Hollywood Nights' from 1978's Stranger in Town and 'Even Now' from 1982's The Distance). It is a song about the healing and redeeming qualities of rock and roll, and it is a timeless theme.
'Mainstreet' was another top 40 hit from the album, but the record's strength is the depth of its album cuts. 'The Fire Down Below,' 'Sunspot Baby,' and the hypnotic 'Come to Poppa' made the album much more than a record with a couple of big hits.
If a person were looking for an album that represented the best of rock and roll in the mid-1970s this would be a good place to begin. It has heart, grit, and a singer who can tell a great story.


clarence williams III said...

i heard Seger is touring this summer. I saw him in Nashville a long time ago. He was good.

Chris said...

According to 'Rolling Stone,' Seger is scheduled to begin a North American tour in March. Right now, the only announced shows are in Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Missouri. However, the 'Stone' article implied more dates are expected to be announced.

Also, there is rumor of a new album though I haven't been able to confirm that.