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Album: Night MovesReleased: 1976Charted:
This song is about a young couple losing their virginity in 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.
Seger was inspired by the movie American Graffiti
. He says, "I came out of the theater thinking, Hey, I've a story to tell too. Nobody has ever told about how it was to grow up in my neck of the woods."
This was recorded in Toronto. Seger's guitarist and sax player had returned to Detroit, so he completed this by bringing in a local guitar player and pianist, as well as some female backup singers from Montreal who happened to be in town. Along with "Turn The Page
," it was one of just two songs Seger ever wrote on the road.
This song helped the Night Moves album sell more than five million copies. Seger was big in his home state of Michigan, but "Night Moves" earned him acclaim on a national level.
Seger: "When people ask 'Do you know when you've written a hit?' the usual answer is no. This song was an exception."
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.
Seger had a hard time finishing the lyrics to this song. Under pressure from his record company to release an album, he put out Live Bullet in 1976, which bought him time to finish this and include it on the album of the same name.
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.
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.