In 1978, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band band released their second album together, Stranger in Town.
The record — which saw the band continuing the hot streak they started two years earlier with Night Moves — was a massive, immediate hit that boasted some of Seger’s most memorable tunes, including the jukebox staples “Still the Same,” “We’ve Got Tonite” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Stranger in Town peaked at No.4 on the Billboard charts and within weeks of its release was certified platinum (it would eventually surpass that benchmark 5 more times).
In 2019, we interviewed the Detroit icon during his farewell tour, and he told us the surprising origin story of another Stranger in Town highlight, “Hollywood Nights.”
“It’s very seldom that I’m driving in a car and something rolls into my head and that song did,” he says. “I was out in Los Angeles and I was just beginning to record Stranger in Town. I had a house out in the Hollywood Hills just above La Cienega on Miller above Sunset Strip. I could see the city from my house. I’d be driving up there in the Hollywood Hills just driving along and then suddenly (recites lyrics), “Hollywood nights, Hollywood Hills, above all the lights, Hollywood nights.” It just came right into my head. So I turned right around and drove home (laughs) and I’m singing this in my head thinkin’, ‘Don’t forget it, don’t forget it! Don’t turn on the radio!’ (laughs) I get home and I sing it into my little cassette recorder. Okay, that’s a good start. It’s high energy and it’s gonna be fun and the girls are gonna sing it like crazy (Laura Creamer and Shaun Murphy). I’ve been singing with these gals for the last 38 years, ever since 'Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man' and they’re gonna nail it. That was one that came out of nowhere.”
Below, watch Seger & The Silver Bullet Band deliver a rousing rendition of “Hollywood Nights” at their 1978 tour stop in San Diego, Calif.