Saturday, May 16, 2020

"Shakedown" by Bob Seger

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3135
Date:  05/23/1987
Debut:  52
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Seger and his Silver Bullet Band scored a triple-platinum album with 1986's Like a Rock, which featured four charting singles including the #12 Pop/#1 Rock title-track hit. Following that success, Seger was given the opportunity to record a song for a movie soundtrack. The sequel to the big 1984 box office hit Beverly Hills Cop was set to be released in May of '87 with Eddie Murphy reprising the role of Axel Foley. The first film was accompanied by an equally successful soundtrack album that reached #1, won a Grammy, and generated five Pop chart hits including the #1 instrumental "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer. Obviously, the movie sequel needed a soundtrack sequel and some of the artists and producers who contributed the first soundtrack were asked back including The Pointer Sisters and Faltermeyer. Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey, who had written and produced the #2 "The Heat Is On" performed by Glenn Frey, wrote "Shakedown" for the sequel. While not their first choice to sing the tune (see below), Faltermeyer and Forsey secured Seger for the job. The song would be the first single lifted from the soundtrack album and it was issued out to coincide with the film's release. After a high debut, the single took off and would reach #1. In doing so, it would become Seger's first and only song to hit the top spot on the Pop chart. The hit would help the soundtrack album get to #8 and by the fall it would be certified platinum. The song would later get an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

ReduxReview:  This song, specifically the production, was certainly different for Seger. After years of maintaining his rock 'n' roll sound with the Silver Bullet Band and not necessarily giving in to trends, Seger found himself smack dab in the middle of late 80s-oriented rock with this track. Synths led the way and it kind of resembled a Billy Idol track thanks to Forsey who produced Idol's first three albums. I think there were minor attempts to try and keep Seger's rock sound around with some synth horn/brass line incorporated. It all worked out fine with Seger getting to #1, but I do think it was better suited for the original intended artist (see below). Seger most likely enjoyed having a chart topper, but I don't think he ever considered it one of his best or representative of his sound/career. When his first Greatest Hits collection came out in 1994, the song was left off in favor of lesser hits and two minor unreleased tracks. To be fair, this single was credited as a Bob Seger solo effort and the Greatest Hits LP was credited to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and featured their hits, so excluding the track was technically legit. But it finally made the cut when Greatest Hits 2 came out in 2003. I'm kind of with Seger on this. It was an interesting, fun track, but it didn't really reflect Seger as an artist or even fit well in his catalog. He just stepped in and helped out and walked away with a #1.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When Faltermeyer and Forsey wrote this song, they had intended it for Glenn Frey, with whom they had worked with on "The Heat Is On." Frey signed up for the job, but prior to the recording session for the track, Frey came down with a bad case of laryngitis. With little time to find a big name replacement, Frey suggested asking his friend Bob Seger (Frey was a fellow Detroiter who played with Seger's band in the early days). Seger agreed and came on board. However, Seger didn't like the verse lyrics. He decided to rewrite them while keeping the words to the chorus, which then gave Seger a writing credit. Oddly, hitting #1 with the song seemed to be a bit of a curse for Seger. He would have only one more song reach the Pop chart after this - 1991's "The Real Love" (#24 Pop/#4 AC/#4 Rock) from the album The Fire Inside (#7, platinum). Over the years, Seger's albums would continue to sell well and he would remain a top concert draw through to his 2018 tour, which Seger said would be his final one.



  1. 7/10 for me as well, while "Shakedown" is a very likable song I don't rank it among one of his classics, I find it strange that I don't hear this song on the radio as often as his other hits despite it being his only #1 single, his 1994 Greatest Hits album also didn't have "Shame On The Moon" (#2), "Tryin' To Live My Life Without You" (#5) and "Fire Lake" (#6).

    1. Sometimes when artists have control over what goes on their official compilations, it doesn't always jibe with what happened on the charts. In Seger's case, the balance made it to a Vol. 2, so the tunes finally got recognized.

    2. I was never aware of the fact that the artists have control over what goes on their official compilations, I know not every single makes it on these compilation album which also can get people to buy their actual albums.

    3. Yes, they can be involved. Not always, but artists with clout will certainly have a say in how their "Greatest Hits" albums are done since back in the day these collections were considered "new" releases. This doesn't include label cash-in of catalog collections like the "Essential" series. But something like Madonna's Immaculate Collection was certainly done with her involvement.