Mainstreet (song)

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Single by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
from the album Night Moves
  • "Jody Girl" (US)
  • "Come to Poppa" (UK)
ReleasedApril 1977
Songwriter(s)Bob Seger
Producer(s)Bob Seger, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band singles chronology
"Night Moves"
"Rock and Roll Never Forgets"

"Mainstreet" is a song written and recorded by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. It was released in April 1977 as the fourth single from the album Night Moves. The song peaked at number 24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and has since become a staple of classic rock radio. The song also reached number-one in Canada.[1]

Lyrics and music[edit]

Seger has stated that the street he was singing about is Ann Street, just off Main Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he grew up. There was a pool hall there where they had girls dancing in the window and R&B bands playing on the weekends.[2] He stated "Again, that's going back to the 'Night Moves' situation where I was writing about my high school years in Ann Arbor and what it was like — the discovery, the total naivete and fresh–faced openness that I went through. It was sort of an entire awakening of my life; before that I was kind of a quiet, lonesome kid.".[3]

Ultimate Classic Rock critic Jed Gottlieb cites "Mainstreet" as an example of Seger's love for "beautiful losers."[4] He notes that Seger sings about a "dancer in a downtown dive" rather than the waitresses, prom queens or college girls who would be the subject of other singers' songs.[4] And he notes that unlike in other singers' songs, the singer doesn't try to save or run away with with the girl, but is content to just watch her walk by.[4]

It is in the key of D major,[5] though some may consider it D Mixolydian. During live performances the guitar intro is replaced with a sax intro.


VH1's Mike McPadden selected "Mainstreet" as one of Seger's 10 most essential songs, describing it as "sad, sweet, soulful, and even spooky" for how it evokes the emotions of a hopeful but frustrated young man watching a woman he is too scared to approach.[6] McPadden particularly praises the keyboard playing for how it compliments the song's "melancholy" mood.[6] Classic Rock History contributor Janey Roberts also selected "Mainstreet" as one of Seger's top 10 songs, particularly praising the opening guitar line and describing the song as an "ode to the romantic backstreets of hope and despair" similar to those on Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run album.[7]

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 27, No. 14, July 02 1977". RPM. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  2. ^ Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band Greatest Hits, cd sleeve.
  3. ^ Graff, Gary (October 19, 1994). "Rocker Tells the Stories Behind the Hits". Detroit Free Press. p. 3-C. Retrieved 2018-10-11 – via
  4. ^ a b c Gottlieb, Jed (October 22, 2016). "How Bob Seger Finally Became an Overnight Sensation with Night Moves". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  5. ^ Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p.44. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  6. ^ a b McPadden, Mike (May 6, 2015). "Bob Seger's 10 Most Essential Songs". VH1. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  7. ^ Roberts, Janey (April 3, 2016). "20 Rocking Bob Seger Songs That Influenced A Generation". Classic Rock History. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 4, 1977
  11. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '77 – Volume 28, No. 14, December 31 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

External links[edit]