I have stopped at a lot of garage sales and flea markets in my lifetime and one of the albums I constantly see for sale is Stranger In Town by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. This is one of those classic albums that sold millions and millions of records upon its release and continues to sell in CD form as people have replaced their worn out or missing vinyl LP’s or are discovering Bob Seger for the first time.
Stranger In Town was the follow up to his national break out album Night Moves and it not only solidified his success but increased it. It can be argued which album is the best. I find Stranger In Town to be a little more polished and consistent but feel that Night Moves was more powerful.
This album would be representative of his future releases as it would contain a mixture of ringing rock anthems and poignant ballads. He was now writing most of his material and his topics of escape, loss, restlessness, and longing would resonate with several generations of fans and become known for its blue collar rock ethic.
The album roars out of the gate. “Hollywood Nights” is just pure American rock ‘n’ roll at its best. “Still The Same” follows in the same vein but “Old Time Rock and Roll” would become not only one of his signature songs but one of the ultimate party songs for decades. It was added to the film Risky Business and is associated with the memory of Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear. If you have a pulse it’s one of those songs that makes you want to get up and dance.
“We’ve Got Tonight” is a beautiful love ballad. Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton would have a huge hit with the song but their version pales next to Seger’s emotional delivery. “The Famous Final Scene,” which closes the album, is one of his best ballads as he sings about a relationship ending.
The rest of the material is very strong. There is the beauty of “Till It Shines,” and the rocking “Feel Like A Number” which should be turned up real loud. The two weakest tracks are “Ain’t Got No Money” and “Brave Strangers” and they are well above average.
Stranger In Town has received a lot of play on my stereo system over the course of the last thirty one years. It remains a classic rock ‘n’ roll album and my old vinyl copy will never grace a garage sale.
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