The Seger File

An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger Last updated May 1999 Edited by Scott Sparling

Nine Tonight

September 1981


Reached #3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

Seger: "People think a live album is a cinch to put together, but it can be real tough. It took months and months to get the album right." Dennis Hunt, January 16, 1983, L.A. Times. "Seger: Hard Work and Low Profile"

Some tracks were recorded at Pine Knob outside Detroit, but weren't used. For the material from Cobo Arena and Boston Gardens that was used, Seger recorded three new vocals, some backup vocals and polished up one guitar part.

My Take

There's a bar in Seattle called The Comet that is the center of the known universe. Many of life's great mysteries are explained in the grafitti that covers the Comet's walls. One of the truest things I ever read was written there, above the pool table: "This sentence no verb." That's the Comet, through and through.

Back in my Seattle days, I'd pay a visit to The Comet whenever my great good friend and Seger-DEWliner Randy came to town. One such fine Sunday morning, Randy and I were tossing back a few, and tossing quarters at the tips pitcher behind the bar, in advance of heading out to the airport, where Randy was catching a plan. When Nine Tonight began to play over the bar's speakers, I was first happy, then amazed: It wasn't the normal Nine Tonight. There was a lot more talking involved in the introduction to "Trying to Live My Life Without You." Like I said, there was a plane to catch -- we had to leave before the song even ended -- but I'm sure it was some sort of alternative take.

Naturally, I made the run to the airport and returned to The Comet. By then, different music was playing. A different bartender was behind the bar. I asked if he could put on Nine Tonight. If you can find it, he said. At which point he brought out a beer case filled with unsorted and unlabelled cassettes, implying that it was one of many such cases. Suffice it to say, I never found the tape, and it has always haunted me....Did I really hear a different version? Or were my ears playing tricks on me? One thing is certain, it has led me to purchase many more copies of Nine Tonight in various formats and packaging over the years. You'd be amazed at how many different ways Nine Tonight has been packaged for release. It almost makes me wonder if it's not just a cagey marketing strategy: send one alternate take of the album to The Comet, and then rely on suckers like me to buy the album ten times over, searching for that elusive version. Bingo: Quintuple Platinum.

The only other thing I'll say concerns the lack of "Let-its." The string of high-energy, time-lag, stop-action, freeze-frame "let-it, let-it, let-it, let-it, let-its" was always a highlight of Seger's live show. The Nine Tonight version of "Let It Rock" ends with just two. And two just don't do.

And as for reaching on down to your Boston soul...ah, well, let it ride. And rock.


Trying To Live my Life Without You

The single charted at # 5

Seger said he recorded this Otis Clay song to show how the Eagles had ripped off the melody in "The Long Run."

Nine Tonight

Seger: "'Nine Tonight' was written for Against the Wind, but it didn't make it on, after exactly 161 mixes over the course of two weeks. Then Irving Azoff wanted it for the Urban Cowboy album, and still I couldn't let it go. I said yes, but at the last minute I told Punch no, and my phone number was changed so Irving couldn't scream at me, since he had the jackets all printed up and the album at the plant, ready to be mastered. Finally, I gave in, and it became such a popular song on the road in 1980 that I felt compelled to name the live LP after it." Timothy White, April 1983, Musician. "The Roads Not Taken."

WindMain MenuThe Distance
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