Night Moves

Album: Night Moves (1976)
Charted: 45 4
  • 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."
  • 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've a story to tell too. Nobody has ever told about how it was to grow up in my neck of the woods." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Christine - Chicago, IL
  • 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.
  • Seger wrote this song over a period of about six months. 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 Michigan famous ever since his first album in 1969, which had the solid 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.

    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kara - Raleigh, NC
  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Darrin - Hilo, HI
  • "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.
  • This was used in a big scene in the 1981 animated movie American Pop, where a young rocker named Pete plays it for record executives. It also plays in the films All Nighter (2017) and FM (1978). "Night Moves" has appeared in a number of TV shows as well, including:

    Supernatural ("Baby" - 2015)
    Ray Donovan ("Uber Ray" - 2014)
    Family Guy ("Meg Stinks!" - 2014)
    How I Met Your Mother ("Home Wreckers" - 2010)
    The O.C. ("The Proposal," "The Heartbreak" - 2004)
    That '70s Show ("Punk Chick" - 1999)
    Knight Rider ("Short Notice" - 1983)

Comments: 49

  • Melinda from AustraliaThis song evokes a time and place that will never come again. Most people commenting here would know what I mean.
    The era we lived in when this song came out was totally different, socially and in terms of technology.
    You really could steal away to the woods and do things no one would ever come to know of. Private things remained private. Even in 1977.
    And so, there was less hurt in my opinion, in regards to infidelity.
    Not that I did that stuff. But when people are young they are entitled to make mistakes. That they actually enjoyed.
    So as we know, this song was based on a actual girl he knew who was cheating with him in the early 1960’s.
    The reason it remained a wonderful memory for Bob Sefer is probably because it remained a passing love affair.
    Had he married her...... well, so many people started divorcing in the 1970’s. For the 1st time in history, it was unprecedented.
    So , It’s unlikely she would have remained a ‘wonderful ‘ memory.
    I feel in the song, there’s regret he didn’t marry her. But we all have regrets. And I think that’s the attraction of the sadness of this perfect song.
  • Jl from EarthThere are two references to "points" in the first verse: shoes and bosom. Back then we wore Ban-Lon shirts, tight jeans and pointed boots like the black musicians wore on stage. And I did have a dark-haired girlfriend, Italian. We were using each other. Trying things out. What can I say? Night moves! The song was sexy, but in a subtle way.

    I really liked the title because it was two-edged. It had a duality to it. "Workin' on our night moves"—our moves with girls—and "Ain't it funny how the night moves"—what you remember as you're getting older. Bob Seger confirmed in a WSJ interview what he meant.
  • Wolfgang from California"Points on her own, sitting way up high, way up firm and high." I think he is referring to her breast.
  • Bob Malone from Franklin, VaThis song was popular during a very depressing time in my life, I felt that Bob was singing it to me. I had rode across country just before Christmas 1976 to visit my girlfriend and found out half way during the trip that she just had a baby (I was not the father). Two days before Christmas I contemplated committing suicide by jumping off a 12th floor balcony at Holiday Inn. I didn't. The line that is reminiscent of that depressing moment is "You have too much to lose, with autumn closing in". Ironically other songs popular during that time frame were Blue Oyster Cult "Don't Fear The Reaper" and ELO "Livin' Thing".
  • Steve from OttawaOne of the best songs by anyone, ever. Thempiano is gorgeous, absolutely completes the song. The lyrics, like those of "Like a Rock", remind us of easier, simpler times, of the excitement and promise and difficulties of growing up.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny'Tight pants, points, hardly renowned'; thanks, now I know what points are...
    But when he sings 'And points all her own sitting way up high, way up firm and high'; I just can't imagine what he is referring to???
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 6th 1977, "Night Moves" by Bob Seger peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on December 5th, 1976 at position #85 and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 6 of those 21 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #5 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
    Was track two on side one on his ninth studio album, 'Night Moves', the album peaked at #8 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks on the album also made the Top 100; "Mainstreet" (#24) and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" (#41)...
    Mr. Seger will celebrate his 69th birthday in two months on May 6th (2014).
  • Rome from Drummonds, Tn, TnI'm over 40 now. But, I'll never forget Fall 1985. I grew up in Seattle. I had a girlfriend who was beautiful with a cute voice that would melt my heart. When I first kissed her at the State Fair, I felt so alive. I still recall passionate kisses on the hood of my car, just kissing. The kisses in the car were hot deep and heavy. Eventually I did everything with her. I couldn't get enough of her. My life was at its peak. I competed for a state championship and had a gorgeous girlfriend. However, fate cruely only gave me a year with her. She wanted other things and I wasn't one of those things anymore. Only a year later and it all came down. It took me years to get over it.
    I did find love again 5yrs later with my wife of 20 years, I traveled the world, reached goals that I never though I could, produced a wonderful son. But, when I smell the fall air or listen to an 85' song of that fall and my heart drops a little. Night Moves and Against the Wind seem to always find their way to my ears and I sit and remember with a smile, a tear, happiness, sadness and wonder. I'm thankful, regretful and think sometimes what could have been.
    I wish everyone could have had my 1985 but wouldn't wish my worst enemy a Fall of 86.
    "I woke up last night to the sound of thunder, How far off I sat and wondered, started humming a song from 1962. Aint it funny how the Night moves when you don't have as much to lose. Strange how the night moves. With Autumn closing in........"
    Rome delasAlas, Seattle WA
  • Ed from Canton, Oh"Tight pants, points, hardly renowned," might refer to how HE dressed but "points way up firm and high" do not refer to how SHE dressed.
  • Terry from Grafon, WiI love this takes me back. Although I am currently 28, I grew up on classic rock music. Bob Seger was indeed one of the artists that I would listen to and I always loved the song Night Moves, along with an assortment of other Seger songs (Against the Wind, Beautiful Loser, etc). It has much more significant meaning now.
    When I was a 16, I had a friend who was a guy. We both worked at the local retail store together. He was "a little too tall, coulda used a few pounds". But I liked him regardless. Nothing ever seemed to work out for him and I. When he was single, I was with someone. When I was single, he was with someone. Years and years passed and we became adults. Both went to college, and somewhat kept in contact, consistently floating in and out of each other's lives. One summer, I went through a terrible break up and he was there for me. Every night, it was him and I hanging out under the stars, driving around aimlessly, or just hanging out at the swings at a park. I was 22, he was 21. He lived right down the street from my parents and we would take walks in the dark with the fireflies under the bright 3am moon, talking about the awkward stage we were at in life. We never went out and did anything spectacular, but that summer was one of the best of my life, even though I was heartbroken for most of it. It was the sweet summertime....and we were just so young and restless and bored. It was the last real summer I had of being an irresponsible college student, and I got to spend every night with him. It was wonderful.
    Years and years later, we started hanging out again. And we finally started practicing our night moves, after all the years of waiting. We're two people who could never be together because we're so different and "we weren't in love, we're so far from it...", but that doesn't mean we couldn't have a little fun. I've known him since I was 16, now I'm 28. And I love to remember that summer of heartbreak and happiness....Lord do I always seems that at some of the worst times of your life, you can look back at and remember the good. He was definitely the good in the summer of 2005.
    Thank you Bob Seger.
  • Lisa from Eveleth, Mnon my cd's notes it says this song was done in just one take....... pretty cool.
  • Valentin from Beijing, ChinaBarry from NY, this is not a surprise, cuz Rolling Stone mag is a bunch of c.r.a.p. Bob Seger rocks!
  • Peterm from Birmingham, United KingdomAlways liked the song, but never understood it; good to read all the stuff. It rolls along, one of those songs you have to stop and listen to. A bit timeless, will still be listening in years to come.
  • Brian from Boston, MaTo Barry in New York City.Bob Segar sometimes does not get the respect he deserves.If I remember correctly it took a few times before he was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame.[witch is a joke anyway] Rolling Stone pisses me off sometimes.I remeber they picked Aretha Franklin once as the best singer of all time.R.U. s--tting me? Even if it was the best female singer of all time she should not have won.To put her ahead of Lennon ,Mccartney Elvis [I'm not a big fan of Elvis but he has a better voice than Aretha] Freddie Murcury [Like him or not he had a great voice]is an absolute joke.
  • Barry from New York, NcIt is hard to believe that ROLLING STONE magazine did not cite the NIGHT MOVES album as one of the top 500 greatest albums of all time. It is definitely within the top 100.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaThis great song reminds me of my first girlfriend growing up. Damn, she was fine!!.Everytime I hear it it takes me back..
  • Sophie from London, United KingdomI consciously heard this song for the first time today and its had such an impact on me I've been listening over and over since. I'm remembering the good times and the all the time wasted since.
    Ken, your story has touched me; Kel is alucky woman.
  • Lester from Seabrook, NhThe short film was by "Gary Weiss" aired on SNL when I was 12 years old. I'm 45 now (2008)...I had older brothers & sisters that watched the show and we were up late and "Night Moves" came on. Everyone else was asleep, and there I was, watching this beautiful Black Woman in a white negligee just smoking hot. A fan was blowing the satin sheets and some sort of back-drop..........It seemed timeless to me and poignant.......and I was 12..........I've never forgotten it, it's a great song and a great film.

    Lester Long
  • Jeff from Chicago, GaI remember the SNL video Vignette too as a kid.. also i thought seger was black prior to videos being released.. This song is a masterpiece. Ironically he told Costas on "Later" that he didn't like it too much and Sprinsteen told him it was the best he'd heard
  • Susan from Westchestertonfieldville, Vathis gets a lot of radio play, but still remains a song I can always listen to, especially in the car. I love the reminisence of it all. It reminds me of riding around with my late boyfriend...."We were just young and restless and bored "
    Ken.... I know exactly how you feel when it comes to hearing a song and some how a certain moment in life can make a song that much better or that much louder in your singing. RIP VRM
  • Vernon from Trinidad, Wi, OtherBob finally made a video of this to promote his 1994 Greatest Hits album. Matt LeBlanc was the star of the video directly prior to starting work on "Friends"
  • Darrell from Eugene, United StatesAlthough my girlfriend does not have black hair or brown eyes, she is a beautiful young lady with extremely long straight sable-brown hair and dark blue eyes. She is no longer a virgin, but I have nothing to do with it.
  • Lori from Loveland, Ohwhere's the comments posted at?
  • William David Snyder from Phoenix, AzPeople from Canada like to talk eh.I have my seats for Bob at Conseco feildhouse Indianapolis,Indiana.I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Steven from Sunnyvale, CaIf you don't mind a little bathroom humor, Bob Rivers ( did a nice parody titled "Bowel Moves" with some lovely lyrics:
    "I was a little too stuffed had to lose a few pounds;
    Pants too tight seams bustin' out..."
    "Out there in the bathroom where the air gets heavy;
    Sat on a cold seat thought I was ready;
    Workin' on crosswords and readin' the news;
    Workin' on a bowel move;
    Tryin' to move some backed-up drive-through food;
    Workin' on a bowel move;
    And it was takin' time..."
  • Austin from Charlotte, Nceverytime i go through a break up i listen to this song. this song might not have lyrics that go along with a break up but its just the perfect break up song in my mind. i also recomend love hurts by nazereth when going through a break up.
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, Canadai was born in 1989 and i can appreciate this as a top 500 rock and roll song...rolling stone really %$#@^ed that list up. more than a feeling #500? no Bob Seger? no way
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkI remember the filmmaker's name: Gary Weis.
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkThe first time I heard this song was on Saturday Night Live. Seger wasn't on the show, but in the early days they used to show these short films by a guy whose name now escapes me, and he basically made a music video of this song (this was a few years before MTV). The film showed a young woman, presumably the one in the story of the song reminiscing about the event from her own point of view, and pining over a member of the SNL cast (Garrett Morris I think, but I'm not sure - this was thirty years ago). Anyay, I thought the song was really cool and have liked a lot of Seger's stuff since as well.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaYeah, I always thought he was black too. And i also thought he was the guy who sang Gimme the Beat boys... Go Ken! Yeah! You have got the most response on this forum, even passing the guy who said, "Neil Young can't write songs for %^&*" or the guys who said "Paul McCartney was a hack." and yur responses were all good. I'm gonna read your story again!
  • Elysia from Hamilton, New ZealandKen that's an awesome story, you painted an awesome picture in my mind and I think it's great that this song can be like a capsule capturing in and holding such a memorable part of your life for you. Music is some beautiful sh*t and you have summed up a small part of it with perfection. All the best for you and your wife. Hey maybe you should be a writer?? =)
  • Robin from Birmingham, AlScott, the Dobie Gray "Drift Away" lyric is, "Gimme the BEAT, boys, and free my soul..." He's instructing the band members (specifically the drummer) to start playing a beat/rythym/cadence to signal the beginning of a song performance. (I'm not a musician but I believe it's a common practice among them.) You can also hear an example of this at the beginning of Janet Jackson's "Nasty."
  • Derek from Brampton, CanadaWow! I can't believe that any of you were from the '70's or you were not listening to this type of music at the time. I first heard of him with the release of his Smoking OP's in the very early 70's. I lived in Toronto Canada so ge would not be loval to me. His version of Bo Diddly was played here very often.
  • Elly from Columbus, Ohawwe ken that is so cute
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaNice, Ken.
  • Scott from Chicago, IlI could have sworn bob segar was black when I first heard this....don't forget he was a virtual
    unknown nationally until night moves....was surprised when I found out he was white....sounded to me a bit like dobie grey
    singing "drift away"---"give me the beach boys,
    and free my soul, i wanna get lost in some rock and roll and drift away"...actually the theme,
    vocals, and harmonics are pretty darn similar
    between the two songs.....I remember thinking
    it was dobie grey singing night moves at first
  • Victor from Vienna, Vawow ken that was great. I'm almost in tears. What the world needs is more of these kinds of stories
  • Julian from Oakland, ArThe person who mentiond no Seger song in the Rolling Stone 500 was absolutely right. "Night Moves" "Like A Rock" "Old Time Rock & Roll" "Turn The Page" "Against The Wind" and "Mainstreet" are all in my top 500.
  • T. from Lahore, PakistanIf this was the Rolling Stone magazine's Single Of The Year for 1977, how come it did not make the 500 greatest songs listed by that publication last year? In fact, disappointingly, none of Bob Seger's songs or albums made Rolling Stone's recent two "500 greatest" lists while a lot of other crap which in no way qualifies as Rock or even Pop was included there. Go figure that.
  • Shell from Riverdale, GaThanks, Ken. Many more happy years for you and Kel.
  • Margie from Kalamazoo, MiThank you, Ken, for a great love story. How refreshing to know that true love does exist and that you are still married and happy after 16 years. Wishes for many, many more!
  • Larry from Aurora, KyPoint's were pointed toed shoes that enjoy a spat of popularity in Detroit in the 60's and ruined a lot of young mens feet!
  • York from Belleville, CanadaThe local guitar player from Toronto was my step-brother. His name is Joe Miquelon, and still lives in Toronto! He laid down the tracks and never did meet Seger!
  • Ken from Lasalle, CanadaAn interviewer asked Seger what song from '62 he was humming. The answer was the Ronettes "Be My Baby". when he wrote the song, the internet wasn't around, he would have known "Be My Baby" wasn't released until 1963.
  • Ken from Lasalle, CanadaThis song peaked at #8 on the charts, and spent 90 weeks there.
  • Tammy from Auckland, New ZealandYou are a man truly blessed.
  • Greg from Little River, ScPeace Ken, Peace
  • Barbara from Marshall, ArThat is a beautiful story. Thank you, Ken for sharing that.
  • Ken from Lasalle, CanadaNot long ago, I was heading home from work. On the way home, I encountered a detour that would take me 20 minutes out of my way home. I was angry, as, the garbage had to be brought out, darkness was coming earlier these days, and the front lawn needed to be raked. Lost in my reverie about these tasks, I found myself at the stoplight at the intersection of of Riverside Drive, and Caron Avenue. I live in WIndsor, Ontario. The river the avenue runs along is the Detroit River. It was there I heard the song, only this time, it was in my head.
    It was summer of 1985. My girlfriend and I had gone down to the local "Freedom Festival" (an annual festival celebrating the goodwill that exists between Canada and the U.S). We rode a couple of the rides, ate a couple of cotton candies, and blew a few bucks at the 'Pitch-'till-u-win' booth. We had been going out for a year, and were getting pretty serious in our relationship. I was thinking about ways of approaching the idea of marriage. Eventually, I asked her if she would be interested in looking at engagement rings at the downtown jewlery shops, and she said "Sure!" with a smile. We looked for the better part of the afternoon, and eventually found the one she liked. I plopped down a downpayment (pitifully small on what seemed like something I'd never be able to afford to pay off). What we did for the remainder of the day escapes me now, but it was the ride home after dropping her off that night I'll never forget. The ride home was usually a 20 minute hike down Riverside drive, which eventually turns into Highway 18, and a short turn to my house. That night, it was hot. Sticky, muggy hot. The smell of new summer in the air. And I was on top of the world. My girl said yes, she would marry me. I was at the intersection of Riverside and Caron waiting for the light. The Detroit skyline off to my right. In my Dad's car. A 1973 Plymouth Valiant, deep green, vinyl seats and an AM radio. The disc jockey said "AM 5-8-0, CKWW.... It's 2 AM". I have heard the song on an expensive home stereo, and I have heard the man sing it live (from the good seats, too). But it never sounded better to me than it did that night, coming through those cheap, tinny, factory speakers. those rich strummed chords, and that husky voice. "I was a little too tall, coulda used a few pounds, tight pants, points, hardly renouned..." I sang along with Bob, happier that night, than I ever had been. That the song was recorded not far from here, lends to the story.
    I got home late because of the detour, but in a different frame of mind. The leaves got raked, and the garbage still got out. Kel and I have been married for almost 16 years. 16 years, one child, a couple of different addresses, a few deaths and births, some decent vacations, 5 or 6 cars later, and I eventually paid off that engagement ring. And we are still together, me and her.. I came to learn that detours aren't always a bad thing.. As I write this, I see it is 12:30 AM. I am gonna go upstairs and see if Kel wants to practice some night moves. And that's a good thing.

    Like Seger says, indeed, ain't it funny how you remember.....

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