After another brief hiatus, we’re back to listening to bands discussed previously on this blog—but it’s been a while. Today’s featured act was discussed all the way back in 2017 when I was moved by how much I enjoy his music. Somehow over the last few years I lost a bit of connection with it, but recently had a song come through my headphones that reignited my interest. Let’s dive-in to another album!
The song I referenced above was Bob Seger’s Travelin’ Man—and boy, if you haven’t heard it ever, or if it has been a while, give that a whirl today for sure. It came off the 1975 album “Beautiful Loser”. You can read all about it if you desire, but it’s strong release. With that record, Seger started to turn heads with his music style, but perhaps even more with his song writing abilities. While he was firmly in the “rock” genre, Seger started to become more synonymous with heartland rock. What is that exactly? If you grew up in the confines of the U.S. Midwest, you already know—but for those that didn’t, it’s a sound that matches that area’s culture. Specifically, a blue collar, long-days-at-work mentality that comes with being on the farm or the assembly line. Do all of us fall into that category? Of course not. But when the day is said and done, even if the rules don’t necessarily apply to your life, you know people where they do, so the music still resonates.
After Beautiful Loser, Seger’s follow-up album needed to be something that cemented his status in the business—but could he produce? His next album was “Night Moves” which hit shelves in October of 1976. While Seger had been considered a solo act since his start, this album was credited as “Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band”. He had played with these guys for a while, but they never got the album cover credit. Oddly, four of the nine tracks actually feature a different backing band—but hey, Bob’s heart seemed to be in the right place. Digression aside, a month after release, the title track single hit major radio across the U.S. Night Moves, putting it mildly, was a smashing success. It leapt to No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, and the album itself would peak at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. And that heartland attitude I spoke of? The single “Mainstreet” was written about Ann Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bob seemed to know who his audience was, and he played too it perfectly.
Critically, this album was showered with nothing but positive ratings. Village Voice specifically enjoyed the guitar riffs and likened them to Chuck Berry or the Rolling Stones. It was a sophisticated sort of rock for the time, maybe not one you would have enjoyed if you were a pre-teen in ’76, but perhaps one that your parents would have at least respected. From my perspective, I love how this album encompasses so many different styles. That heartland rock is the focal point, but you get some of that blues feel to it as well, and Seger could have easily been mistaken for a soul singer with the passion and emotion he puts forth in his vocal. When he trades in the heavy guitar for a ballad, the voice holds up there too, which is easier said than done. The proof of this album’s success was in the sales pudding with fifteen million albums sold worldwide—the most in his discography. Inarguably, this is what put Seger on the map and likely into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Bob Seger is 77 years old today, still technically active, but his final tour was back in 2018. In Lincoln County, Michigan, November 27, 2017, was officially “Bob Seger Day” and the mayor called him the voice of the city for an entire generation. That is maybe the highest praise that one can bestow on an artist, and probably felt great for him. Whether you’re a little too tall and could use a few pounds or were awoke last night to the sound of thunder, give this a shot today—I’m confident you’ll love it!
Top 3 Tracks:
- Night Moves
- Rock And Roll Never Forgets
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