Monday, December 15, 2014

Bob Seger, The #25 Artist of the Seventies*

Here we have one of the most dependable artists by the latter part of the decade.  He only had five years to work with after he became a star, so you can deduce that those five years were incredible for Bob Seger.

You're familiar with the term "paying your dues".  Seger did that in spades in the 60's, performing as the Bob Seger System.  In 1974, Seger organized a group of Detroit musicians into the Silver Bullet Band.  He enjoyed local and regional success for ten years, but could not translate that into national success, much less international success.

Seger's father left the family and moved to California, leaving his family to struggle financially.  Bob graduated from Ann Arbor High School  (now known as Pioneer High School) in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1963.

Seger began his musical career in 1961 as the leader of a three-piece group called the Decibels.  Seger's song "The Lonely One" was recorded at Del Shannon's studio and received airplay in Detroit.  Seger then joined the Town Criers, and then Doug Brown & the Omens.

While with the Omens, Seger met Edward "Punch" Andrews, who became his longtime manager.  Seger began writing and producing for other acts that Punch managed.  Bob left the Omens, and with The Last Heard, recorded several songs that were popular Detroit and in the Midwest.

In 1968, Seger signed a major recording contract with Capitol Records.  As The Bob Seger System, his second single, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", featuring future Eagle Glenn Frey, became Seger's biggest hit to date at #17.  But since #17 songs don't exactly translate into cash, and three albums flopped, the System folded, and Seger began a solo career.

But the 1971 album Brand New Morning went nowhere, leading to a parting of ways between Seger and Capitol Records.  Bob played with Teegarden & Van Winkle, and released the album Smokin' O.P.'s on Andrews' Palladium Records.  Seger showed the promise that he would later live up to on the song "Let It Rock".   

The following year, Seger released the album Back in '72.  The album contained a song that of course wasn't a hit at all at the time, but is now one of his most remembered:  "Turn The Page".  We will feature the live version that made the song popular later in this tribute.

The title song is another winner from the album.


Seger then formed the Silver Bullet Band and released the outstanding album Seven.  Bob was working hard, paying his dues, with great songs like "Get Out Of Denver". 


There isn't a bad song on the album, and "Need Ya" shines bright.


The album Beautiful Loser in 1975 went nowhere, but has now gone Double Platinum, as fans discovered Bob's music.  The song "Katmandu" only went to #43, but is now considered a Seger staple.


The title song is another song which history smiles upon. 


And "Black Night" is a great song as well.


In 1975, Seger's show at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan was recorded for later release as Live Bullet.  At the time, it went nowhere, but after Seger became a big star, his fans bought it up in droves, sending it over five million in sales.  It was this night that captured the great sound of Seger live on "Turn The Page".

But what finally got Seger proper attention was an album he released in 1975 called Night Moves.  Seger worked with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on the album, as fine of one as you'll ever have in your collection.

Night Moves by Bob Seger And The Silver Bulle on Grooveshark
Night Moves has now sold over six million copies in the United States alone, and, as mentioned above, spurred sales in the back catalog.  In fact, after this album, Live Bullet became one of the ten best-selling live albums of all-time.  The title song roared to #4 in the United States and #5 in Canada.


MainStreet by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet on Grooveshark
The second single had a bit of a divergence in performance, going to #1 in Canada and #24 in the U.S.  Canada was right on this one, as "Mainstreet" is one of several Seger songs that are among The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.


Seger also released the single "Rock And Roll Never Forgets".


The Fire Down Below by Bo Seger on Grooveshark
But with Bob's albums, the singles are only the beginning, which is why he sold six million Night Moves albums.  Another song which continues to receive considerable airplay is "The Fire Down Below". 

Night Moves rose to #8 on the Album chart. Bob toured to promote the album, which was a best-seller for nearly two years.   Seger was finally accepted into the mainstream with this album, which also contains great songs like "Sunburst" and "Sunspot Baby". 

Still the Same(4-'78) by Seger, Bob, & the Silver Bullet Band on Grooveshark

In 1978, Seger released the album Stranger in Town.  The single "Still The Same" attained an identical rank of #4 in both the U.S. and Canada.

Seger,B-Greatest..-05-Hollywood Nights by Seger, Bob on Grooveshark

"Hollywood Nights" went to #12, but putting together the facts, such as six million in sales for the album, you know that it is another of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

Bob Seger - We've Got Tonite by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet on Grooveshark

Stranger in Town showed the surge in popularity that Bob had experienced.  The album rose to #4 on the Album chart.  Seger released the ballad "We've Got Tonight", #9 in Canada and #13 in the U.S.


Seger's next release, "Old Time Rock And Roll", got stuck at #28, but remains as one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, and not just because it was featured in the iconic Tom Cruise dance in the movie Risky Business to the song.


Another prime cut on the album is "Till It Shines".


Seger co-wrote "Heartache Tonight" for the Eagles in 1979.  Bob continued to enjoy huge success well into the 80's and recorded through the 90's.  He then took a break to spend time with his family, before resuming his career, and his new album, Ride Out, was released in October of this year.

Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed that date as Bob Seger Day in his honor.  In 2012, Bob was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Seger generated sales of 20 million albums in the decade.  He had 13 hits in the Seventies, with two reaching the Top 10, and numerous Top Tracks* of the decade.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.