The autobiographical “A Star is Born” nature of Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s 1978 album Stranger in Town is evident even before you listen, starting right there on the cover. It’s a portrait of Bob Seger, framed against the night lights of Los Angeles and Hollywood, as seen from high atop Mulholland Drive. Storied for granting wishes as well as dashing dreams, the Southern California welcome mat covered a trap door to Seger’s success gained with his breakthrough album Night Moves barely eighteen months earlier. But by the time of Bob’s follow-up Stranger in Town, his life had become a game of Chutes and Ladders. While not completely copping to the charge by music writer Dave Marsh that the previously unknown success of Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s 1976 album Night Moves was giving Bob “platinum paranoia” on the follow-up Stranger in Town, Seger did admit to me, “There were certain tracks that gave us fits. ‘Brave Strangers’ was one, actually. We recorded that particular song for eleven days in a row…We recorded one hundred sixty-eight takes of it. And we used take seven!”
“I made half a dozen albums over ten years without any help from anybody, except my manager (Eddie “Punch” Andrews, like Seger from Ann Arbor,MI),” Bob pointed out emphatically. “After I made it with Night Moves, everybody wanted to tell me what to do.”
Bob Seger& the Silver Bullet Band followed up the breakthroughs Live Bullet and Night Moves with May 1978’s Stranger in Town, which has sold over 7,000,000 copies because it contains seminal songs “Hollywood Nights”,”Old Time Rock and Roll”,”Still the Same”,”Feel Like a Number”,” ‘Til It Shines”, and “Brave Strangers”.
Bob Seger is the guy you would want as your next door neighbor or your brother-in-law. You know, to talk about crabgrass over the backyard fence , & whether the Detroit Tigers are going to have a good year in baseball, and whether to sell the Harley now that your mandatory eyeglasses interfere with the face shield. Important stuff like that. It is that level of success, which continued into the Eighties with Against the Wind , which strikes fear into the heart of crabgrass wherever it grows. – Redbeard