Toronto Mike

Bob Seger's Night Moves' Toronto Birth

"Night Moves" was a hit for Bob Seger in 1977, although it was released in December 1976. The song spent 21 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #4 on March 12, 1977. It's objectively a great song, and it's got quite the Toronto connection.

"Night Moves" was recorded at Nimbus Nine Studios in Toronto, Ontario. Seger and the Silver Bullet Band had gone there for three days to record a few tracks with The Guess Who's producer Jack Richardson at the request of Seger's manager, who wanted him to produce a more "commercial" song. The band quickly recorded two Seger originals and a cover of the Motown hit "My World Is Empty Without You", but before Seger left on the third day, he composed a fourth song to record. He had been "waiting on the right moment" to record "Night Moves", as he feared a saxophone, performed by Alto Reed, would not complement it, and that lead guitarist Drew Abbott's playing would not be satisfactory. Richardson remembered Seger first playing the song at a piano in his office, though Seger did not feel it was good enough to record. Seger instead remembered that Richardson was not sold on the song at first. As the only members of the Silver Bullet Band still in Toronto were bassist Chris Campbell and drummer Charlie Allen Martin (plus Seger on acoustic guitar and piano), Richardson recruited Joe Miquelon to play electric guitar and Doug Riley to perform organ, while Sharon Lee Williams, Rhonda Silver and Laurel Ward sang the song's trademark backing vocals.

The song was completed in fewer than ten takes, with the session dispersing momentarily to record the bridge section that consisted solely of Seger and a guitar. Paul Cotton of Poco was brought in to record a guitar solo that was later edited out, though the last notes of it are faintly audible preceding the last verse. The team stayed at the studio until 2:30 in the morning to get the song right. After the tracks were mixed by Richardson and engineer Brian Christian, Richardson said that he received a call from Seger's manager/producer Punch Andrews expressing dissatisfaction with the tracks, and Andrews said that Capitol Records had been equally disappointed. A few months later, when Richardson was talking to a Capitol A&R executive, he asked about the Seger sessions and was told that "both tracks" were potential B-sides. It turned out that Seger and Andrews had never given "Night Moves" to Capitol, so Richardson did and, after hearing it, Capitol made it the title track of Seger's next album, as well as the first single.
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