How the Detroit rocker scored a monster hit with "All Summer Long"
AUSTIN SCAGGS Posted Aug 21, 2008 12:30 PM
Kid Rock is ruling summer '08: His smash hit "All Summer Long" which mashes up the super-familiar riffs of Lynyrd Skynryd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" has charted on rock, country, top 40 and adult-contemporary radio. Powered by the single, his album Rock N Roll Jesus which came out way back in October 2007 has been climbing the charts, selling over 1.3 million copies and landing at Number Four in late July. "I thought I made a great record to begin with," says Rock, adding that he knew from the get-go that "All Summer Long" was destined to strike a chord. "The record company [Atlantic] wanted to put 'All Summer Long' out last fall, and we screamed at them, 'You cannot do that! We know it's a monster we have to wait until next summer.' "
Since Rock has long refused to sell his music as digital downloads, fans who want to get "All Summer Long" legally, at least have to buy the album. (Other prominent digital holdouts include AC/DC, who have an album coming out this fall, and the Beatles.) "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here," says Rock. "Good music just doesn't go out of style, and if you hear a great song that moves you, you'll obtain it by any means necessary."
" 'All Summer Long' is just instantly familiar," says Justin Chase, a program director in Las Vegas, who is playing the tune on both the adult-contemporary and Jack-FM radio stations he programs. "He's one of those artists that appeals to this huge, wide audience. The fans are young and old, clubgoers and an older generation that enjoyed the raw rock of the Eighties."
As the record industry struggles with weak album sales, Kid Rock's success has execs considering a new strategy. "It's definitely interesting that he's the only artist that's not available on iTunes with a monster hit right now, and we're seeing that kind of a growth," says Livia Tortella, general manager of Atlantic, who acknowledges that the company is considering keeping other artists' singles off iTunes in hopes of building album sales. "It's certainly spurring a lot of debate in our company."
Rock points out a particularly ironic twist to his logic in holding out from iTunes. "It's funny, I have a shitload of stock in Apple I think it's one of the greatest companies in America," he says. "But it's just not very American to me when Apple tells you how they want to sell your product and tell you what it's worth."
[From Issue 1059 August 21, 2008]