Bob Seger doesn’t do the things most rock stars do. He’s aged naturally, allowing his hair to gray and his waistline to expand. He’s never released a box set, a memoir, deluxe editions of his own albums, a documentary about his career or even a DVD. Most of his early albums aren’t even in print. There’s a beautiful simplicity to all this, and his career has still managed to flourish. He’s released only a single album in the past 18 years, but he stills packs every arena he plays.
A 79-year-old Michigan fan recently woke up from a five-year coma and instantly asked to see Seger in concert. She got her wish, and even went backstage to meet the man.
Seger lives mainly at his home in Orchard Lake Village, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.
With a career spanning five decades, Seger continues to perform and record today. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. On January 10, 2013, Seger announced another tour in the US and Canada.
Seger played Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 16, 2013.
Some of Bob’s best songs
“Turn the Page” – There have been countless songs about the emotional toll of constant touring, but “Turn the Page” is the best. Bob Seger wrote it while on a particularly hard slog of a tour in 1972. He walked into a gas station in Dubuque, Iowa and all the locals glared at the big guy with the long hair. He’d been traveling the country for years with little to show for it and was extremely frustrated, and he poured all those feelings into the lyrics.
‘Still the Same’ – It took a decade of relentless work, but by 1978, Bob Seger was a full-fledged rock superstar. Live Bullet and Night Moves established him as a commercial force, and by the time Stranger in Town came out in May 1978, he had fans lining up in the stores. The album’s lead-off single was “Still the Same,” and it reached Number Four on the Hot 100. It was tied for the biggest hit of his career until “Shakedown” from Beverly Hills Cop II came out in 1987.
‘Hollywood Nights’ – Bob Seger’s career was on fire in 1978. He was packing arenas from coast to coast, and every single he released raced up the charts. “Hollywood Nights” – the second single from Stranger in Town – is the story of a Midwestern boy who finds himself in the bright lights of Hollywood (much like Seger himself). He meets a beautiful woman “born with a face that would let her get her way.” They have a wild time in Hollywood, until one morning he wakes up alone. (A Michigan girl would never pull such a move.) Despite the broken heart, our Midwestern boy is changed forever and wonders if he can ever go home. The song reached Number 12, but it’s not exactly Bob Seger’s life story. He still lives in Michigan and is as un-Hollywood as one can get.
“2 + 2 = ?” With Vietnam Footage – Framed around a central, Animal-esque hard riff driven by bass guitar, bass drum, and a fuzz guitar line, “2 + 2 = ?” is an explicit protest against the United States’ role in the Vietnam War and the drafting of young men to serve in it who will end up “buried in the mud, off in foreign jungle land.” It also captures the general generational divide of the time: And you stand and call me ‘upstart’ … Ask, what answer can I find? I ain’t saying I’m a genius; Two plus two is on my mind – Two plus two is on my mind. Allmusic writes that “2 + 2” is “a frightening, visceral song that stands among the best anti-Vietnam protests.” The recorded song had a dead stop, or sudden cut to silence, placed near the end. However, on the 45 version, there is a guitar chord added, not because the song needed it, according to segerfile.com, but because “radio stations fear dead air.” Also according to segerfile, it isn’t quite dead, because if you listen closely, someone comes in to break the silence a bit early. It was Seger’s first release with Capitol and under the Bob Seger System name. But as with much of Seger’s early efforts up to that point, the single was a hit in his native Detroit but went unnoticed almost everywhere else in the US. However, in Canada, it was actually a minor chart hit, peaking at #79. The song was subsequently included on Seger’s Ap
‘Beautiful Loser’ – Some songs simply work better live. The title track to Bob Seger’s 1975 LP Beautiful Loser didn’t even crack the Hot 100 when released as a single but in concert that year, it truly came alive, especially when he paired it with “Travelin’ Man.” The two songs merged seamlessly together, becoming a highlight of Live Bullet, taped at Detroit’s Cobo Hall in September 1975. Ten years on the road paid off, and by that point, Seger was a live act almost without peer. The record became a huge hit, and Seger’s faced nothing but success ever since.
“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” – Released early in 1980, Bob Seger’s Against the Wind bumped Pink Floyd’s The Wall off the top spot in the Billboard 200 and scored him a bunch more hits. The title track was the biggest success. It reached Number Five on the Hot 100 and reunited him with Glenn Frey of the Eagles. Just like on “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” Frey sings background vocals – only this time, Frey was in the biggest band in America and not some unknown kid from Detroit.
“Roll Me Away” – Many 1970s rock giants struggled as MTV began taking over the airwaves in the early 1980s, but Bob Seger kept on scoring hits. It helped that he was delivering songs as powerful as “Roll Me Away,” a song about frustration, the desire to flee and finding redemption on the road. It’s been used in many movies, including The Mask and Armageddon. It’s also extremely effective live, and is regularly used as an opener.
“Main Street” – Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band entered the studio in 1976 with a lot of momentum. Live Bullet captured them an audience, and it was time to write those people a batch of new songs. They delivered. Like many tracks on the album, “Main Street” is a nostalgic look at Seger’s younger days. There are many Main Streets in America, but Seger is singing about the one in his childhood town of Ann Arbor. He sings about beautiful dancers and pool-hall hustlers, even though he watched them all from afar. It’s been a regular part of his setlist for decades.
Sources: YouYube, Wiki, Google, Bob Seger System, Rolling Stone