The Seger File

An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger
Last updated May 1998
Edited by Scott Sparling

The Rolling Stone Letter

On March 17, 1983, Rolling Stone magazine published my letter to the editor about Bob Seger. As with the Seven photo, I remember well the feeling of elation the day I saw it in print.

As it happened, the woman who is now my wife scoffed at the aspirations I had for my letter, before it was published. The scoff was a little sound she made in her throat, kind of a k-kh sound, like a friendly but derisive cough. I've come to have some affection for this sound, this good-natured skepticism, but I remember clearly how it stiffened my spine that day. I stood in the hallway with the letter in my hand, on my way to the corner mailbox with this important letter to Rolling Stone, which, I announced, I fully expected to see in print, being endlessly optomistic about my writing. And she scoffed. But I was right. I mailed off my letter and several weeks later, there it was, in print.

What have I learned from this? That it's great to be right. It's great how it lasts. Other things fade. Great sex, for example, is wonderful while it's happening, but who remembers great sex they had in 1983? Not me. Whereas I remember very well how it felt when Rolling Stone arrived and there was my letter.

Of course, they edited it. It was short to begin with -- just two paragraphs -- but nevertheless they deleted the first two and a half sentences. In its unedited version, the letter was about a recurring Seger dream I've had all my adult life, in which I find an album full of unreleased Seger tracks. I related this to a comment Seger had made in a Rolling Stone interview about his decision not to make The Distance into a double album.But the editors axed the portion referring to the dream, making it sound like I was referring to a real album of unreleased Seger gems.

Consequently, I began to receive phone calls from people around the country, including one of the most ardent and knowledgeable Seger fans, whose early photos of Bob have appeared in various places. I would explain to these callers that the letter was based on a dream, not a real experience, and they would be disappointed. Still, it was nice to talk with other Seger fans, back in the days before the internet.

The unedited version of the letter is as follows.

January 14, 1983


Understand that in the old days I hunted club to bar across native Michigan to hear Bob Seger play. That's my photo of him at Ann Arbor's defunct Primo Showbar on the back of Seven. So I've had this recurring dream off and on for ten years: I'm in a cramped, dusty shop and find a Seger album I've never seen before, loaded with unreleased tracks I've heard of, but rarely (or never) heard: Can't Hit the Corners, Carfax Alley, Suicide Streets, Breaking Up Somebody's Home, Kuwait, Jet Set Woman, Whole Lotta Love, Wounded Angel, Bringing It Back, Patient, Higher and Higher, Long Long Gone -- Bob Seger's Basement Tapes.


Bob, the Distance shakes me like those Showbar sets did. You were going to make it a double album, and didn't? Lord, another ten years of dreams...

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