Bob Seger credits Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 Born To Run closer, “Jungleland” for inspiring his 1976 masterpiece “Night Moves.” Seger, who due to back surgery, has been forced to postpone his roadwork behind his new album, I Knew You When, spoke about the track in the new issue of Rolling Stone and admitted that Springsteen utilizing two “middle eights” in the song piqued his interest.
Seger explained, “I had the first two verses forever. It took me six months to write it. I just kept coming back to it and was like, ‘Nah, that’s not it.’ Then I heard ‘Jungleland.’ I remember calling (Don) Henley and saying, “Have you heard ‘Jungleland’?” He said he didn’t know if he was into Bruce. I read him the line: ‘They’ll meet ‘neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light.’ It’s still one of my favorite records.”
Seger, who addresses his youth on the new album, was asked about his affinity towards his high school days: “It was probably my favorite time. Up until high school, I was super shy. And then I developed a bunch of friends across town and came out of my shell. After that, it was 12 years of doing 250 to 300 shows a year in various bars, universities and gymnasiums.”
We asked Bob Seger to tell us the backstory to “Night Moves,” which came to define his ’70s era. He told us it was pulled directly from his teen days back in Michigan: “Basically, what we’d do, we’d go out and get in a farmer’s field outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan where I grew up — I was born in Detroit, but I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And there were all these farmer’s fields out there, and we would just pick one at random, hoping that nobody caught us, and put our cars in a circle, and the headlights would shine in on everybody having the party, and we would dance and we would play this guy’s record player — the 45’s, the stuff of the day. And the girls loved the Ronettes records — y’know like, ‘Be My Baby’ and things like that, and we would dance and just go wild out in the field, and we called them ‘grassers.'”
Photo Courtesy of UMe/Lauren Hickey