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Turn The Page by Bob Seger

Album: Back In '72Released: 1973
  • This song is about life on the road, and the rigors musicians face when they're touring. It presents the other side of fame which the public doesn't see - the loneliness and aggravation. Seger wrote the song in what for him, was an unusual way. He told Music Connection: "I hardly ever wrote on the road. I was more of a field general, and there wasn't a lot of time for writing on the road back then. The only two songs that I can think of that I wrote on the road are 'Night Moves' and 'Turn The Page,' but those were basically cases of getting an outline of verses over three-hour periods. The songs weren't totally finished until I had a week or two off the road to really knuckle down on them."
  • Seger explained: "Our first headline shows ever in a large (twelve thousand seat) hall were the two shows at Detroit's Cobo Arena, September 4th and 5th, 1975. I remember while I was singing this how nice it was to have such good on-stage monitors. I had never heard my voice so well while performing." The version on Seger's greatest hits album was taken from these shows. (thanks, Ken - LaSalle, Canada)
  • Seger suffers from tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears caused by exposure to loud volumes. This explains the line, "Later in the evening when you lie awake in bed with the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head."
  • Metallica covered this in 1998 on their Garage Inc. album.
  • Steve Azar opened for Seger on this 2006-'07 tour, and this song in particular had a profound effect on Azar's 2009 album Slide On Over Here. He told us: "You stumble into a sound of a record, I think, during a period in your life, and where you are. I came off the Bob Seger tour when that record started to take shape. It was so inspiring to come out every night and watch him sing 'Turn The Page.' I think that it set me into this mood where I was in my life personally, and all the stuff I was going through - a lot going on. A lot of decisions were made, and during that period I was writing a lot about it. I was in that emotional sort of mood."
  • The song was covered by The Swon Brothers on NBC's The Voice in 2013. Their version landed at #90 on the Hot 100 after they sang it in the semi-finals.
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Comments: 56

Definitely one of my favorite songs!

As Bob Seger said "this is a song about being on the road". After 1.5 million miles of commercial bus driving myself, some of it "east of Omaha", I feel "strung out from the road" every time I hear this song, even though I haven't driven commercially in 15 years.

The line "Turn the page", imho, refers to "put what just happened behind you, move on, and "turn the page"".
Dalan - Notacityyet, Mt
This is how i became to discover Bob Seger,I once borrows his Night Moves album in the local library,ever since followed his work,but never seen him perform Live!Jorge - Bronx, Ny
When he sings, "On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha," I believe he is talking about either Interstate 80 (not quite so lonesome), which runs to and through Des Moines, IA, or state route 34, a smaller highway (and definitely more lonesome), which runs all the way across IA into IL. If he's talking about SR34, I would think that restaurant he mentions would be in a town called Creston. That is the first city of any significant size one would come across on that highway.Matt - X, Ia
I love Metallica's cover, but the original version is much better. This song is an ode for every musician around the world. There's no better way to define how an artist or a band feels when they are at the road. Bob is a legend !!!Renan Alisson - Salvador, Brazil
To Richard from Raju, India...the meaning of the line you asked is that the reaction of people that how they talk about the artist when they were in an restaurent or any public place and how the artist feel embarassed about it ....Raju - Hyderabad, India
Can someone tell me the meaning of the line"turn the page"in the song???Raju - Hyderabad, India
Hey Wayne from Salem,VA.The studio version of Turn The Page is from the album entitled "Back In 72" which was released in 73.
Bob is quoted on Live Bullet as stating "This is from 72 also, about being on the road, its called Turn The Page"
Perhaps "Back In 72" is one album you missed in your collection?
No ones interpretation of this song is as good as Segers version.It is perfection...and to my fellow Australian,David from Gosford I recently saw Jon English in concert & the version he sang really sucked, this time around.Very dissapointing but I think Jon's voice has gone.
To Kayla from Oklahoma City Bob Seger has had a far superior voice compared to the much younger James Hetfield.James sings this song differently basically louder but not as well - I would like to make the point that NO ONE else can accomplish the vocals that Seger did in his younger days. It is that simple. If you sit at the piano and figure Seger's real range--without falsetto--in just the studio version of "Katmandu," he is covering three octaves!! On guitar, that is the low E string on a guitar, to the high e string-- 12th fret!!! And they are full throated notes, not falsetto! He is singing from deep Neil Diamond territory and then soaring up and over Robert Plant territory, all in one song,. In some cases, within a few bars. Give a listen to "Humminbird," and "Jesse James" from Smokin OP's: Notice how on the repeat and fade, "Don't Fly Away" outtro of "Humminbird" and the fade of "Jesse James" Seger's voice effortlessly soars over Pam Todd and Crystal Jenkins backing vocals.
Seger is unmatched!!!
Gary - Brisbane, Australia
Richard, Fort Lauder-dale, FL "Most times you can't hear 'em talk, Other times you can All the same old cliches, "Is that a woman or a man?" you have to finish the verse. It's an acknowledgment that in certain parts of our country long haired musicians were harassed and questioned as to their sex. It was a different age...the 70's. Jimmy Page talked about how in certain parts of the country they'd get a real hard time over the length of their hair. Sometimes he heard it and sometimes he didn't "Is that a guy or a girl?" Keeping in mind that in the 70's when this was written the faces of musicians were not well known AT ALL, so people wouldn't recognize him. Just some freak with long hair.Mark - Worcester, Mi
can anyone explain to me the meaning of the line:
Yeah, most times you can't hear 'em talk, Other times you can
Richard - Fort Lauderdale, Fl
"Is it woman, is it man?" is a comment about any male song band member with long hair during the 70's/80's. Awesome song & I also like Jon English's version.Pam - Invercargill, New Zealand
This is a great song. It is about the rigors of the musical traveling circus, touring.Jim - Long Beach, Ca
Love this version more than Metallica!!Jj - Washington, Dc
What I think Seger is trying to say by Turn The Page is it's like reading a book, when your always on the road, you got to keep on going like turning the pageRandy - Buckingham, Va
When I was in college in the 80's, I was on the track team and would listen to this song at every meet as I was warming up before I raced. Still have to turn up the radio every time I hear this song.Paul - Denver, Co
I actually like Hetfield's version better but to those who like Seeger's version more power to ya.Joel - Columbia, Sc
I really didn't care for the Bob Seger version, though I do appreciate the fact that he wrote it and performed it... without his version, Metallica would never hase made a better version! Lol. I just think James Hetfield's voice is more powerful, and the guitar and bass lines are much better... but, to each their own, as I like to say. ^^;Kayla - Oklahoma City, Ok
To: Wayne from Salem, VA
This song does appear on the studio album entitled "Back In '72". That's what Seger is referring to when he utters the line you quoted in your posted comment.

Also, if you only have Seger material up to "Live Bullet", you need to invest in all of his recordings that followed. His material clearly got far better subsequent to "Live Bullet, even though "Live Bullet" is itself a great live recording, especially considering the era in which it was recorded (early '70s).

Also, there's no sense debating which version of a song is better. Usually we're loyal to the one we heard first. The fact that Metallica chose to cover it is indication enough that they loved the Seger version too.

JFV, March 2009
Jfv - Philadelphia, Pa
To: Wayne from Salem, VA
This song does appear on the studio album entitled "Back In '72". That's what Seger is referring to when he utters the line you quoted in your posted comment.

Also, if you only have Seger material up to "Live Bullet", you need to invest in all of his recordings that followed. His material clearly got far better subsequent to "Live Bullet, even though "Live Bullet" is itself a great live recording, especially considering the era in which it was recorded (early '70s).

Also, there's no sense debating which version of a song is better. Usually we're loyal to the one we heard first. The fact that Metallica chose to cover it is indication enough that they loved the Seger version too.

JFV, March 2009
Jfv - Philadelphia, Pa
I have all of Bob Seger's albums up to the "Live Bullet" album,which this is from. He says "this is a song from 72',about life on the road". Yet it isn't on any previous studio albums. Isn't it funny how alot of artists put these great songs like this. Only on their Live albums and not on studio albums. You know what I mean. A great song,no doubt! I love the sax,it's haunting. To those of you who maybe don't know. At first the group was called The Bob Seger System (Ramblin' Gamblin' Man)Wayne - Salem, Va
i like because it mentions Omaha and that's where i was living at the time when the song came out.Jane - Austin, Tx
To Linda from Omaha, NE: your question about what the line "Is that a woman or a man" meant. He is singing about being on the road as a rock musician, and in the 70s, the long-hair wasn't taken too well by a lot of the older generation. They used to make comments bout the long hair as "is that a woman or a man". When he sings about "hear 'em talk"..."same old cliches, is that a woman or a man".
- Bruce, Rio de Janeiro
Bruce - Freeport, Fl
This song is a classic hit no matter who performs it. SOMETHING YOU DONT KNOW, BOB SEGAR PROBABLY DONT KNOW EITHER,
BON JOVI, IN A SNEAKY CRAFTY WAY, ROBBED HIM WITH THE SONG BLAZE OF GLORY FOR THE MOVIE YOUNG GUN. ALMOST A PERFECT NOTE FOR NOTE, WORD FOR WORD, FORGERY. SOMETHING YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM LOCAL BAND STRUGGLING FOR ANY KIND OF ATTENTION... NOT A WORLD FAMOUS MEGA BAND LIKE BON JOVI. MAKES ME WONDER WHO REALLY WROTE THE SONGS TO THE HITS ON THE FIRST ALBUM LIKE YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME AND ETC. THIS SONG THEY STOLE FROM BOB WAS A SMASH FOR THEM AND THE MOVIE, AND THERE WERE AND STILL ARE SUBSTANTIAL ROYALTY AMOUNTS PAID TO BON JOVI. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT BON JOVI DO SOME RESEARCH AND FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH THEY MADE FROM THAT SONG AND MAKE A DONATION IN THAT AMOUNT TO THE RESEARCH FOR A CURE FOR BOB SEGARS CONDITION WITH HIS EARS, WHICH PART OF THIS SONG WAS ABOUT.
Trey Le Park - Vacaville, Ca
I've always wondered what the line "Is that a woman or a man" meant. That line has always seemed out of place to me. Can anyone make sense of it for me?Linda - Omaha, Ne
All you classic rock fans, I'm right there with you! Metallica does an awesome job, but i really prefer the original!Myra - Chicago, Il
This song is so damn awesome! Being on the road all the time ain't fun at all. Bob Seger did an awesome job creating this song and Metallica (one of my FAVORITE bands) did a good job paying tribute to it.Myra - Chicago, Il
Love this song, love Metallica's cover, love Bob Seger.Sally - South Orange, Nj
this song is so awesome...one of the best 70s songs aroundDaniel - San Diego, Nv
Listen to Golden Earring's Turn the Page. It's really a great cover. I think much better than the original and Metallica's cover.Jasper - Alphen, Netherlands
Any song about a personal experiance that is played generally makes the TOP 40. Also, songs like these have more staying power than most.Eddie - Natchez, Ms
I know the meaning of the song is completely unrelated to the civil war, but everytime I hear it, I can't help but think of the Confederate retreat from Petersburg/Richmond, on the road to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginiat at Appomatox. Maybe its the weariness of the melody, or the lyrics: "You always seem outnumbered, you don't dare make a stand.
Here I am, on the road again."
Rick - Seattle, Wa
Sounds kind of evenly split. Well, here's what I think; LOVE BOTH VERSIONS.Jon - Oakridge, Or
Hands down, Bob Seger's original version is the best. The saxophone in the background adds the right mood, and lets you know that while songs are written for our enjoyment, there is a price to pay.
I refuse to listen to anyone else's version. Sometimes, you must remain a purist.
Dae - Sumter, Sc
I perfer Bob Segers more then anything else.Nooxara - Albany, Ak
This is a great song and I love Bob Seger's original. But Metallica really made it sound even better. The intensity and anger in Hetfield's voice really made it fit perfectlyMatt - Hollowville, Ny
I first heard this song on the radio and i fell in love with it...Sam Warren - Morristown, In
Yjr teo versions, when listened to back to back, really show how well Bob Seger can sing and how badly Metallica sinfs. I think that modern day wannabe great musician's should just leave well enough alone. They also ruined Wiskey in the Jar :P Another favourite of mine from the early seventies.Derek - Brampton, Canada
to be honest i think metallica's version is better. the horn section in seger's kinda alters the mood and knocks it off pace. pound-for-pound, vocally, seger OWNS hetfield, but i think the music on metallica's is better.Josh - New York, Ny
I love both versions and classify them as seperate pieces of art. The Seger version is more mellow and showing a man who takes the grief and misery in stride as part of the industry. Metallica shows you a side where the artist just snaps under the pressure, wants to shout out his frustrations, and does so THROUGH his art. They are both great versions of the same song.
For Cody, covering a song is NOT disgracing them. The artist(s) get permission from the owner of the song to do the cover, usually, and they cover a song to show RESPECT to the original artist/lyricist. It would be safe to assume they spoke with Seger before singing it and then allowed him to hear the final version and give his OK before releasing it publicly.
Thomas - Suisun City, Ca
I really can't decided between which version i like better, just two amazing musicians and bands working on this song. I wonder if they'd ever convider doing it together that would be sweet.Harland - Milestone
This song was played at my grandpa's funeral and till this day I still cry every time I hear it.-megan - Oshawa
Inspired by then novelist and future recording artist Leonard Cohen.Ydur - Knoxville, Tn
I absolutly adore Metallica, but when it comes to "Turn The Page" they're way out of their league! Bob Seger does it like the masterpiece this song is! It's only a song, it's a trade mark almost a hymn although written about life on the road the interpretations are many and everyone that listens to this song can have their meaning. There were a couple of years after I started listening to this song that I found what it was about, although it makes perfect sense I had never thought about it in that way. I guess it has a special and personal meaning for everyone who listnens to it.Isaac - Lisboa, Portugal
Metalica's version is great, but I prefer the original.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
I agree with you adam. I absolutely love bob segar, but metallica did an amazing job, despite the shoes they had to fill with this one.Amanda - Carthage, Tn
Metallica did an awesome job on this, personally, I think its better than Seger's, the heavy taste suits it better.Adam - Lawrencetown, Canada
This song is beautiful.I love its opening,its sorta haunting.But someone said Golden Earring did a cover of this?I didn't know that existed(then again ive found bb king,clapton,page,and some other people doing a song together).A I like Metallica's version,it doesnt sound like the orginal cause its by another band with a different style than Mr.Seger's style.But this song is good.It seems to reflect the life of a early musician(tours and stuff).Then again its only my opinion.Brandon - Morristown, Tn
i absolutely hate metallica's cover, along with every other metallica song ive ever heard. they seem pretty talentless to me, even though most people would disagree. i wouldnt hate em as much if they didnt disgrace works of art such as "turn the page," Budgie's "breadfan" (most people think metallica wrote it), and Blue oyster cult's "Astronomy." i wish bands with less talent would leave such amazing pieces of music alone.Cody - San Antonio, Tx
Todd two-times, that seems unlikely. I can think of a number of meanings for the line 'Turn the page', but the clearest evidence that it was intentional is that it fits into the rhyme and meter. Try singing the song without those 3 words.Joe - College Park, Md
On a radio show about 5 years back, I heard Bob Seger wrote or finished writing the song on the way to their next gig so he didn't have all the lyrics memorized and there was no title. So the first time this song was performed live he wrote on the bottom of the page (turn the page). Has anyone else ever heard this? Nobody seems to believe me and I can't find it on the Internet.Todd - Menomonee Falls, Wi
i hate the fact that no one remembers that bob seger wrote this! they think that its about strippers because metallica twisted it into somehting it was not origonally about, which is strange because metallica is usually great and praiseworthyCharlie - Thomaston, Ct
I'm a Metallica fan but I prefer the original; it sounds much better as a slow, country number. I'm not saying Metallica's version is rubbish, it's just that they turned it into a heavy metal beast of a song, which wasn't intended.Tom - Trowbridge, England
Love this song. I heard Metallica's version first, and I heard Bob Seger's original about six years later. I was surprised at how mellow it is compared to the Metallica version. I love both interpretations of the song, Bob Seger is a legend.Katie - Australia
This song has been done many times over by artists like
Metalica
Golden Earring
Waylon Jennings,
John Michael Murphy
Stone Mountain Boys
Travis Tritt
Ted - Loveland, Co
I absolutely hate Metallica's version and think it does not do Bob Seger justice.Blackdog - New Milford, Nj
Metallica's cover of this is absolutely incredible, along with the rest of their "Garage, Inc." tracks.Brian - Mayfield Heights, Oh
Jon English did a wonderful cover of this in 1975, in which he really brings out the anger in the line "and you just want to EXPLOOOOOOOOOOOODE!!!!" It's chilling. It also reaches an amazing climax to the song at the end. It may not be for everybody, especially those accustomed ot the road-weariness of the original, but the lyric has a lot of pent up aggression in it, and this really shows in the cover with the music and power in the vocal to match. Check it out.David - Gosford, Australia