Ten Great Bob Seger Songs for Your iPod
Bob Seger is one of the more underrated performers in rock music history. During the late seventies and early eighties this rocker from Detroit released a string of albums that were some of the best in rock music history. He was also a great songwriter and possessed a strong soulful voice. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2012. Unfortunately, with the passing of time much of his music has been forgotten. For example, not one of his songs made the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004. It's kind of hard to believe when you think about it. As a tribute to Bob I put together a list of ten of his best songs that everyone should have on their iPod. Some are obvious choices and others are more obscure, but they are all great in one way or another.
10) Travelin' Man/Beautiful Loser
This is the 9:20 minute live combined version of these two songs from the 1976 Live Bullet album. Bob really gives a vocal workout and his voice never sounded better, especially at the end of "Travelin' Man" when his grunts, groans, and growls mix with the pounding drums and the screeching guitar. This all builds to a crescendo and then drops down into the slower, more soulful "Beautiful Loser" which is filled out with organ and horns. Bob is yelling again by the end, but it leads to a quiet guitar solo that finishes it off nicely. Bob must have been exhausted after this show.
This single from the 1984 soundtrack of the movie Teachers made it to #17 on the US charts. It's a little obscure but I like the sound of this punchy, upbeat, piano-driven tribute to teachers. There is a great, raspy vocal performance by Bob with female singers "woo-ing" in the background. Bob really takes it home with his "yeah, yeah, yeah" at the end.
8) Roll Me Away
This is another hidden gem from Bob's song catalog. The mention of Mackinaw City makes this one memorable for me, as I drove through this town at the very northern tip of Michigan on many occasions and over the mammoth Mackinac bridge to the Upper Peninsula. Released on The Distance album in 1983, this song is about escape and a cross-country bike trip that leads the singer to a mountain top realization that "next time we'll get it right". Piano chords open the song and lead into Bob's strong voice. Then it kicks up a notch with guitar that takes it into the first chorus. The piano is my favorite part. It made it to #27 on the US charts.
7) Feel Like a Number
From the 1978 album Stranger in Town, there is a lot going on in this song musically. It's about being another face in the crowd, something we can relate to even more so today. It starts with a classic guitar intro that builds into a fast, pulsing song. I like the Jerry Lee Lewis like piano solo at the bridge and the horns that sneak into the mix at the end. The track was never released as a single, but should have been as it has become one of Bob's more popular songs over the years.
6) Main Street
This melancholy song from the 1976 album Night Moves has a memorable piercing guitar along with organ and piano that join in about the halfway point. This touches on one of Bob's favorite themes: looking back and reflecting on moments in your past, this time about infatuation of someone from a distance. Bob really sends the song home with his vocal at the end. The single made it to #24 on the US charts.
5) Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Bob's first hit from 1969 when he was in the Bob Seger System. This song really has a kick and is great when it comes on the radio when you're driving. My only complaint is it's too short at only 2:26 minutes. If you listen closely you can here fellow Detroit native Glenn Frey of Eagles fame singing background vocals.
4) Turn the Page
Another great track from Live Bullet. It's amazing to hear live music sound this good. There's the haunting sax solo at the beginning that leads into this somber tale of the grind of life on the road. Bob really kicks his vocals up at the end and starts belting out the lyrics. It ends where it began, with another great sax line. Metallica recorded a cover of the song in 1998 which reached #78 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
3) Hollywood Nights
What is your favorite Bob Seger song?
One of Bob's fastest songs from the 1978 Stranger in Town album. It made it all the way to #12 on the US charts. Again, there is a lot going on musically with the grinding guitar in the background, the drums, and piano fills. Bob's voice was also in top shape on this one and he really builds it up to a frenzy at the end.
2) Rock and Roll Never Forgets
Also from the 1977 album Night Moves. There is the guitar intro that leads into one of Bob's edgier vocal performances. It was released as a single but surprisingly only made it to #41 on the charts. Bob has a real vocal workout at the end that mixes with horns and the guitar.
1) Night Moves
This is Bob's masterpiece from the album of the same name. It was released as a single and made it all the way to #4 in 1976. It features the major theme of many of his songs which is a person looking back on their life twenty years down the road, wondering what happened and where all the time went. There is the acoustic guitar intro that leads into Bob's soulful voice and the electric guitar. Then the piano emerges along with the female background singers and then an organ appears. This all leads to the quiet interlude where Bob takes it down to almost a whisper. It all builds back up to the end with Bob giving another great vocal send off.
Some of Bob's other songs that just must the cut include "Against the Wind," "Still the Same," "Old Time Rock and Roll," "You'll Accomp'ny Me," "Shame on the Moon," "Like a Rock," "Shakedown," and "Katmandu."