Writers: George Jackson and Thomas Earl Jones III
Producers: Bob Seger and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Recorded: 1978 at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama
Released: Spring 1979
|Players:||Bob Seger — vocals
Alto Reed — saxophone
Randy McCormick — piano
Ken Bell — guitar
Howie McDonald — guitar
David Hood — bass
Roger Hawkins — drums
James Lavell Easley, Stanley Carter, and George Jackson — backing vocals
|Album:||Stranger In Town (Capitol)|
“Old Time Rock And Roll” is one of Bob Seger‘s most popular songs.
Members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section sent the song to him on a demo tape. Seger rewrote the verses but didn’t ask for a writing credit on the song. It’s a move he’s come to regret — “Old Time Rock And Roll” has been reported to be the second-most popular jukebox selection of all time, behind Patsy Cline‘s “Crazy.”
Seger says he was just finishing the Stranger In Town album when “Old Time Rock And Roll” showed up, and he had to use the Muscle Shoals players rather than his own Silver Bullet Band: “They sent me the track, Muscle Shoals, and we were really on deadline. Of course, my band wanted to re-cut it, ’cause they wanted to play all the rock songs. So I said, ‘You know, I’m just going to put (saxophonist) Alto (Reed) on this thing and use it,’ and Drew (Abbott) wasn’t real happy about it ’cause he wanted to play lead guitar on it, Charlie (Martin) wanted to play drums, (and)Chris (Campbell) wanted to play bass. We were just on a time-line. So we took it in, I sang it, Alto played sax on it, and we proceeded to go immediately to Europe, where we did a tour.”
Seger says that initially, the Silver Bullet members were resistant to the track: “The odd thing was the band was always complaining about it. We were in Germany — I said ‘Let’s play that song, just for the heck of it, see what happens.’ And we got a huge response with it — and (the audience) had never even heard it. It wasn’t even out yet. Then the guys kind of looked at me and said, ‘Hmmm, this isn’t so bad after all.’ We proceeded to play it through the rest of Europe, England, and France, and Sweden, and wherever we went, and it got the same response. By the time we got home the band wasn’t angry about it anymore.”
The fourth single from Stranger In Town, “Old Time Rock And Roll” hit Number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.
In 1983, the song was used in the film Risky Business, in a famous scene in which Tom Cruise dances around his parents house in his underwear. The scene has gone on to be parodied in The Simpsons, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, King of the Hill, Alf, The Nanny, Saved by the Bell, Duckman, Lizzie McGuire, South Park, Veronica Mars, NewsRadio, Saturday Night Live and other shows.
It’s since become a popular song at weddings, sporting events, and other gatherings.
It was the only Seger song played by the band at his wedding to wife Nita in July 1993.
The Stranger In Town album hit Number Four on the Billboard 200 album chart, and has sold more than five million copies.