- Bob Seger
Infobox musical artist
Name = Bob Seger
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Robert Clark Seger
Born = birth date and age|1945|5|6
Instrument = Vocals
Genre = Rock,
Hard rock, Heartland Rock
Years_active = 1961 – present
Label = Hideout, Cameo, Capitol, Palladium
Associated_acts = The Silver Bullet Band
URL = [http://www.bobseger.com/ BobSeger.com]
Robert Clark "Bob" Seger (born
May 6, 1945) is an American rock and roll singer-songwriterand musician.
After years of local
Detroit-area success, recording and performing in the mid-1960s, Seger achieved superstar status by the mid-1970s and continuing through the 1980s with the Silver Bullet Band. A roots rocker with a classic raspy, shouting voice, Seger was first inspired by Little Richardand Elvis Presley. He wrote and recorded songs that dealt with blue-collarthemes. Seger has recorded many rock and rollhits, including "Night Moves", " We've Got Tonight", "Like a Rock" and also co-wrote the Eaglesnumber one hit " Heartache Tonight." His iconic signature song" Old Time Rock and Roll" was named one of the Songs of the Centuryin 2001. With a career spanning five decades, Seger continues to perform and record today.
Seger was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Famein 2004.
Bob Seger was born at the
Henry Ford Hospitalin Detroit and lived in the area until age 6 when his family moved to nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan. When Seger was 10 years old, his father left the family and moved to California. Seger attended 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, and was considered one of the best runners in Michigan. Seger went to Lincoln Park High School for a year
Bob Seger has stated that "
Little Richardwas the first one that really got to me. Little Richard and, of course, Elvis Presley." Growing up, Seger also listened to James Brownand has said that for him and his friends, " Live at the Apollo" was their favorite record. "Come Go With Me" by The Del Vikingswas the first record he bought. Seger also named Van Morrisonas being one of his influences and covered one of his lesser known songs " I've Been Working" on his live album " Live Bullet". Mentioning Frankie Miller, Graham Parkerand 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." [ [http://www.segerfile.com/influences.html segerfile.com] ]
Regional favorite: 1966-1976
Seger began his musical career in 1961 in Detroit as a member of The Decibels, where he first met his future manager and
record producer, Punch Andrews. Seger returned to Ann Arbor where he played with The Town Cryers and then Doug Brown and the Omens. With them, he released his first single in 1965 for the local Hideout Recordslabel. In 1966 Seger sang 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.
In 1966 Seger left Brown's group but retained him as a producer. As Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Seger had his first big Detroit hit with "East Side Story", which sold 50,000 copies, mostly in the Detroit area and led to a contract with
Cameo-Parkway Records. Another of Seger's biggest early hit singles locally was "Heavy Music" in 1967, which sold even more copies and had potential to break out nationally when Cameo-Parkway went out of business . Nevertheless, "Heavy Music" would stay in his live act for many years to come.
During these early Detroit years, Seger also acted as producer for the local band The Mushrooms. He became (and remained) friendly with the band's leader
Glenn Frey, who would later become one of the founding members of the Eagles.
In 1968, Bob Seger signed with major label
Capitol Recordsand formed The Bob Seger System. This group was essentially a Michigan proto-punkband not unlike the SRC or The Frost. Their first single 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 hit in Detroit, but it also became Seger's first nationally charted hit, peaking at #17. The song's success led to the release of an album in 1969, and the "
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" album reached #62 on the Billboard pop albums chart.
Seger was unable to follow up this early moderate success; The Bob Seger System's follow-up album "Noah" failed to chart at all, leading Seger to briefly quit the music industry and attend college. Seger then returned the following year with the System's final album, 1970's "Mongrel". 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 Metallicaand 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.
1974Seger 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.
1975Seger 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 Tina Turner's " 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 top 40, peaking at #43, the song received strong airplay in a number of markets nationwide.
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 Arenain 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".
Dave Marshlater 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 1976he was a featured performer at the Pontiac Silverdomeoutside Detroit in front of nearly 80,000 fans. Only three nights before in Chicago, Seger had played before 50 people in a bar.
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 rockairplay 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 200, and through late 2006 had sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. Furthermore it activated sales of Seger's recent back catalog, so that "Beautiful Loser" would eventually sell 2 million and "Live Bullet" would sell 5 million copies in the U.S..
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 rocker #12 hit, while " We've Got Tonight" was a slow ballad that not only was a #13 hit on its own, but would become an adult contemporarymainstay in years to come for both Seger and other artists. The final single, 1979's " Old Time Rock & Roll", was the least successful single from the album, reaching only the Top 30, but 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". Album tracks from "Stranger in Town" were equally strong, with "Feel Like a Number" being especially memorable for its raging powerless fury. Around this time 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 Railroadmember Craig Frostreplacing Robyn Robbins on keyboards) and it became his first and only #1 album on the Billboard 200. The first single " Fire Lake" featured Eagles Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Frey on backing vocals and reached #6 on the singles chart, while the title song "Against the Wind" reached #5 as a single. "You'll Accomp'ny Me" became the third hit single from the record. "Against the Wind" would also win two Grammy Awards. Through late 2006 both "Stranger in Town" and "Against the Wind" had sold over 5 million copies in the U.S., and were followed by the 1981 live album " Nine Tonight" which 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 5 hit from "Nine Tonight" and would go on to sell 4 million copies.
Seger released "The Distance" in 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 Funkdrummer Don Brewer.
Critically praised for representing a tougher sound than some of his recent material, "The Distance" spawned hits with
Rodney Crowell's " Shame on the Moon" (which also did moderately well as a country musicsong), "Even Now", and " Roll Me Away". But perhaps because Seger and his band were ill-equipped to exploit the new MTVera, Seger's album sales dropped noticeably, with "The Distance" only selling approximately 1 million copies. This record was perhaps the final mainstream rock album to be released on 8 track tape; Capitol 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 fading format as well.
The following year, in 1983, country music superstar
Kenny Rogerswould team up with pop singer Sheena Eastonto cover "We've Got Tonight". This version was a world wide hit and was so successful Rogers used it as the title cut to one of his own albums.
In 1984 Seger wrote and recorded the power rock ballad "Understanding" for the "Teachers" movie soundtrack. The song was a mild Top 40 hit in 1985.
Seger was no longer as prolific and four years elapsed before his next studio album,1986's "
Like a Rock" emerged. The fast-paced " American Storm" garnered both pop and rock airplay, and "Like a Rock" became yet another successful Seger ballad. 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). 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" sold over a million copies and went 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.
Later years: 1988-present
Bob Seger's next record was 1991's "
The Fire Inside", at a time when glam metal, grungeand alternative rockwere 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", however the album was certified Gold (500,000 copies sold). In between, however, his "Greatest Hits" compilation was a major success, achieving sales of over 8 million units through late 2006. 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.
In June 1997 Seger drove his automobile off the
Trans-Canada Highwayin Nipigon, Ontarioand was charged by Ontario provincial police with drunk driving after crashing his car. [ [http://www.kool995.com/KOOLWeekInRock.cfm KOOL Week in Rock] ]
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 Huronto Mackinacrace aboard his 52 foot sailboat "Lightning". He has since sold the boat, however.
He was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fameon March 15, 2004. Fellow Detroiter Kid Rockgave the induction speech and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholmproclaimed that date Bob Seger Day in his honor.
Seger's first new album in 11 years, titled "
Face the Promise", was released on September 12, 2006. In its first 45 days, the album sold more than 400,000 copies, according to Soundscan. The album has sold over 1 million copies to date and stayed on the Billboard chart for months. His supporting tour has also been 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 Arenasold out in under five minutes; three additional shows were subsequently added, each of which also sold out. [ [http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/grpress/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-2/1160243103255010.xml&coll=6 mLive.com] ]
In 2005 Seger was featured singing with
3 Doors Downon the song " Landing in London" from their Seventeen DaysAlbum.
On October 21, 2006 Seger performed "
America the Beautiful" at the first game of the 2006 World Seriesbetween the St. Louis Cardinalsand the Detroit Tigers.
Events in late March 2007 suggested that Seger may move on from Capitol Records because those who had worked with him to this point are now gone from the label. The same press release also confirmed Seger's intention to release a live CD/DVD package chronicling his Face the Promise tour at some point in the fall.
Seger lives mainly at his home in the ritzy West Bloomfield, MI a suburb to the west of Detroit. He frequents many local events including local High School football games.
Seger presently owns a vacation house approximately a mile north of
Good Hart, Michigan, on the famed route M-119. He owns the property where a family of six were brutally murdered in 1968(the case is still unsolved).
On April 25, 2008, QFM96, a rock radio station in Columbus, OH, stated that Seger would enter the studio in May 2008 to begin recording the follow-up to his 2006 album "Face the Promise"."'
Seger appears on the song "Something in the Water" on
Little Feat's August 2008 release "Join the Band"
List of best selling music artists
Notable Ann Arborites
* 1983 "
Rolling Stone Record Guide"
Joel Whitburn, "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits", 1983. ISBN 0-8230-7511-7.
Joel Whitburn, "Top Adult Contemporary 1961-2001", 2002. ISBN 0-89820-149-7.
* Ted Kennedy, Canada Top 40 (Canadian chart listings)
Tim Riceet al, British Hit singles
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:r7ae4j171wa4~T1 Allmusicbiographical entry on Bob Seger]
* [http://www.bobseger.com Official website]
*imdb name|id=1169432|name=Bob Seger
* [http://info.detnews.com/entertainment/seger/index.cfm Bob Seger's Michigan] - Interactive map at DetNews.com
* [http://www.backstagegallery.com/artist/BobSegerSilverBulletBand.html Historic Photos of Bob Seger] - Backstage Gallery
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