Hollywood Nights

Album: Stranger In Town (1978)
Charted: 42 12
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  • Bob Seger was never the LA type: Born and raised in Michigan, he remained rooted in the Detroit area and built a reputations as a blue collar rock star with a Midwest sensibility. When he got off the road and hunkered down to record, he often did so at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama, which is even more distant (physically and culturally) than Los Angeles. For the Stranger In Town album, he worked in Detroit and in Alabama, but went to LA to finish the album. When he was there, he rented a house in the Hollywood Hills, where he could see the bright lights of the big city.

    The "Hollywood nights, Hollywood hills" idea came to him when he was driving in the area; when he got back to his rented house, he saw a copy of Time magazine (March 6, 1978), with the model Cheryl Tiegs on the cover. She fit the LA archetype: blond, skinny, huge smile. Her headline read: The All-American Model.

    Using the chorus he came up with in the car, Seger started crafting a story about a guy from the Midwest who comes to Hollywood and meets his dream girl. They go on whirlwind adventures, but it comes to a sudden end one morning when he wakes up alone. He's left looking over the Hollywood Hills, wondering if he can ever go back home.
  • To create the insistent percussion on this track, Seger's drummer, David Teegarden, recorded one pass, then overdubbed a different pattern on top of it, so it sounds like there are two drummers playing on it.
  • Billy Payne of Little Feat played the piano and organ on this track. Backing vocals were done by the Waters family: Julia, Luther, Maxine and Oren. Recording in LA gave Seger access to this talent; the Waters' backed some of the biggest names in music, including Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand.
  • The rhythm in this song lends itself to speed. Many of us have found ourselves inadvertently blowing past the speed limit when the song comes on the radio.
  • This song captures the essence of Hollywood from an outsider's perspective, not unlike "Hotel California," which has lyrics by the Texan Don Henley (and guitar by Seger's friend and fellow Michigan native, Glenn Frey).
  • On the album cover, the Hollywood Hills are in the background behind Seger. The photo was taken on the lawn of the house he was renting.

Comments: 11

  • John from GeorgiaJason, it's also possible that he's murdered her.
  • Jason from AntarticaI'm pretty sure the guy in this song commits suicide at the end. The girl has left him and the lyrics at this point in the song: "A passion that kills"
  • Ex Radio Dj John Magnetron from Playa De Las Americas, SpainEx Radio DJ John Magnetron (seriously analogise the song, Hollywood nights by Bob Seger)(where) Here in the Sub Tropical Climate of the Canary Islands, a new Phenomenon has appeared in conjunction with the "chill out Bars" While Power Ballads of old compete for the attention of young woman, such as to say to rival European Football on wide screen TV's in a small amount of bars in Tenerife,from which, emanate Romance rather than macho-ism. Bob Seger's Hollywood nights is a song that can capture the romantic imagination of a man as well as a woman.

    In the Hit Parade that was played to most of Europe, over the decades, The UK Top 40,the first listing appears No 42 on the 30th of September 1978 "Bob Seger - Hollywood nights"
    Subsequently the song in the UK reappears as listed at No49 on the 24th of October 1981 and again as No52 29th of July 1995. And so it is evident that the song never really went away.... From 2000 until 2003 a Scottish Fellow called Lez, would sing the song incredibly well in a Bar called the Royal Oak at Playa Azul in Playa de las Americas in Tenerife as his closing act. But it isn't until 2013 with the power Ballard chill out phenomenon that Hollywood nights has been deemed to be one of the most romantic records ever made. The fast Drum and Base line made the song enjoyable for 'Drive Time on Radio' but the song now presents it's self with the second meaning of the word 'nostalgia' because not everyone remembers the song from 1978 but at sometime in their life where they were presented with a dilemma involving a mad love affair for which they had to preside with caution even although they new that their emotions were out of control. The words "She had a face that would let her get away" may match the false courage of the street touts of this island and the idea that the immigrants are far from home may be a good reason why the song is popular in Tenerife, but it is the idea that "he lost all control" that shakes the soul after coast is mentioned in the responsive mind of a passionate male lover.
    The winding roads that lead up the mountain from the coastal resorts include pine trees as they do in the hills behind Los Angeles, and there is an area of Playa de las Americas that is called Beverly Hills. But the Colour of the landscape and the landmarks couldn't be more different.
    I think any man or woman can relate to the power of Beauty as an over powering force, but it seems that the Diamonds and Frills lour the mind to just that touch of superficiality that could make a romantic bond in any man but the idea of a face of pure beauty seem again to overpower and focus pure emotion over the top of the glamour. I have tried to find out about the song and see if it was written about any one person, and upon first impression, one might think it was incorporated
    with Hollywood fame. But after a few plays it seems it's about an ordinary man and a girl that would certainly turn heads but non the less almost certainly not be famous, even although she might be fairly rich. Now there are High Definition TV's in Chill out, and Lounge bars all over the world, a good video of Bob Segar
    singing this classic is something that I think we will see more of. But for middle aged squeaky clean men that used to like the posing joint, it seems their idea of Romance, is a combination of regrets that they didn't pick the best looking girl like the one they envisage to be the "Hollywood nights Girl"(or perhaps they did and they've lost them over time)or that there is still time yet to enjoy some old music that remind them of days when they were good looking and able to pull, and that there is a chance that they will somehow have an affair where they willingly lose control
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaI love songs about my hometown...
  • Nicole from Alexandria, Vathis is my favorite song of all time. Well done, Mr. Seger, well done.
  • Drew from B\'ham, AlI thought disco would never even get Bob Seger out on the floor! LOL. That was only Chuck Berry; the disco beat is Bob Seger's favorite. So, did Hollywood get to see Seger's set example? Unless Seger had a loose morality I don't know about, the only reason I know of he'd go to Hollywood is to set a good example (or just a vacation, not worried about what other people were doing).
  • Michael Vigil Jr from Newark, CaI was in a trailer playing poker and camping with family at Bass Lake, south of Yosemite, gorgeous place. I had been wake boarding and drinking heavily all day. I was tired and losing my card game. The radio was playing old crap all night long and the clock stuck 12am...all of a sudden I hear this sexy drum section come along with a bass line that was reminsint of CCR. (I'm a drummer)I thought? CCR? Fortunate Son? I was still drunk, but focused more on the beat and bass line, the voice was cool too. I still did not know it was Bob... it was like it was backwards, the snare seemed really cool and the hats were all over the place... 4 days later, all I remember was "Those Hollywood nights" in the chorus and I came home and Googled it.
    There it was.. the lyrics told of a story that was too cool for me. Now, here's where it get's interesting. My girl friend has a girlfriend that's a Playboy model, from Indiana. They Partied in Vegas for a cigar convention a few days prior as "Booth babes" both super hot blondies if you like beach blondes... we'll long story short. Some guy thee had a really hard time getting over the Playmate... it was a passion that almost killed him. He found himself in a Vegas room in his own pool of blood. He couldn't have her, yet he was all over her. He's form the midwest, her, Orange County all the way... Bob was on to something that happends alot in Hollywood to guys...Great song!!
  • Ted from Loveland, CoThis one has been covered by the likes of Olivia Newton John and by Tina Turner on her VHS collection.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiagreat song, always reminds me of a venue we used to go to when i was youngers Maroubra Seals Club
    always played this one at the disco.......

    i now play it at a retro night i do some 25 years later
  • Brian from Grand Forks, NdBob Seger said that he wrote the song in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills... He was looking out over the lights and there was a Time magazine wtih Cheryl Tiegs on the Cover... So, she became the subject of the song... A fictional reletionship between a midwestern boy getting caught up with a star...
  • Jay from Las Vegas, NvOne of my favorite Bob Seger songs. I love the drums in this song. Just now I learned about the overdub and the two sets of drums. Very interesting.
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