Bob Seger was born in 1945 in Detroit Michigan.
Thirteen years and seventeen hundred miles hence, I was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
In ’62, when Seger was living the experiences that inspired the nostalgic “Night Moves,” I was a mere pre-schooler.
In ’76, when I first heard the song, I was in my late teens – the very age about which “Night Moves” reminisces.
Like so many of my peers, I loved this song. Though he’s known for being a long-haired rocker, many of his best songs are soulful ballads. Of those, “Night Moves” is one of the best. The combination of the rhythmic acoustic guitar and that soft, gravelly voice create a perfect backdrop for a fond remembrance of a time that can never be relived. At the time, I recognized and even appreciated the pathos, but couldn’t possibly fully understand it. My love for the song centered more around its sound than what it expressed.
Yes, I know that the song centers on teenage sex. It’s pretty hard to miss.
And we’d steal away every chance we could
To the backroom, to the alley or the trusty woods
I used her, she used me
But neither one cared
We were gettin’ our share
But the road to coming of age is seldom paved with good decisions.
When this song takes a longing look back, it looks back not on a time of innocence, but rather on a time of discovering a myriad of ways to lose it. It’s an exciting time – the thrill of making our own choices and learning to deal with the consequences.
Fast forward to 1989. Seger is now 44 and his rapid-fire succession of successful albums has slowed to a trickle, and those find but a lukewarm reception. I am now the age Seger was when he wrote “Night Moves.” Now comes the understanding. I have a job, a growing family, a 30-year mortgage and endless responsibilities. And the speed at which my life is moving brings reflective moments, longing for a simpler time.
I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in
Autumn is indeed closing in.
2011. Autumn has come for Bob Seger. At 66, it’s Winter’s chill that he must now feel closing in. I am just a month from my 54th birthday. My wife and I are heading to the Chesapeake Energy Arena where Bob Seger and I will cross paths for the very first time.
It is an evening for remembering – for me, for Bob, and for thousands of gray- and bald- headed folks in the crowd. Nothing stirs the nostalgia like songs from your youth. We sang along and did the dance-in-place thing. It was a good night.
Life moves forward and we must move with it.
We cannot go back and longing to is folly.
All we can do is remember and we should – always.
All these things are blessings from God.
- Turning 30 apparently had quite an effect on Seger. At least three of the songs on the Night Moves album are about looking back.
- If I did my math right, he was 31 when he penned “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” which contains the classic line: “Now sweet sixteen’s turned thirty-one.”
- Bob Seger is now 72 and still touring. You can check out the tour dates here.
Here’s the album on Spotify.