Bob Seger would release Against The Wind in February of 1980. Following on the heels of Night Moves and Stranger In Town, it would complete the trilogy of his most famous and commercially successful albums. It would also be his only album to top the American charts, spending six weeks at Number One.
Bob Seger was now far removed from the raw and energetic journeyman rock & roller of just five year previous. His sound now had a slickness that had not been present on his earlier albums. He had developed a groove that would serve him well for the rest of his career and, while he may not have advanced creatively, the album was well crafted, melodically and lyrically strong, and ultimately a brilliant slice of seventies rock.
While most people remember the album for its ballads, two of the rock numbers would make my top five list of his songs. “Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight” and “Horizontal Bop” both deal with sex and Seger’s vocal and amusing lyrics are just a joy. “Betty Lou” is both frenetic and melodic at the same time and Seger is at his rocking best.
The album produced three mid-tempo ballads that became Top Twenty hits and solidified him as one of the most popular artists of the era. “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” is a beautiful love song with an emotional vocal. “Against The Wind” is timeless and sets a tone of longing and looking back much like “Night Moves” did prior. “Fire Lake" is smoother than the other two and flows easily along.
Even some of the lesser-known material stands out. “Her Strut” should be called Seger’s Strut. “Long Twin Silver Line” is an excellent example of smooth, late seventies/early eighties rock ‘n’ roll that was in vogue at the time.
Against The Wind is Bob Seger at the height of his popularity. It is also a signature album from the era and many of the songs still receive airplay today. It remains a wonderful example of straightforward, blue-collar rock ‘n’ roll.
It’s late and I’m a grandfather but somewhere Betty Lou’s on the prowl and I can still smile at the thought.