Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Like a Rock" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

Song#:  2738
Date:  05/24/1986
Debut:  56
Peak:  12
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After a four-year gap, Seger returned with his thirteenth studio album Like a Rock. It's first single, "American Storm," did quite well reaching #13 Pop and #2 Rock. As a follow-up, this big ballad was selected. It would end up peaking one notch higher on each chart than "American Storm," which meant it made it to #1 at Rock. It was Seger's first track to hit that mark. The two hits helped the album get to #3 and it was quickly certified as a platinum seller - Seger's seventh in a row to do so.

ReduxReview:  This smoldering rock ballad weaved a certain spell when it came on the radio. It was one of those songs that folks would turn up and actually listen to especially on a late night summer drive with the windows down. Seger put down and emotive vocal and the band was in prime form. In an era full of synthpop tunes, this one was able to cut a swath right through them and nearly make the Pop Top 10. It was a strong entry in Seger's catalog that would become even stronger in the next decade thanks to a series of commercials (see below).

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Many people relate this song to the popular Chevy truck TV ads. Some probably think that the song was a hit because of the commercials, but in fact the song was a hit nearly five years before its first use in a Chevy ad. The song was commissioned by Chevy in 1991. They were looking for a song that would help express how strong their trucks were but do it in a more meaningful or emotional way that grabbed folk's attention. Seger and his song were the perfect fit and remarkably, Seger agreed to license out his song for the campaign. He initially balked at lending the tune out, but then being from Detroit and urged by fans to do something that recognized the auto workers of his hometown, he relented. It also didn't hurt that Seger's father worked for Ford for nineteen years while Seger himself briefly work in a GM factory. The resulting Chevy ad campaign featuring the song ended up being one of the longest running in history. The song and Chevy trucks became synonymous and ads featuring the tune would run from 1991 through to 2004.


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