There are several Bob Segers and, as a Michigan native, I have been privy to most of them. I bought the early Bob Seger System singles (being too young for his work with The Decibels, The Town Criers, The Omens and The Last Heard); “Heavy Music,” “2 2=?,” “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” “Lucifer” and “Noah” were the frenetic soundtrack to my hormonal years. Seger’s solo career began with the scathing political/cultural diatribe “Looking Back” (among my favorite Seger songs) and a trio of his best albums, the covers-only Smokin’ O.P.’s, Back in ’72 (featuring future classic “Turn the Page”) and Seven (with the roaring Chuck Berry homage, “Get Out of Denver”). To that point, Seger was a regional phenomenon who had flirted with national success.
In 1975, Seger formed the Silver Bullet Band and released Beautiful Loser, featuring the near-hit “Katmandu.” Months later, Seger opened for Bachman Turner Overdrive on their two-night stand at Detroit’s Cobo Hall (I was at the first night’s show) and Seger announced the show was being recorded.
The resulting double album, 1976’s Live Bullet, made Seger a star, hitting the Top 40 and remaining on the charts for over three years.
Six months later, Seger made the Top 10 with his multi-platinum Night Moves, which showed his chops as a reflective and evocative songwriter and launched his long phase as one of Heartland Rock’s elder statesmen. Never following trends, Seger found success on his own terms; as a graphic designer, I learned that Seger had a per-usage contract with Chevy for “Like a Rock,” a savvy and lucrative deal for a guy who used to hump his own equipment.
After selling 10 million copies of his first Greatest Hits collection, Seger took a 10-year hiatus, then began his comeback with his 2005 inductions into the Rock and Roll and Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Halls of Fame and the 2006 release of Face the Promise, which sold over 1 million copies at a time when sales were declining.
Seger’s first new album in five years is reportedly near completion and he might preview new material on this tour, which is selling out nationwide. Forget style shifts, market fluctuations and the 50 years since The Decibels’ first acetate. Bob Seger is absolutely right — Rock & Roll never forgets.
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band plays US Bank Arena Tuesday, April 5 with guests Steel Magnolia. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.