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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bob Seger is objectively the greatest musician of all time

The other day, a friend and I found ourselves talking about who our biggest influences were musically and what we would say if we were ever interviewed.  My friend said Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bob Seger, among others.

While initially taken aback by the seemingly out-of-leftfield selection of Bob Seger, I threw on “Hollywood Nights” and realized that Bob Seger is one of the greatest American songwriters and storytellers ever.

Before you say, “Bob Seger? He sucks! I only know him from that scene in ‘Risky Business,’” step back and listen to his music.  Seger grew up in Michigan to a very working-class family, and his songs echo those themes.

Seger has released 16 studio albums and collectively between all of his albums, has sold more than 40 million copies in the United States.  For some perspective, that puts him tied for 33rd best  selling US artist with Eric Clapton, and he has sold more albums than Prince, Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan have individually.

Seger, while incredibly popular in certain circles, has never had the same sort of mainstream appeal of, say, Bruce Springsteen.  He’s only had one album that reached #1 on the Billboard 200, Against the Wind, which (despite receiving four stars from Allmusic) is actually nowhere near his best work.

He has also written some of the most objectively memorable songs in American history including, such as “Night Moves” and “Against the Wind.”

The lyrics to “Night Moves” echo the sentiments of almost every teenage boy ever.  “Workin’ on our night moves/trying to lose the awkward teenage blues” is a line that effectively sums up every adolescent male’s early romantic encounters.

Though some may think of Bob Seger as out of touch with the modern world as his songs are about ’60s Chevys and all sorts of other old-timey things, Seger’s lyrics are truly timeless.  The plight of the workingman will never go away. Just ask Bruce Springsteen, he’ll tell you.

Furthermore, Seger’s legacy and influence have extended to bands such as The Black Crowes, Blues Traveler and fellow Michigan native Kid Rock, who Seger recently toured with.

Another reason why Bob Seger is awesome is his hair.  That’s right, Bob Seger had a mullet.  While the ’70s were filled with great mullets (including Michigan’s own Ted Nugent), Seger’s was a cut above the rest.  Just look at the cover of Stranger in Town to get a better idea of his amazing party-in-the-back.

Bob Seger has always been a powerhouse in concert, and while his age is starting to show ever so slightly, you have to give him a break as he was born a week after Hitler died.  Seger is known for marathon concerts, playing dozens of songs each and every night and just generally being a great performer.

While all of that is awesome, Seger has recently added something even more special to his shows: a headband.  You heard me—Bob Seger wears a headband on stage.  When asked about it in an interview with the Associated Press, Seger claimed the headband is only used as a way of keeping sweat out of his eyes.

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I call shenanigans on this.  I personally think Bob Seger should learn to embrace the headband, as it’s the only logical stylistic progression from the mullet.

Seger has a new album coming out, which Wikipedia incorrectly lists as having been released in 2012.  This is great news as, according to his fan site, it features songs such as “Ride Out,” with is described as being “perhaps the title track, about heading out and escaping it all” and “Wonderland,” which is described as “inspired by the world of science and the discovery of water on Mars.”

If that doesn’t sound awesome to you, I don’t know what will.  If people can lap up Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball, which featured the worst song ever to be put on 12” vinyl (“Wrecking Ball” itself), then this upcoming Bob Seger album will likely cement him as the greatest artist of all time.

Before you “Turn the Page,” turn on a Bob Seger song.  Maybe you will find that you too are influenced by Bob Seger.

Don’t think Bob Seger’s the best? What’s wrong with you? Explain to Brian why you’re wrong at weidy@wisc.edu.

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