A "Summer" to remember for Kid Rock

Mon Sep 1, 2008 7:17pm EDT
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By Ray Waddell

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - A decade into his major-label career, Kid Rock is riding his biggest wave yet, powered by his worldwide hit tune "All Summer Long."

It's an old-school success story of patience, working the road, sticking to a plan and selling albums instead of digital singles.

The third single from his chart-topping album, "Rock N Roll Jesus," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last October and is currently at No. 2, "All Summer Long" is a tale of young summer love and partying, spiced with an inspired mash-up of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."

"I thought it would work. I really believe in the power of 'Sweet Home Alabama,"' the Detroit rocker says. "To be able to start with that as a motor to build a car around and give it a beautiful paint job and everything else, it's a good place to start."

The single is his first Billboard Hot 100 airplay hit since "Picture" in 2003; and has gone top 10 at Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40. It also reached No. 1 in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Kid Rock's Atlantic Records label overcame the temptation to release "All Summer Long" as the album's first single, especially while there was still snow on the ground in Rock's native Michigan.

"We knew the ace in the hole was 'All Summer Long,' but we had to be patient," says Ross Schilling, Rock's co-manager at Vector Management.

Waiting until the following summer allowed a solid plan to be built. "Jesus" had already sold 1 million records and spawned the singles "So Hott" and "Amen," and Rock was on a hot tour before "Summer" ever hit.   Continued...

<p>Singer Kid Rock (L) performs with Johnny Van Zant (R) and his band Lynyrd Skynyrd on ABC's "Good Morning America" in New York August 22, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>