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Rockphiles Artist Profile

Bob Seger

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While never reaching the heights of critical acclaim afforded his fellow 70s hard-driving rocker Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger took his fiery brand of Detroit rock and roll to a heartland which appreciated his working class ethics and mix of R&B and garage rock. Like fellow Midwesterner John Mellencamp, who lives on a farm in Indiana, Seger does not identify with the temptations of L.A. and New York and still resides in the city where he first made his mark.

Seger began his long career in the early 60s as a member of the Decibels and Town Criers, and later joined Doug Brown and the Omens as organist. As Seger's talents as a singer emerged, the band became known as Bob Seger and the Last Heard. They recorded a handful of hard rocking singles, "East Side Story" (1966) and "Heavy Music" (1967). Seger was signed by Capitol Records in 1968 and the singer's new group, the Bob Seger System, enjoyed a U.S. Top 20 hit that year with "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". Over the next few years, he was unable to follow up on his early success, so he disbanded the group in 1971 and returned to college.

In 1972, he came back with fellow Detroiters Teegarden & Van Winkle on Smokin' O.P.'s, issued by Palladium Records. Filled with covers of songs by Bo Diddley, Stephen Stills and Tim Hardin, the album was picked up by Reprise Records. Three subsequent albums flopped, but Seger was fast maturing as a songwriter.

By now one of the most experienced performers on the Midwest circuit, Seger put together a new group, the Silver Bullet Band and re-signed to Capitol in 1975, releasing his breakthrough album Beautiful Loser. By 1976, with the growing presence of saxophonist Tom "Alto Reed" Cartmell in the Silver Bullet Band, more than a few critics were starting to draw parallels between Seger and the emerging Springsteen.

Seger reinforced his in-concert popularity with the exciting Live Bullet, which spent 167 weeks on the Billboard album chart. 1977's Night Moves became his first platinum disc, with the title track reached the U.S. Top Five, a feat "Still The Same" repeated the following year. The latter hit was from the triple-platinum album, Stranger In Town, which also included his classics "Hollywood Nights", "Old Time Rock 'N' Roll" and "We've Got Tonight". He had eight Top 20 singles between 1976-81. 1980's chart-topping Against The Wind was followed by another megaplatinum live set, Nine Tonight.

In the 80s, Seger entered the film soundtrack and TV commercial arenas. "Old Time Rock and Roll" experienced a renaissance when Tom Cruise performed the famous dance clad only in his underwear in Risky Business, and Seger scored the first #1 single of his career in 1987 with "Shakedown" from Beverly Hills Cop II. He also licensed "Like a Rock" to Chevrolet for their long-running TV truck advertisements. 1991's platinum The Fire Inside was a huge critical hit but failed to produce a charting single. Still, Seger remained a popular touring act  On his record breaking 1996 U.S. tour, Ticketmaster claimed that the concert in his hometown sold 100,000 tickets in 57 minutes.

Seger was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004.





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