LAMONT’S MUSIC NOTES-APRIL 2, 2020…IT WAS APRIL 2ND 1979 AND BOB SEGER RELEASED THE SONG THAT HAD TOM CRUISE DANCING IN HIS UNDERWEAR ! FORTY YEARS AGO BOB SEGER AND THE SILVER BULLET BAND RELEASED THE SINGLE ‘OLD TIME ROCK & ROLL’. THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW SONGS SEGER RECORDED THAT HE DIDN’T WRITE. IT WAS WRITTEN BY THE SONGWRITERS GEORGE JACKSON AND THOMAS JONES WHO WORKED AT THE STUDIO WERE THE SONG WAS RECORDED. SEGER DID WORK ON THE LYRICS, ALTHOUGH HE DIDN’T TAKE ANY OF THE CREDIT. ACCORDING TO SEGER HE WAS FEELING GENEROUS THAT DAY AND DIDN’T TAKE ANY OF THE CREDIT. THIS MEANS SEGER DOESN’T CONTROL THE PUBLISHING RIGHTS TO THE SONG, AND JACKSON AND JONES CONTROL WHEN IT’S USED IN COMMERCIALS AND MOVIES. ACCORDING TO SEGER, HIS GENEROSITY WAS “THE DUMBEST THING I EVER DID.”
JERRY MASTERS WHO WAS THE RECORDING ENGINEER AT THE MUSCLE SHOALS RECORDING STUDIO AT THE TIME OF THE RECORDING REMEMBERS THE MAKING OF THE SONG IN AN INTERVIEW: “We cut a demo on the writer of the song, George Jackson, there at the studio when we didn’t have anything else to do. It was a great demo, along with some others we cut that day. Seger liked the song so much he tried to cut it himself, but after numerous tries, with the Swampers and with his band, he finally gave up. He and Punch Andrews decided to buy the demo track from us and put his vocal on it, and that ended up being the record. It’s a classic. We also did ‘Night Moves,’ ‘Katmandu,’ and several more that were on the Silver Bullet Band LP. So the classic ‘Old Time’ was in reality a demo we cut on the writer a couple of years earlier. We had been recording with Bob for some time by then. We knew that Bob didn’t really cut other people’s stuff very much, but we thought, well, there’s a chance. So we sent it to Bob. He liked it, wanted to make a couple of changes to make it suit him a little bit more. So he came back in and re-recorded the song with us and also recorded it with his band, the Silver Bullet Band, and it just never came off. And so he ended up putting his voice on our demo, the demo that we had done at our Studio B with George Jackson. They just took George’s voice off, put Bob’s voice on there, and that’s the hit record.”
THE SONG TOOK OFF AFTER IT WAS FEATURED IN THE MOVIE RISKY BUSINESS. AS FOR SEGER’S FEELING ON HIS SONG BEING CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH AN UNDERWEAR CLAD TOM CRUISE, SEGERE SAYS HE “GETS A KICK OUT OF IT”
HERE’S SEGER PERFORMING THE SONG FOR A HOMETOWN CROWD IN DETROIT IN 1983.