Old Time Rock and Roll

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"Old Time Rock and Roll"
Single by Bob Seger
from the album Stranger in Town
B-side "Sunspot Baby"
Released March 1979
Format 7" vinyl
Genre Rock
Length 3:12
Label Capitol
Writer(s) George Jackson, Thomas E. Jones III, and Bob Seger (uncredited)
Producer(s) Bob Seger
Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Bob Seger singles chronology
"We've Got Tonight"
(1978)
"Old Time Rock and Roll"
(1979)
"Fire Lake"
(1980)
Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock And Roll" from Stranger in Town

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"Old Time Rock and Roll" is a song written by George Jackson and recorded by Bob Seger on his 1978 album Stranger in Town. It was also released as a single in 1979. It is a sentimentalized look back at the music of the original rock 'n' roll era. It has since become a standard in popular music and was ranked number two on the Amusement & Music Operators Association's survey of the Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time in 1996.[1] It was also listed as one of the Songs of the Century in 2001 and ranked #100 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs poll in 2004 of the top songs in American cinema. The song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama and Sound Suite Studios[2] in Detroit, Michigan.

History[edit]

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who often backed Seger in his studio recordings, sent Seger a demo of the song during the recording of Stranger in Town.[3] He said in 2006 (and also on the "Stranger in Town" episode of the US radio show In the Studio with Redbeard a few years earlier):

All I kept from the original was: "Old time rock and roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul, I reminisce about the days of old with that old time rock and roll". I rewrote the verses and I never took credit. That was the dumbest thing I ever did. And Tom Jones (Thomas E. Jones) and George Jackson know it too. But I just wanted to finish the record [Stranger in Town]. I rewrote every verse you hear except for the choruses. I didn't ask for credit. My manager said: "You should ask for a third of the credit." And I said: "Nah. Nobody's gonna like it." I'm not credited on it so I couldn't control the copyright either. Meanwhile it got into a Hardee's commercial because I couldn't control it. Oh my God, it was awful!"[4]

However, George Stephenson of Malaco Records claimed:

"Old Time Rock and Roll" is truly [George] Jackson's song, and he has the tapes to prove it, despite Seger's claims that he altered it. Bob had pretty much finished his recording at Muscle Shoals and he asked them if they had any other songs he could listen to for the future.."[5]

Originally, the Silver Bullet Band was displeased with its inclusion on Stranger in Town, claiming, according to Seger, that the song was not "Silver Bullety". However, upon hearing audience reactions to it during their tour in Europe, the band grew to like the song.[6]

In 1990, Seger joined Billy Joel on one occasion and Don Henley on another to play the song during their concerts in Auburn Hills, Michigan.[7] He also performed the song at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

In popular culture[edit]

The song was featured in the 1983 film Risky Business, starring Tom Cruise. Cruise's character, Joel Goodson, famously lip-syncs and dances in his underwear as this song plays after his parents leave him home alone. The scene is widely regarded as a cinema classic.[citation needed] The sequence was simulated in the teaser trailer for Garfield: The Movie, the 1984 Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "The Victrola Awards" as performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks, and commercials for Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades, Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero: Metallica, and more recently Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero. Activision created a series of television advertisements directed by Brett Ratner based on the scene, each featuring a different set of celebrities lip-sync to the lyrics while using the new instrument controllers. The first ad included athletes Kobe Bryant, Tony Hawk, Alex Rodriguez, and Michael Phelps.[8] Another ad spot featured model Heidi Klum; two versions of Klum's ad exist, one a "director's cut" where she is wearing less clothing.[9] A subsequent commercial featuring model Marisa Miller was banned from airing as too racy.[10]

The song was featured in the TV series ALF, The Nanny, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Growing Pains, Scrubs and South Park. Most recently, the song was sung on the episode "Girls (And Boys) On Film" from American TV series Glee, in a mash-up with Kenny Loggins' song "Danger Zone" from the 1986 film Top Gun, also starring Cruise.

In a running gag called "Hot Sax" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (and before that Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), the host, sidekick and house band take turns miming the song's saxophone solo while a recording of it is played.

The South African trio Mark Haze (from Idols South Africa season seven), Dozi and Ghapi recorded a version on their album Rocking Buddies in 2013.[11]

At 2014 on the opening night of "Mexico tiene talento" (Mexico got talent) Pablo Lopez, a homeless man that sings on the Mexico City subway system debuted at the auditions whit a rendition in a nearly identical voice to that of Bob Segar; causing a total amussement and a golden button for the next stage [12]

Reception[edit]

"Old Time Rock and Roll" achieved substantial album-oriented rock radio airplay and as the fourth single from Stranger in Town, it reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. It was re-released in 1983 after its inclusion in the film Risky Business and reached number 48 on the Billboard chart.[13] The song remains a staple on classic rock radio.

In Australia, the song was released twice and charted for a total of 55 weeks. The first run was in 1983 after its use in the film Risky Business. The second run saw it reach #3 in late 1987.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report[14] 3
Canadian RPM Top 100 31
New Zealand Singles Chart 38
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 28

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kreck, Dick. "Jukebox goes modern, but play list stands the test of time" Denver Post December 16, 1996: A-02
  2. ^ Seger's Stranger in Town album credits
  3. ^ Seger's Greatest Hits album liner notes
  4. ^ Sharp, K.: Classic Rock, Issue 102, page 59. Future Publishing, 2007.
  5. ^ The Independent, George Jackson: Songwriter who penned hundreds of soul, rock and r'n'b tunes, 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013
  6. ^ Gary Graff, October 1994, Detroit Free Press. "Bob Seger Tells The Stories Behind The Hits."
  7. ^ Weschler, Tom, and Gary Graff. Travelin Man: on the road and behind the scenes with Bob Seger. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2009.
  8. ^ "Activision Publishing Unveils Star-Studded Television Ads Promoting The Highly Anticipated Guitar Hero(R) World Tour Launch". Activision. 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  9. ^ Rose, Frank (2008-12-02). "Is Social Advertising an Oxymoron?". Wired. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  10. ^ "Marisa's banned ad "too sexy"". The Sun (UK) (London). 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  11. ^ "rocking buddies, dozi, ghapi, Mark Haze, Album Info, Tracks, Lyrics". Markhaze.co.za. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  12. ^ http://www.eltrece.mx/notas/mexicotienetalento/184545/pablo-lopez-del-metro-a-mexico-tiene-talento
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Pop Songs: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 218. 
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.