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"Old Time Rock and Roll" is a song written by George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones III, and recorded by Bob Seger for his 1978 album Stranger in Town. It was also released as a single in 1979. It is a sentimentalized look back at the music of the original rock 'n' roll era. The song gained renewed popularity after being featured in the 1983 film Risky Business. It has since become a standard in popular music and was ranked number two on the Amusement & Music Operators Association's survey of the Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time in 1996.[1] It was also listed as one of the Songs of the Century in 2001 and ranked No. 100 in the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Songs poll in 2004 of the top songs in American cinema.

"Old Time Rock and Roll"
Bob-seger Old Time Rock single.jpg
Single by Bob Seger
from the album Stranger in Town
B-side"Sunspot Baby"
ReleasedMarch 1979
Format7" vinyl
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)George Jackson, Thomas E. Jones III
Producer(s)Bob Seger
Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Bob Seger singles chronology
"We've Got Tonight"
"Old Time Rock and Roll"
"Fire Lake"



The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who often backed Seger in his studio recordings, sent Seger a demo of the song during the recording of Stranger in Town.[2] He said in 2006 (and also on the "Stranger in Town" episode of the US radio show In the Studio with Redbeard a few years earlier):

All I kept from the original was: "Old time rock and roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul, I reminisce about the days of old with that old time rock and roll". I rewrote the verses and I never took credit. That was the dumbest thing I ever did. And Tom Jones (Thomas E. Jones) and George Jackson know it, too. But I just wanted to finish the record [Stranger in Town]. I rewrote every verse you hear except for the choruses. I didn't ask for credit. My manager said: "You should ask for a third of the credit." And I said: "Nah. Nobody's gonna like it." I'm not credited on it so I couldn't control the copyright either. Meanwhile it got into a Hardee's commercial because I couldn't control it. Oh my God, it was awful!"[3]

However, George Stephenson of Malaco Records claimed:

"Old Time Rock and Roll" is truly [George] Jackson's song, and he has the tapes to prove it, despite Seger's claims that he altered it. Bob had pretty much finished his recording at Muscle Shoals and he asked them if they had any other songs he could listen to for the future.."[4]

The song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama and Sound Suite Studios[5] in Detroit, Michigan. Originally, the Silver Bullet Band was displeased with its inclusion on Stranger in Town, claiming, according to Seger, that the song was not "Silver Bullety". However, upon hearing audience reactions to it during their tour in Europe, the band grew to like the song.[6]

In 1990, Seger joined Billy Joel on one occasion and Don Henley on another to play the song during their concerts in Auburn Hills, Michigan.[7] He also performed the song at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

In popular cultureEdit

The song was featured in the 1983 film Risky Business, starring Tom Cruise. Cruise's character, Joel Goodson, famously lip-syncs and dances in his underwear as this song plays after his parents leave him home alone. In 1986, the song was also featured in the TV series ALF, in a caricature of the aforementioned Tom Cruise scene, in which Alf has similarly been left home alone and trashed the house.[8] Activision created a series of Guitar Hero: World Tour television commercials directed by Brett Ratner based on the scene, each featuring a different set of celebrities lip-sync to the lyrics while using the new instrument controllers. The first ad included athletes Kobe Bryant, Tony Hawk, Alex Rodriguez, and Michael Phelps.[9] The song is also featured in The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, South Park and The Flash.


"Old Time Rock and Roll" achieved substantial album-oriented rock radio airplay[10] and as the fourth single from Stranger in Town, it reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. It was re-released in 1983 after its inclusion in the film Risky Business and reached number 48 on the Billboard chart.[11] The song remains a staple on classic rock radio.

In Australia, the song was released twice and charted for a total of 55 weeks. The first run was in 1983 after its use in the film Risky Business, reaching number 53 on the charts. The second run saw it reach number 3 in late 1987.

Chart performanceEdit

Cover versionsEdit

Singer Johnny Hallyday released a French language version, as "Le Bon Temps du Rock and Roll" in 1979 on his album Hollywood.[15]

Pop singer Ronnie Dove recorded the song in 1987. It was issued as the B side to his single "Heart". It later appeared on his 1988 album From the Heart.

In 2000, the British rock band Status Quo recorded a version of this song for their album Famous in the Last Century. They played it on Top of the Pops and released it as a single which charted in the UK (No. 83) and Norway (No. 4).[citation needed]

"Old Time Rock and Roll"
Single by Status Quo
from the album Famous in the Last Century
GenreBoogie rock, rock and roll
Songwriter(s)George Jackson, Thomas E. Jones III


  1. ^ Kreck, Dick. "Jukebox goes modern, but play list stands the test of time" Denver Post December 16, 1996: A-02
  2. ^ Seger's Greatest Hits album liner notes
  3. ^ Sharp, K.: Classic Rock, Issue 102, page 59. Future Publishing, 2007.
  4. ^ "George Jackson: Songwriter who penned hundreds of soul, rock and r'n'b tunes". The Independent. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  5. ^ Seger's Stranger in Town album credits
  6. ^ Graff, Gary (October 1994). "Bob Seger Tells The Stories Behind The Hits". Detroit Free Press.
  7. ^ Weschler, Tom, and Gary Graff. Travelin Man: on the road and behind the scenes with Bob Seger. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2009.
  8. ^ ALF Season 1, ep.3; "Looking for Lucky!"
  9. ^ "Activision Publishing Unveils Star-Studded Television Ads Promoting The Highly Anticipated Guitar Hero(R) World Tour Launch" (Press release). Activision. 2008-10-24. Archived from the original on 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2008-10-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ "Top FM Rotation" (PDF). Cash Box. New York: Cash Box Publishing Co. Inc. July 8, 1978. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Pop Songs: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 218.
  12. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 452. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.
  13. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles Week ending NOVEMBER 12, 1983". Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ "Le bon Temps Du Rock'N'Roll by Johnny Hallyday". Secondhandsongs. Retrieved 2018-01-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit