Bob Seger spent nearly 60 years writing music and performing live. With his distinctive voice and uniquely nostalgic lyrics, Seger churned out some of the greatest hits of the 1970s.
But the singer has been out of the spotlight for a while.
Join us as we look back on Bob Seger’s epic career and dig in to see what he’s up to now.
The Story of Robert Clark Seger
Bob Seger was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 6, 1945. His father, Stewart, abandoned the family when Bob was a child, leaving the family in financial straights.
Seger began playing music at 16 and performed with multiple bands during his early years. In 1966, Seger released his first solo single, East Side Story. His label dissolved shortly after. Then, in 1968 he formed the Bob Seger System and signed on with Columbia Records. However, his next album, Noah, was a flop.
Although he’d spent years attempting to hit it big, success was always just out of reach. Discouraged and burned out, Seger quit music and returned to school in 1969. This didn’t last long, though. A year later, he was back doing what he loved.
Throughout the early 70s, Seger played with several groups. In 1974, he formed the Silver Bullet Band with Alto Reed, Chris Campbell, Rick Manasa, Charlie Allen Martin, and Drew Abbott. Seger finally had a solid dream team to back him up.
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band released Night Moves in 1976. This song received critical acclaim and finally launched the singer into stardom.
Bob Seger’s Best-Known Songs
Bob Seger’s music reflects his rough-and-tumble past. It speaks to the working class in an authentic and endearing way. Below are a few of his most popular songs.
Against the Wind
Against the Wind is a heartfelt ode to the passage of time. This bittersweet song is a reflection of lost love and regrets. Seger wrote this hit with the help of the Eagles’ producer Bill Szymczyk.
Seger was skeptical of the famous line, “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” He said that the lyrics didn’t make sense to him grammatically. However, this line has now been included in several other songs, leading Seger to accept it.
Against the Wind was one of Seger’s greatest hits. In 1980, it won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. In June of that year, it hit number five on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Old Time Rock and Roll
Bob Seger wrote most of his own hits. However, Old Time Rock and Roll is one exception. While he assisted with some of the lyrics, Thomas Jones and George Jackson received writing credits for the song. Seger later said that one of his greatest regrets was declining writer credits for this tune.
This song also contrasted Seger’s other works because his band wasn’t behind the instrumentals. After several failed attempts to record the song, Seger eventually put his vocals over the demo initially recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
Night Moves is a song steeped in nostalgia. Seger claims it’s the story of losing his virginity in the back of an old Chevy to a girl who would go on to break his heart. With allusions to “sweet, sweet summertime” and “autumn closing in,” the song is also about how quickly time passes and youth fades away.
This is one of the only songs Seger wrote while on the road. And it ended up being the one that launched him into stardom.
Is Bob Seger in the Hall of Fame?
Bob Seger was underappreciated early in his music career. It took him nearly 20 years to get a contract with a major record label. But all of his hard work paid off.
In 2001, his hit song Old Time Rock and Roll earned him Song of the Century. In 2004, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Then, in 2012, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The blue-collar boy from Michigan probably never imagined his hard-fought music career would take him so far.
Why Did Bob Seger Postpone His Tour?
Seger’s Runaway Train Tour was abruptly cut short in 2017 when he began experiencing numbness in his hands. After a few scans, he learned that a ruptured disk in his neck was pinching his spinal cord.
His doctors said he was cleared to perform unless he felt any other symptoms. Unfortunately, after a few more shows, one of his legs lost feeling. He couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t perform.
Bob had spinal surgery shortly after this episode. This cervical laminectomy left him with intense back pain and required him to do daily physical therapy.
What is Bob Seger Doing Now?
At the end of the Runaway Train tour, Seger released his final studio album, I Knew You When. It was dedicated to Glenn Frey, a close friend and founding member of the Eagles.
In 2019, Bob Seger hit the road again for his Roll Me Away tour. However, in late 2020 he suffered another loss. His long-time friend and saxophonist, Alto Reed, passed away from colon cancer.
In an interview from that year, Seger said he didn’t think he could go on tour without Reed. Not only did the two have an emotional bond, but Reed was the backbone of Seger’s group. Bob wasn’t sure they could perform at the same level without him.
Bob Seger is no longer touring, but he continues to write music.
Rock and Roll Never Forgets
Bob Seger struggled to gain a foothold in the early days of his career. But his persistence ultimately paid off. He has spent nearly 60 years writing and performing music. While it seems his touring days are over, his uniquely upbeat and nostalgic hits remain popular today.
What’s your favorite Bob Seger song? Let us know in the comments below.
Sunday 30th of April 2023
I’m part of mister Segers generation and he has been my all time musician since I was early 16. I too will miss Alto, him and Clearence were my favorite saxophonist in a great band. If I had anything on a buckles it would be to meet the man, the legend and the real Bob Seger.
Wednesday 29th of March 2023
This was a nice read , but as a born and raised Detroiter it is missing SO MUCH !!! After Bob left The Decibels , The Town Criers , Doug Brown and The Omens he formed The Last Heard THATS who he recorded East Side Story with also Heavy Music Part 1and 2 on the Cameo Parkway label. (getting air play on CKLW). Yes The Bob Seger System Noah bombed but Mongrel was a good record. His solo stuff with Teagarden and Van Winkle Smokin' OP's is great! The album Seven was the start of The Silver Bullet Band in 1974. The kick off to fame was the Live Bullet record recorded at Cobo Arena Detroit in1975 and released 1976,THAT IS THE REAL BOB SEGER PERIOD !!! It captures the power and work ethic developed in YEARS of duking it out on the same stages/shows as The MC5, The Stooges (Iggy Pop) ,Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes ,The Rationals , Dick Wagner and The Frost , Grand Funk Rail Road and many , many hardened Detroit Rockers at places like the famed Grande Ball Room. Yes you are VERY CORRECT that Night Moves and other records after made him a national star but , go lean back with your head phones on 10 and an ice cold beer (and what ever else you like) and listen to Live Bullet front to back!!!!!!! Thank you for posting your content I enjoyed it :) !
Tuesday 28th of March 2023
I was 22 when I was first became familiar with Bob’s music at my local dive bar. I am now 68 years old. Instantly became a big fan and bought many of his albums and CDs. Probably my most favorite album is his “Live Bullet” record. Just listening to the energy that he and the band generated. My biggest regret is that I never saw him perform in the Philadelphia area. His voice and music will remain in my heart until the day that I die. Final note: my favorite Sefer song is Still the Same. It is timeless!
Wednesday 29th of March 2023
Great story, Steve! Thank you for sharing it with us.
Tuesday 28th of March 2023
Bob is my main man. Always and forever. I love every song he's ever done. But for some reason I'm always pulled to rambling gambling man. It just makes me feel good. Then of course against the wind. I saw him in the 90's in Kansas City. 5th row and center. We made eye contact, I was hypnotized. My life was complete and I could die a happy woman. 30 years later and he's still my #1. I love him.
Monday 27th of March 2023
Seeger is one of my favorite artists….”Like a rock” gets me every time