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Welcome once again to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In the 1978 classic, “Hollywood Nights,” Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bob Seger tells the story of an unsophisticated Midwestern boy who moves to the West Coast and falls for a bejeweled beauty.
Seger sings, “And those Hollywood nights / In those Hollywood Hills / She was looking so right / In her diamonds and frills.”
In the end, the girl who had “been born with a face that would let her get her way” abandons our hero, leaving him brokenhearted and unsure whether he should pack up and return home.
Seger told the Detroit Free Press in 1994 that he was inspired to write the song while living 2 1/2 months in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills.
“I was driving around in the Hollywood Hills, and I started singing ‘Hollywood nights / Hollywood Hills / Above all the lights / Hollywood nights.’ I went back to my rented house, and there was a Time magazine with [model] Cheryl Tiegs on the cover. I said, ‘Let’s write a song about a guy from the Midwest who runs into someone like this and gets caught up in the whole bizarro thing.’”
Seger noted that the power behind “Hollywood Nights” comes from the use of two distinctively different drum sets playing different patterns and then dubbed over one another. Drummer David Teegarden played one pattern for the initial session, and then recorded a second pattern using a different snare, kick-drum, hi-hat, etc.
“Hollywood Nights” was released as the second single from Seger’s album, Stranger in Town. It reached #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and became an instant favorite among concert-goers.
Born in Detroit in 1945, the multi-talented Robert Clark “Bob” Seger is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Among his many hits are “Night Moves,” “Turn the Page,” “Still the Same,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Against the Wind.” He’s also credited with co-writing the Eagles’ chart-topper, “Heartache Tonight.”
In all, Seger has sold more than 75 million albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.
In the video, below, Seger is joined by country star Jason Aldean in a live performance of “Hollywood Nights.” The lyrics are also here if you’d like to sing along…
“Hollywood Nights”Written by Bob Seger. Performed by Bob Seger and Jason Aldean.
She stood there bright as the sunOn that California coastHe was a Midwestern boy on his ownShe looked at him with those soft eyesSo innocent and blueHe knew right then he was too far from homeHe was too far from homeShe took his hand and she led him along that golden beachThey watched the waves tumble over the sandThey drove for miles and milesUp those twisting turning roadsHigher and higher and higher they climbed
And those Hollywood nightsIn those Hollywood hillsShe was looking so rightIn her diamonds and frillsOh those big city nightsIn those high rolling hillsAbove all the lightsShe had all of her skills
He’d headed west cause he felt that a change would do him goodSee some old friends, good for the soulShe had been born with a faceThat would let her get her wayHe saw that face and he lost all controlHe had lost all control
Night after nightDay after dayIt went on and onThen came that morning he woke up aloneHe spent all night staring down at the lights on LAWondering if he could ever go home
And those Hollywood nightsIn those Hollywood hillsShe was looking so rightIt was giving him chillsIn those big city nightsIn those high rolling hillsAbove all the lightsWith a passion that kills
In those Hollywood nightsIn those Hollywood hillsShe was looking so rightIn her diamonds and frillsOh those big city nightsIn those high rolling hillsAbove all the lightsShe had all of her skills
Credit: Photo by Adam Freese – Mitchell, SD, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.