Bob Seger: Wikis


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Bob Seger

Bob Seger in 2007
Background information
Birth name Robert Clark Seger
Born May 6, 1945 (1945-05-06) (age 64)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres Rock, heartland rock, roots rock, blue-eyed soul
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1961 – present
Labels Hideout, Cameo, Capitol, Palladium
Associated acts The Silver Bullet Band, The System (as in the Bob Seger System), The Last Heard

Robert Clark "Bob" Seger (born May 6, 1945) is an American rock musician and singer-songwriter.

As a locally successful Detroit-area artist, he performed and recorded as The Bob Seger System throughout the 1960s. By the early 1970s, he had dropped the "System" from his recordings, and continued to strive for national success as a solo artist. In 1976, he achieved national fame with two albums, the studio record Night Moves and the live record Live Bullet. His backing band from 1975 was known as "The Silver Bullet Band," an evolving group of Detroit-area musicians. He also worked extensively with the Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which backed him on several of his best selling singles and albums.

A roots rocker with a classic raspy, shouting voice, Seger was first inspired by Little Richard[1] and Elvis Presley.[2] He wrote and recorded songs that dealt with blue-collar themes. Seger has recorded many rock and roll hits, including "Night Moves," "Turn the Page," "Like a Rock" and also co-wrote the Eagles number one hit "Heartache Tonight." His iconic signature song "Old Time Rock and Roll" was named one of the Songs of the Century in 2001. With a career spanning five decades, Seger continues to perform and record today.

Seger's songs have been covered by many artists including Thin Lizzy and Metallica.

Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.




Early years

Bob Seger was born on May 6th 1945 at Henry Ford Hospital in [Detroit], [[Michigan] He lived in the area until age 6 when his family moved to nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan.[3] When Seger was 10 years old, his father abandoned the family and moved to California. Then Seger attended Tappan Junior High School (now Tappan Middle School) and Ann Arbor High School (now Pioneer High School) in Ann Arbor and graduated in 1963. He ran track and field in high school. Seger also went to Lincoln Park High School for a year.[citation needed] Upon Graduation Seger spend three weeks on the Ford assembly line, filling conveyors for automatic transmissions working nine hours a day six days a week, for $4.20 an hour.


Bob Seger has stated that "Little Richard was the first one that really got to me. Little Richard and, of course, Elvis Presley."[4] Seger also listened to James Brown in the 1960s and has said that, for him and his friends, Live at the Apollo was their favorite record following its release in 1963. "Come Go With Me" by The Del Vikings was the first record he bought. Seger also named Van Morrison as being one of his influences and covered one of his lesser known songs "I've Been Working" on his albums Back in '72 and Live Bullet. Mentioning Frankie Miller, Graham Parker, John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen, Seger remarked: "There's a whole little clique of male vocalists. We're just sort of all connected. I think every last one of us has a connection with Van Morrison."[5]

Regional favorite: 1966-1976

The Decibels & The Town Criers

Bob Seger arrived on the Detroit music scene in 1961 fronting a three-piece band called the Decibels. The Decibels recorded an acetate demo of a song called "The Lonely One," at Del Shannon's studio. As well as being Seger's first original song, "The Lonely One" was Seger's first song to be played on the radio, airing only once on an Ann Arbor radio station.[6][7] After the Decibels disbanded, Seger joined the Town Criers, a four-piece band with Seger on lead vocals, John Flis on bass, Pep Perrine on drums, and Larry Mason on Lead guitar. The Town Criers, covering songs like "Louie Louie," began gaining a steady following.

Doug Brown & The Omens

As the Town Criers began landing more gigs, Bob Seger met a man named Doug Brown, backed by a band called the Omens. Seger joined Doug Brown & the Omens, who presumably had a bigger following than the Town Criers. While Doug Brown was the primary lead vocalist for the group, Seger would take the lead on some songs--covering R&B numbers.[8] It was with this group that Seger first appeared on an officially released recording: the single "TGIF" backed with "First Girl," credited to Doug Brown and the Omens. Seger later appeared on Doug Brown and the Omens' parody of Barry Sadler's song "Ballad of the Green Berets" which was re-titled "Ballad of the Yellow Beret" and mocked draft dodgers. Soon after its release Sadler and his record label threatened Brown and his band with a lawsuit and the recording was withdrawn from the market.[9]

While Bob was a member of the Omens, he met his longtime manager Edward "Punch" Andrews, who at the time was partnered with Dave Leone running the Hideout franchise, which consisted of two clubs where local acts would play and a small-scale record label. Seger began writing and producing for other acts that Punch was managing, such as the Mama Cats and the Mushrooms (with future Eagle Glenn Frey). It was then when Seger and Doug Brown were approached by Punch and Leone to write a song for the Underdogs, another local band who recently had a hit with a song called "Man in the Glass." Seger contributed a song called "East Side Story," which ultimately proved to be a failure for the Underdogs.[10]

The Last Heard

Seger decided to record "East Side Story" himself, and officially left the Omens (though he did retain Doug Brown as a producer). As Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Seger released his version of the song with Hideout Records in January 1966, and it became his first big Detroit hit. The single (backed with "East Side Sound", an instrumental version of "East Side Story") sold 50,000 copies, mostly in the Detroit area, and led to a contract with Cameo-Parkway Records. Though the name "The Last Heard" originally referred to the collection of Omens and Town Criers who recorded "East Side Story" with Seger, it soon became the name of Seger's permanent band, which consisted of former Town Crier Pep Perrine on drums, Carl Lagassa on guitar, and Dan Honaker on bass. Following "East Side Story," the group released four more singles: the James Brown-inspired holiday single "Sock It To Me Santa," the Dylan-esque "Persecution Smith," "Vagrant Winter," and perhaps the most notable, "Heavy Music," released in 1967. "Heavy Music," which sold even more copies than "East Side Story," had potential to break out nationally when Cameo-Parkway suddenly went out of business. The song would stay in Seger's live act for many years to come.

The Bob Seger System

After Cameo-Parkway folded, Seger and Punch began searching for a new label. In the spring of 1968, Bob Seger & the Last Heard signed with major label Capitol Records, turning down Motown Records, who offered more money than Capitol. Seger felt that Capitol was more appropriate for his genre than Motown.[11]

Capitol changed the name of the band to the Bob Seger System. In the transition between labels, guitarist Carl Lagassa left the band and keyboard player Bob Schultz joined. The System's first single with Capitol was the anti-war message song "2 + 2 = ?", which reflected a marked change in Seger's political attitudes from "The Ballad of the Yellow Beret." The single was again a hit in Detroit but went unnoticed almost everywhere else.

The second single from The Bob Seger System was "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". Predictably it was a smash in Michigan, but it also became Seger's first national hit, peaking at #17. The song's success led to the release of an album of the same title in 1969. The Ramblin' Gamblin' Man album reached #62 on the Billboard pop albums chart. The big success of Ramblin' Gamblin' Man was short-lived, though.

Seger was unable to follow up this early moderate success. For the next album, singer/songwriter Tom Neme joined The System, ultimately writing and singing the majority of the tunes featured, for which the group was heavily criticized. The album, called Noah, failed to chart at all, leading Seger to briefly quit the music industry and attend college. He returned the following year and put out the System's final album, 1970's Mongrel, this time without Tom Neme. Bob Schultz left the band as well, being replaced by Dan Watson. Mongrel, with the powerful single "Lucifer," was considered to be a strong album by many critics and Detroit fans, but failed to do well commercially.


In 1971, Seger released his first solo album, the all-acoustic Brand New Morning which he recorded to fulfill his Capitol Records contract.

Seger's next few albums, released on Punch Andrews' Palladium label and distributed by Reprise Records, were stylistically erratic and appeared in the low 100s on the Billboard albums chart, if at all. These albums included Smokin' O.P.'s (1972), which featured a minor hit (#76 US) with a cover of Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter," and Back in '72 (1973) which featured a long list of known session musicians and work from J. J. Cale. It also has the studio version of Seger's live classic "Turn the Page" (later covered by Metallica and Waylon Jennings). Seger maintained his regional appeal in Detroit, and had built a modest following in Florida (necessitating many drives back and forth), but to the general music world was regarded as a one-hit wonder[citation needed].

The Silver Bullet Band

In 1974 Seger formed the Silver Bullet Band. Its original members were: guitarist Drew Abbott, drummer and backup-singer Charlie Allen Martin, keyboard-player Rick Mannassa, bass guitarist Chris Campbell, and saxophone player Alto Reed. With this new band sitting in occasionally, Seger released the album Seven, which contained the Detroit-area hard-rock hit "Get Out of Denver." This track was a modest success and charted at #80 nationally.

In 1975 Seger returned to Capitol Records and released the album Beautiful Loser, with help from the Silver Bullet Band (with new keyboardist Robyn Robbins replacing Mannassa) on his cover of the Tina Turner penned "Nutbush City Limits." The album's single "Katmandu" (in addition to being another substantial Detroit-area hit) was Seger's first real national break-out track since "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." Although it just missed the US Pop Top 40 - peaking at #43 - the song received strong airplay in a number of markets nationwide including Detroit.

In April 1976 Seger and the Silver Bullet Band had an even bigger commercial breakthrough with the album Live Bullet, recorded over two nights in Detroit's Cobo Arena in September 1975. The album stayed on the Billboard charts for 168 weeks, peaking at #34 which was Seger's highest charting album at the time. It also contained Seger's hit rendition of "Nutbush City Limits" (#69 US) as well as Seger's own classic take on life on the road, "Turn the Page," from Back in '72. It also included his late 1960s successful releases — "Heavy Music" and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." Eventually reaching 5x Platinum status, it remains one of the Top 10 selling live albums of all time.

Critic Dave Marsh later wrote that "Live Bullet is one of the best live albums ever made ... In spots, particularly during the medley of 'Travelin' Man'/'Beautiful Loser', Seger sounds like a man with one last shot at the top." An instant best-seller in Detroit, Live Bullet quickly began to get attention in other parts of the country. In June 1976 he was a featured performer at the Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit in front of nearly 80,000 fans. The next night, Seger played before less than a thousand people in Chicago.[12]

Peak of National Success: 1976-1987

Seger finally achieved his indisputable commercial breakthrough with his October 1976 album Night Moves. The title song "Night Moves" was a highly evocative, nostalgic, time-spanning tale that was not only critically praised, but became a #4 hit single on the Billboard pop singles chart as well as a heavy album-oriented rock airplay mainstay. The album also contained "Mainstreet", a #24 hit ballad that emphasized Seger's heartland rock credentials, as well as the AOR anthem "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". Night Moves was Seger's first Top 10 album in the Billboard album chart, and as of 2006 was certified at 6 million copies in the United States alone - making it the biggest-selling studio album of his entire career. Furthermore it activated sales of Seger's recent back catalog, so that Beautiful Loser would eventually sell 2 million and Live Bullet would go on to sell some 5 million copies in the United States.

The following year, original Silver Bullet drummer Charlie Allen Martin was hit by a car from behind while walking on a service road, and was left unable to walk. David Teegarden, drummer for Seger on the Smokin' O.P.'s album, replaced him. Despite the loss, Seger followed up strongly with 1978's Stranger in Town. The first single, "Still the Same", emphasized Seger's talent for mid-tempo numbers that revealed a sense of purpose, and reached #4 on the pop singles chart. "Hollywood Nights" was an up-tempo #12 hit rocker, while "We've Got Tonight" was a slow ballad that reached #13 on the Hot 100. The album ran out of steam with "Old Time Rock & Roll", reaching only #28 although it achieved substantial AOR airplay. (Moreover, it would later became one of Seger's most recognizable songs following its memorable Tom Cruise-dancing-in-his-underwear use in the 1983 film Risky Business.) Seger also co-wrote the Eagles' #1 hit song "Heartache Tonight" from their 1979 album The Long Run; their collaboration resulted from Seger and Glenn Frey's early days together in Detroit.

In 1980 Seger released Against the Wind (with ex-Grand Funk Railroad member Craig Frost replacing Robyn Robbins on keyboards) and it became his first and only #1 album on the Billboard album chart. The first single "Fire Lake" featured Eagles Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Frey on backing vocals and reached #6 on the Hot 100, while the title song "Against the Wind" reached #5 as a single and even crossed over to the Top 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. "You'll Accomp'ny Me" became the third hit single from the record, reaching #14. Against the Wind would also win two Grammy Awards. As of 2006, both Stranger in Town and Against the Wind had sold over 5 million copies each in the United States.

The live 1981 album Nine Tonight encapsulated this three-album peak of Seger's commercial career. Seger's take on Eugene Williams' "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You" became a Top Five hit from Nine Tonight and the album would go on to sell 4 million copies.

Seger released the acclaimed The Distance in the final days of 1982. During the recording of this album, Silver Bullet guitarist Drew Abbott left the band due to his frustration with Seger's frequent use of session musicians in the studio, and was replaced by Dawayne Bailey. After the album's release, David Teegarden also left the band due to internal conflict, and was replaced by ex-Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer. Critically praised for representing a more versatile sound than that of his recent material, The Distance spawned numerous hits beginning with Rodney Crowell's "Shame on the Moon". It was the biggest hit of Seger's entire career, hitting #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and holding at #2 for four consecutive weeks - behind Michael Jackson's Platinum-selling "Billie Jean" - on the Hot 100. It also crossed over to #15 on Billboard's Country Singles chart. The follow-up single, "Even Now", just missed the Top 10 and "Roll Me Away" peaked at #27. The driving album track "Making Thunderbirds" was a popular music video filmed in Detroit and well-received on MTV. Seger's mega-Platinum sales dropped off at this point with The Distance peaking at #5 and selling only 1.9 million copies in the United States. (This album was belatedly released on 8 track tape; Capitol reportedly had no plans to do so, but Seger, guessing that a good many of his fans still had 8 track players in their vehicles, prevailed upon the label to release the album in that discontinued format as well.)

In 1983, country music superstar Kenny Rogers would team up with pop singer Sheena Easton to cover "We've Got Tonight." Their version was a hugely successful Top 10 Pop hit - topping Billboard's Country and Adult Contemporary charts - becoming far more successful as Bob Seger's original. Rogers even used it as the title cut to one of his own Platinum albums.

In 1984, Seger wrote and recorded the power rock ballad "Understanding" for the Teachers movie soundtrack. The song was another Top 20 hit for Seger in late 1984.

In 1986, he wrote and recorded "Living Inside My Heart" for the soundtrack to About Last Night... starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore.

Seger was no longer as prolific and several years elapsed before his next studio album, Like a Rock emerged in the spring of 1986. The fast-paced "American Storm" was another Top 20 single aided by a popular music video featuring actress Lesley Ann Warren, and "Like a Rock" followed, reaching #12 on Billboard's Hot 100. Later it would become familiar to many Americans through its association with a long-running Chevrolet ad campaign (something Seger explicitly chose to do to support struggling American automobile workers in Detroit[citation needed]). Seger's 1986-1987 American Storm Tour was his self-stated last major tour, playing 105 shows over 9 months and selling almost 1.5 million tickets. Like a Rock reached #3 and eventually sold over 3 million copies although it has never been certified above Platinum.

The following year Seger's "Shakedown", a somewhat uncharacteristic song off the 1987 film Beverly Hills Cop II's soundtrack, became his first and only #1 hit on the pop singles chart. The song had originally been intended for Glenn Frey, but when he lost his voice just prior to the recording session, he called in Seger to take his place. Seger changed the verses of the song but kept the chorus the same.

Later years: 1988-present

Bob Seger's next record was 1991's The Fire Inside, at a time when glam metal, grunge and alternative rock were all taking the forefront. His new music found little visibility on radio or elsewhere. The same was true of 1995's It's a Mystery, although the album was certified gold (500,000 copies sold). In between, however, his Greatest Hits compilation was his biggest-ever record in sales, having sold nearly 10 million copies in the United States as of 2010. Seger did go back on the road again for a 1996 tour, which was successful and sold the fourth-largest number of tickets of any North American tour that year. (Seger was once known for his concerts in small venues, as witnessed with his appearance at the 18th Amendment in Omaha, Nebraska.)

In June 1997 Seger drove his automobile off the Trans-Canada Highway in Nipigon, Ontario and was charged by Ontario provincial police with impaired driving after crashing his car.

Seger took a sabbatical from the music business for about ten years to spend time with his wife and two young children. In 2001 and 2002, Seger won the prestigious Port Huron-to-Mackinac race aboard his 52 foot sailboat Lightning. He subsequently sold the boat. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004. Fellow Detroiter Kid Rock gave the induction speech and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed that date Bob Seger Day in his honor. In 2005, Seger was featured singing with 3 Doors Down on the song "Landing in London" from their Seventeen Days album. That same year, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.

Seger's first new album in 11 years, titled Face the Promise, was released in 2006. In its first 45 days, it sold more than 400,000 copies.[13] The album has sold over 1.2 million copies to date - returning Seger to Platinum status - and staying on the Billboard chart for several months. His supporting tour was also eagerly anticipated, with many shows selling out within minutes. Showing that Seger's legendary appeal in Michigan had not diminished, all 15,000 tickets available for his first show at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena sold out in under five minutes; three additional shows were subsequently added, each of which also sold out. In the spring of 2006, The Bob Seger System was belatedly inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.

Seger has had four of his recordings voted as Legendary Michigan Songs: "Night Moves" in 2007, "2 + 2 = ?" in 2008, and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and "Old Time Rock & Roll" in 2009.

In October 2009, Yessian Music reported on its social networking sites that Seger was re-recording his albums Smokin' O.P.'s and Seven. On October 25, 2009 it was revealed that Seger indeed had done some re-recording of older songs for an upcoming compilation album entitled Early Seger Vol. 1[14], a collection of out of print songs and also previously unreleased material. The album was released on November 24, 2009, initially exclusively available for purchase at Meijer. A week later it was available for download at[15]

Seger lives mainly at his home in Orchard Lake Village, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He frequents many local events including West Bloomfield High School football games to watch his son who is in the nationally-ranked marching band. Seger also owns a vacation house near Good Hart, Michigan. On Wednesday July 29th, 2009 Bob Seger made a rare announced public appearance in Grand Blanc, Michigan to play with Tiger Woods in the annual Buick Open Pro-Am. Which pairs various celebrities with a professional golfer. Seger was the main attraction and received an outpouring of support from the local crowd and signed autographs any chance he could.


Studio albums
Live albums
Compilation albums

See also


  1. ^ "Influences". Seger File. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Influences". Seger File. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  3. ^ According to Joel Whitburn's Record Research, Seger was born in Dearborn's Oakwood Hospital.
  4. ^ "Influences". Seger File. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  5. ^ The Seger File: Influences
  6. ^ A definitive oral history of Seger's early years
  7. ^ Joanne Zangrilli, Goldmine, November 1990
  8. ^ A definitive oral history of Seger's early years
  9. ^ Rolling Stone Editors. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century. New York: Fireside, 2001
  10. ^ Rolling Stone Editors. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century. New York: Fireside, 2001
  11. ^ A definitive oral history of Seger's early years
  12. ^ Campbell, Mary. "Bob Seger to storm into Poplar Creek with rock poetry" Chicago Sun-Times July 25, 1986
  13. ^ According to Soundscan.
  14. ^ Graff, Gary (2009-10-26). "New Seger Album Cover Revealed". WCSX. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  15. ^ "Early Seger Vol. 1". 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 


External links


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