Bob Seger's 'Night Moves:' His Own 'American Graffiti' Moment

By | November 11, 2017

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Bob Seger in London at the start of a British tour with his group, the Silver Bullet Band, 12th October 1977. He is wearing a t-shirt depicting comedian Steve Martin holding his 1977 album 'Let's Get Small'. (Photo Malcolm Clarke/Keystone/Hulton Archive/G

"Night Moves" by Bob Seger is one of the great personal reminiscences in rock music. It tells the story of a young man having his first romantic and sexual experiences with a girl, but it's not at all about true love. A plainspoken account of teenage fumbling, Bob Seger's "Night Moves"  is completely relatable for those who were young in the late '50s and '60s, who were becoming (we are led to believe) more adventurous than their parents had been at their age. It was uncharted territory back then; sex education was rumor and folk wisdom passed around by other young people or older brothers and sisters. But biological urges being what they are, the teens in the song -- and in the country -- somehow figured out what to do.

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Seger drew inspiration for the lyrics to Night Moves from the movie American Graffiti. The movie recounts all-American boys and girls who explored all the possibilities of their new-found freedom and sexuality. After seeing the movie, Seger decided that he would write a song to tell the story about his own experience. He wanted people to know that it was OK to be human and vulnerable. After all, he was an all-American boy who lost his virginity in an all-American car… a '60 Chevy, in fact.

"Night Moves'" lyrics are an autobiographical account of Bob Seger’s “first time.” Although some of the details, for example the year (1960) of the car, were altered, it was a true interpretation of his raw emotions at the time. “Sweet summertime,” refers to a season in his life and being a young man. He recounts a “black-haired beauty, with big dark eyes,” being the object of his pleasure.