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Katmandu by Bob Seger

Album: Beautiful LoserReleased: 1975Charted:
  • Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. In the '60s, as many Americans were searching for enlightenment, the city was seen as a panacea for the ills of Western culture. A remote and exotic location, it was also seen as the ultimate getaway, which is how Seger used it in this song.

    Seger took a humorous tone, singing about his desire to disappear for a while after dealing with constant touring and record company politics. For him, Kathmandu is used to represent a place far away where no one will bother you.
  • This is one of the highlights of Seger's Live Bullet album, which was released the following year. Known for powerful concert performances, Seger's career took off after the album was released.
  • Segar used an alternate spelling of Kathmandu which made it easier for American eyes to comprehend. In 1970, Cat Stevens released a far more earnest song about the city which he also spelled Katmandu.
  • In the movie Mask, starring Cher and Sam Elliott, Eric Stoltz' character dreams of going to Katmandu with his good friend. The song was also used in the movie Last Fling, with John Ritter and Connie Sellecca.
  • Other mentions of Kathmandu in rock lyrics include "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin ("Honey, the road'll even end in Kathmandu") and "Nobody Told Me" by John Lennon ("There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu"). Both songs were released after the artists died.
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Comments: 16

Regarding the move "The Mask": if I remember correctly, there were other Seger songs in that movie. Supposedly, the real young man that the movie was based on, was a huge Springsteen fan but between the legal eagles, they could not work out a movie/singer contract with The Boss. I remember hearing this some time ago, but do not have facts to support this. I was just wondering if anyone else had more insight. I thoroughly enjoy both Seger and Springsteen.Brent - Denair, Ca
Denise in Yakima - they are on greatest hits volume 2.Greg - Harrington Park, Nj
It's pretty hard to get tired on listening to Live Bullet again and again. Katmandu is an important reason why.Ron - Los Angels, Ca
Kathmandu attracted a lot of Hippies during that time including Hendrix and Jim Morrison. There's a hotel in Nepal where Hendrix had stayed and is named after him. While Jim Morrison in his song Roadhouse Blues has used some Nepali words. Main reason for Hippie attraction life was so carefree and Nepal never banned weedsDevesh - Kathandu, Nepal
Bob's rock'n'rolls are fantastic. this one is not an exceptionValentin - Beijing, China
For my money.LIVE BULLET is still the standard for which all other live albums should be judged.
I have been listening to that release for 30 years now and nothing stands up to it. Best live album ever!
Daniel - Lakewood, Oh
Bob Seger actually went to Katmandu....however it was in the 1990's. He claimed it was a real eye opening experience for him, the plight of the people there.Carrie - , Mi
Actually, it's not that the lyrics are different between the studio and live versions. The studio version has another verse that was omitted when Seger performed the version that appears on the Live Bullet album. I wonder to this day why he did that. (Or is it possible that he performed the whole song in concert and the producers just edited out the 2nd verse before releasing the album?)Darren - Hickory, Nc
Chuck Berry was a major musical influence on Bob Seger, as is evidenced by this song and "Get out of Denver". Both appear on the "Live Bullet" album.Steve - Torrance, Ca
Katmandu is actually spelled KathmanduAriff - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hey Brian...don't forget "Marrakesh Express"!Paul - Rothesay, New Brunswick , Canada
Is there a rock song that mentions a more remote, third world city than this?
Not They Might Be Giants' Constantinople/Istanbul ditty.
A few Rush songs mention some pretty mysterious places but they are a bit mystical and ancient.
Maybe Murray Head's One Night in Bangkok would be an example. Not for Bangkok but some other place he may squawk about.
As far as band names I think Timbuk3 may take the cake.
Brian - Meriden, Ct
Classic Seger! This is real rock and roll. Seger typifies real, American rock and roll to me. His inclusion into the Hall of Fame in a city not far from his hometown was ridiculously overdue. The rules concerning year of elidgiblity would have put his at '93 or '94. 2004 was ridiculously late.Brian - Meriden, Ct
Although Seeger recorded this song for an earlier studio album, the single that charted was from his "Live Bullet" album. The two versions have slightly different lyrics.Ken - Louisville, Ky
Seeger "zings" his label, Capitol/EMI in this song with the line "Warner Brothers are such good hosts". In other words, better treat me right, I might swicth labels when my contract is up!Ken - Louisville, Ky
Where can I hear his songs Satisfied and Tomorrow?Denise - Yakima, Wa
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