Bob Seger

May 6, 1945

Bob Seger Artistfacts

  • He was born in Detroit. His father was a bandleader and musician who worked in an auto plant to support his wife and two children. He was the younger of two sons, and got less attention from his father.
  • When he was 10, his father abandoned the family completely, leaving for California in search of success that he never achieved. The family moved to a one-room apartment. The burden of supporting the family fell more heavily on the older son. Bob stayed up late listening to a faraway radio station. On a transistor radio and an earplug, he heard James Brown, Garnett Mimms, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and others.
  • He liked James Brown more than the Beatles. His favorite album was James Brown Live at the Apollo, Volume 1.
  • He was a good student in high school and could run a 5:05 mile, at least until he discovered rock and roll. He began staying out all night with his friends, cars circled in a farmer's field, listening to music on the car radios.
  • In 11th grade, he had a band and was playing bars three nights a week. The applause at the junior prom changed his life.
  • In 1996 he played for nearly a million fans across the country. By 1968, he had five Top 10 singles in the Detroit market. He was unheard of outside Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and a few other Midwest markets, but in Detroit his records outsold The Beatles.
  • He was on the verge of breaking the national charts in 1967 when the record company promoting his single went bankrupt.
  • Motown was the first major label to offer him a contract.
  • His work ethic became a local legend. He played 260 dates in 1975.
  • He scored his first hit with "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," which made #17 US in 1969, but he didn't make the Top 40 again until 1977, with "Night Moves." He had a lot of regional success in the interim, with songs like "Beautiful Loser" and "Lookin' Back."
  • In the early '70s, he and his band drove 25 hours to Florida, played three straight nights, and then drove 25 hours back, because they couldn't afford motel rooms. He considered himself more a driver than a singer at the time.
  • In June 1976, he played in front of 50 people in a Chicago bar. Three days later, he played in front of 76,000 devoted fans in the Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit.
  • He wrote about characters like Lucy Blue, Chicago Green, Already Eddie and other characters long before Springsteen created Crazy Janey and her mission man.
  • His songs, he thinks, reflect a certain morality: "What happens when you do it wrong and when you do it right."
  • The characters in many of his songs don't find the satisfaction or fulfillment that they thought their dreams would hold. They end up "stuck in heaven," listening to the sound of something far away - a bird on the wing, the sound of thunder. They think back on the promise of younger years, surprised at the passage of time. Only occasionally do they find renewal. More often, they try to make some moment last; they watch it slipping past. The light fades from the screen. They wake up alone. Next time, perhaps, they'll get it right.
  • He was greatly influenced by early advice from Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, who said, "Do your best, 'cause it's only gonna last two or three years." Seger thought his music career would be over by 30, at which point he would motorcycle across Europe and get a real job.
  • He's a perfectionist who spends months in the studio fixing problems no one else can hear. He's a Taurus, which means "You can't move him with a crane."
  • He admires Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell.
  • He believes his rock and roll savagery was tempered for many years by the need to produce mainstream records.
  • He has sold nearly 50 million albums, including 10 consecutive million-selling albums between 1975 and 1995. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ted - Loveland, CO, for all above
  • His music didn't appear on streaming services like Spotify until 2017. Any revenue he lost from holding out was likely more than compensated for by huge catalog sales - his Greatest Hits album sold 5 million copies in America from 2002-2017.

Comments: 15

  • Carol From Michigan from Springville UtahI'm from the Detroit area and love all Seger's songs. I go back to "Heavy Music" by Bob Seger & The Last Heard. Seger played all over the Detroit area, even High School dances. What I think is wonderful is that my son went to Bob Seger’s concerts in the ‘90’s and my grandson plays his music today. Three generations of Seger Fans
  • Thel from VirginiaI grew up in Michigan. My family moved to Wash DC in the 80s when I was teen after my family lost our farm. The painful sweet memories that many of Bob's song sometimes replay over in my mind as I think of those times.
  • William Thibodeaux from Lafayette, La.I love Bob Seger's music, especially "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then". It just touches my soul. So many things I could have done, should have done differently. Young and stupid, many regrets that sticks to you forever. In my younger years I had heard some of Bob Seger's music but didn't pay much attention to it. Back then I was mostly into what is now called classic country, e.g., George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and Randy Travis among others, and also in my area, we loved Cajun music. Thank you for posting Seger's music for all to enjoy.
  • C. Lash Larue from Dallas,texasThe first time I saw Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” video was on ‘Saturday Night Live’, in 1976. Kent and I went by a party at his brother’s house; (Saturday Night Live was a show we never missed). The first chords of “Night Moves” wafted from a Console TV in the back room. As if spellbound, the entire party moved to hear/see the new ballad by Bob Seger". Nobody said “Boo” for the duration of the video. Afterward,mthere
  • Louise Callery from Tn.Been a Bob Seger fan every since I heard him sing Turn The Page. He sings about his life on the road and how it has its ups and downs. He will still be rocking till God call him home
  • Midwestern Boy Far From Home from Oc California I saw Bob Seger in 76 when he and the Silver Bullet Band played live in my hometown a few hours away from Detroit.
    I saw him again with many of his orginal band again in 2007 at The Forum in LA.
    Shows what the love for making music and playing live means to these guys as well as the brotherhood of the band members.
    Been a blessing to follow them for all these years. God bless Bob and the Silver Bullet band members.
  • Susan from Redding,ca.I saw Bob Seger in 1968 playing for free at the Troy Mall his hit then was Heavy Music he was great then! why did it take so long for the rest of the world to see that? Everyone in Michigan loved him and yet you go yo another state, they never heard of him, why is that?
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzWow AJ...12 years old, and you actually appreciate Bob Seger. I wish there were more kids out there, like you. Rock on!
  • William David Snyder from Phoenix, AzI was at the Nov 18/06 show in Indianapolis In.
    He was note for note.I felt like it was 1976.
    What a rock show.
  • Kory from New Hope, Mnbob sger is one of the greatest musicians in rock and roll!when is the new album coming out?
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaBob Seger is truly one of the more talented characters in rock. Much better than alot of that crap out there today. And this is coming from a 12 year old. Bob Seger rocks!
  • Steve from Cincinnati, OhI agree with Clay, except I would have to say it was at least 10 years late.

    Steve, Cincinnati
  • Chris from Bluffton, ScI agree with Roger. Seger's first seven albums are very hard to find, and very expensive if you do.
  • Roger from Pisgah, AlCapitol Records should do a box set of Bob's music from the sixties to present.
  • Clay from Chattanooga, TnHe was rightfully inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real Group

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupSong Writing

The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. Televangelists

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

What Musicians Are Related to Other Musicians?

What Musicians Are Related to Other Musicians?Song Writing

A big list of musical marriages and family relations ranging from the simple to the truly dysfunctional.