The first single from Like a Rock, this was often misinterpreted as a patriotic anthem, but it is really about the dangers of drug use. Seger explained to Creem magazine in 1986: "People who do drugs probably recognized it right away. That song isn't from my experience, but from observing the experiences of those around me. I'm no saint, but I've never had a serious drug problem. I thought it was a bad thing three years ago, but it's gotten worse. It's a world problem now. Personally, I was never really affected by drugs. I was the kind of guy who, in high school, would buy a six-pack out of peer pressure, drink half a can and pour the rest out. Cocaine is just bad stuff. I've seen too many people act like idiots on it."
Eddie Vedder often changes the words when he sings "Yellow Ledbetter." The basic story is about a guy whose brother dies in the first Gulf War. Apparently, bad news in the army is given in yellow envelopes.