The Seger File
An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger
Written and edited by Scott Sparling

The Full Contents
Search the Seger File
The 2011 Tour Page

Latest News and Updates

2010 Updates
2009 Updates
2008 Updates
2007 Updates (Jan -July)
2006 Updates (Jan-Sept)
2006 Updates (Oct-Dec.)
2005 Updates
2004 Updates
2003 Updates (July-Dec)
2003 Updates (Jan-June)
2002 Updates
2001 Updates
1998-2000 Updates
Nine Years Online
The Seger File's Birthday Party
Unreleased Tracks
Vault V
10 more unreleased tracks
Vault 4
16 more unreleased tracks
Forward Into the Vault --
26 more unreleased tracks
Return to the Vault -- 18 More Unreleased Tracks
The Vault --31 Unreleased Tracks
Recorded but Unreleased --Unreleased Seger from A-Z
Photos 1Photos 2
Photos 3Photos 4
Hall of Fame Photos
Settle Annex
A collection of great Seger photos
Dylan's "Denver"
The Albums
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Brand New Morning
Smokin' O.P.'s
Back in '72
Beautiful Loser
Live Bullet
Night Moves
Stranger in Town
Against the Wind
Nine Tonight
The Distance
Like A Rock
The Fire Inside
Bob Seger's Greatest Hits
It's A Mystery
Greatest Hits 2
Face the Promise
Other Albums
The Promised Live Album
The Promised Studio Album
Seger on the Edge
The Bob Seger Collection --(Australian Greatest Hits)
Seger Classics
A Very Special Christmas,1987
Other Album Appearances
The Seger Tribute Album
Sing Your Own Seger
Perfect Albums?
Selected Singles
Check the Label
Who Picks the Singles?
Early Singles
The Lonely One
TGIF/First Girl
Ballad of the Yellow Beret
East Side Story
Persecution Smith
Sock It To Me, Santa
Vagrant Winter/Very Few
Heavy Music
2+2=?/Death Row
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Looking Back
If I Were A Carpenter
Bombs Away
Chances Are
My Take on Chances Are
Reaching Number One
Other Seger Tracks
Released on Singles, But Not on Albums
Covered by Others
Written By Seger, Recorded by Others
Night Moves (SNL)
Making Thunderbirds
Old Time Rock and Roll
American Storm
Like a Rock
Real Love
Fire Inside
Night Moves (New)
Turn the Page
It's A Mystery
Chances Are
Ten for Two
The Cobo Hall Tapes
The Palace Tapes
Influences/Other Bands
TV Appearances
Like a Truck
Who Does the Song Belong To?
Ancient History Dept.
How Seger Sees Rock/Truck
Singer or Salesman?
Gatsby, Seger and Victory
The Mystery Man
How the Song Became An Ad
Good Song, Great Ad?
Bad Press, Bad Precedent
Through the Lean Years
Bob's View
Insults and Dead Horses
Fix Or Repair Daily
The Early Years
Early Days
Motor City's Burning
Places He Played
More Dues-Paying Years
Career, Misc.
Lead Singer Vs. Guitar Player
The Slow Road to Success
The Requisites of Greatness
Theories: Why It Took So Long
"You Are Now Leaving Seger Territory"
Breaking Out
What Is Success?
Early Bands
The Decibels
The Town Criers
The Omens
Democracy Rocks
Later Bands
Bob Seger and the Last Heard
The Bob Seger System
Julia/My Band/Borneo Band
Muscle Shoals band
The Silver Bullet Band
Back-up Systems
Shaun Murphy
Karen Newman
Related Bands
Detroit All-Stars
Alto Reed
Blue Highway (Drew Abbott)
Bio, Part 1
Detroit? Ann Arbor?
We Even Sang the Parts the Instruments Were Playing
A Father Leaves
Fire and the Memory of Love
All the Wild, Wild Good Times
Interests and Hobbies
Predicting the Future, Then and Now
Bio, Part 2
On Growing Older
The Seger Work Ethic
You Can't Miss That Driving Rain
Friends and Family
Let's Dig Up Something Really Nasty
I'm Gonna Tell My Tale, C'mon
Of Caves and Barbed Wire
Early Tours and Shows
The Oakland Mall
The Primo, R&R Farm, Suds Factory and Chances Are
The Agora
On the Road
Jackson County Fair
Pontiac, the Michigan Jam and Other Victories
Seger in the Arena
The 1983 Tour
The 1986-87 Tour
The Last Tour?
They'll Never Be in The Arena, But They Get to Write the Reviews
San Francisco
New York
Los Angeles
Vancouver (Canada)
The 1996 Tour
The Set List Discussed
The Set List Presented
The Set List Analyzed
Bringing the Family
Tour Notes
Thirsty for Seger
A Review of the Reviews
Palace of Auburn Hills
The 2006-07 Tour Pages
Readin' O.P.'s
A compilation of e-mail messages. Some favorite are:
-- Hope to see you tonight
-- Motor City Rock
-- The FargoDome
-- The 7-Eleven and the Winter Olympics
-- He gave me a strange look
-- Now that we're older
Brand New Email
More great letters.
-- Seger, Sinatra, Cobain
-- My Dad, Bob and Charlie Martin
-- I work for General Motors
-- Seger and Mohammad Ali
-- The last thing I hear from Bob Seger
-- Road trip to Ann Arbor
-- I never spoke to Bob, but he always spoke to me
Brand New Email Pt. II
-- Bob at the Roseland Inn
-- Seger interview
-- Backstage with a bad pass
-- Put the car in park
-- Starry August nights
-- Cool me down
-- The bridge from Motown
-- The Seger-starved masses plead for tour news
-- The Kiss File?
Seger Stories and Misc. Email
--The best thing you could say
--Blue and Julia  
--Rockin' with Fidel  
--Early days of baseball and Bob
--Follow your heart  
--Waving with the lighter
Email '05
--About Drew Abbott
--On 2+2
--On "The Lonely One"
--About Tom Neme
--About Charlie Martin
--The Toledo Jam
--About Pep Perrine
--About Jim Bruzzese
--Early days
--Early songs
Seger Inks SimTour Deal, Gets Ready to Rock
Capitol Releases "Dee-Pah!
The Seger Cam is back online
The Michigan Jam 2
The Seger versus. SpringsteenComplexo-Meter
The Medicated Top 20
Reese: Money for Music
Get Back to Work
A guide to surfing The Seger File at work.
The Primo Photo
The Rolling Stone Letter
The Imaginary Interview
Why the Seger File Is Here -- Getting Over Bob Seger

The 2002 Updates

World Series of Advertising

They're the longest-running, most dependable ads on the air, er, trucks on the road. Okay, I admit it. I'm proud of the Like A Rock ads. It simply wouldn't be the World Series without Seger doing his five seconds of perfection every other commercial break. There's no chance in a million that I'll ever buy a Chevy truck, so I'm free to ignore the context and just enjoy hearing Seger's singing, brief as it is. I hope the campaign continues for another ten World Series. Seriously -- I really do.

But Old Navy -- good lord, will someone please sell them a treasured rock classic quick. I Want to Hold Your Hand, Hotel California, Born to Run, Ode to Billy Joe -- anything to replace their hoe-down Green Acres send-up. The Old Navy music makes you wish the baseball strike had really happened.

And finally, in the Mommy, What's A Sex Machine? Category -- Why the #!?%# is Pontiac running its "Sex Machine" commercial in movie theaters preceding Spy Kids 2 and Tuck Everlasting? Are they selling a lot of trucks to grade school kids, or what?

October 21, 2002

Once In A New Moon

Borders. Best Buy. Circuit City. Target. Go into the CD section of any of these stores and what you'll get is standardization. From Chattanooga to, well, anywhere in the country, the selection is about the same. Once in a while, though, you find an independent store with the grit and character to stand out from the corporate crowd. In Traverse City, Michigan, that store is New Moon Records. Full of posters, new CDs and rarities, old eight-tracks and a dog or two, New Moon is a standard stop whenever the Seger File visits Northern Michigan.

Owner Mike Parshall was Seger's road manager until 1969. (In 1969, Richard "Kinkle" Kruetzkamp took over as road manager for a couple of months; then from spring '69 to summer of '74, Thomas Weschler served as road manager. For a 1996 interview with Parshall, see the Concerts section of the Seger File.)

This time around, I found a copy of "Lookin' Back" in good condition. On display was a guitar signed by Bob and the band at the end of the 1996 tour and something I'd never seen before -- a Smokin' O.P.'s Frisbee. Have a look:

Seger's guitar at New Moon Records: Drew Abbott 's and Alto Reed's signatures are also visible.
Only 300 Smokin' O.P.s Frisbees were made, so I'm told;
they were rediscovered recently in a box in Punch's headquarters.

So if you're in Northern Michigan, like me, looking for some fall colors, you're out of luck: An unseasonably warm fall means the trees are still green. But if you're lucking for some Seger sights, pay a visit to New Moon. You can visit New Moon on the web here.

October 12, 2002

The Eternal Thompson Gunner

Sometimes, with Dylan, you don't know what he's playing until you hear a line or two. It was that way last night, four songs into his set in Eugene, Oregon. Dylan was playing McArthur Court, where the U of O plays basketball. The crowd was packed in shoulder to shoulder, marijuana mingled with incense in the air, and the band started a ballad that I recognized but didn't recognize.

Until that song, Dylan had been touching the lyrics lightly, like a person sampling the emotions involved. Now his demeanor changed, as he seemed to pour the full force of his heart into the song. Realization dawned on me with the line "Never thought I'd have to pay so dearly / for what was already mine / for such a long time." It is part of the genius of Bob Dylan that he continues to find new ways to amaze us. Last night, the person who could easily be called the greatest songwriter of our generation sent chills down my spine by playing someone else's song: Warren Zevon's "Accidentally Like A Martyr."

He didn't say it was Zevon's song, and he didn't say that Zevon is dying of lung cancer. He simply played the song with passion. Later in the set, Dylan and the band covered two more Zevon songs, "Lawyers, Guns and Money," and "Mutineer." Another performer might have made a big deal of dedicating the songs to Zevon. But Dylan didn't try to take credit for caring. No doubt he played the three Zevon songs because he wanted to, as a tribute from one musician to another. Some of us in the audience knew the story behind the songs and some didn't. And that was fine.

Dylan last played Oregon almost a year ago, on October 7, 2001, the day we started bombing Afghanistan. The show closer, "Blowin' In the Wind," struck a particularly powerful note last year. Yesterday, the song that seemed to vibrate with currency was "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)." The opening line -- "Can you tell me where we're headin' / Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?" -- seemed to have been written for the warlike and uncertain times we inhabit. Tales of Yankee Power indeed.

Since last year's show in Oregon, Dylan has played 104 concerts across America and Europe. Thirty more shows are scheduled between now and Thanksgiving. I said it last year, and I'll repeat it now: Dylan is at the height of his powers. See this tour if you possibly can.

October 6, 2002

Summer Days and Summer Nights Are Gone

…Which means it's time for the Seger File to move to its Northern Michigan headquarters for a little time in the woods. I have promised myself to spend any rainy days reading the last two months worth of unanswered e-mail. So if I owe you an answer, there's still hope. If it rains.

Sex, Cars and Rock and Roll

Once, when I was walking along a beach in my Like A Rock t-shirt, a super-thin woman in high-fashion beachwear looked at me sassily and said, "Hi, Rock." As a master of witty and seductive repartee, I suavely replied, well…something with edge and flair, I'm sure. Okay, actually I just kept walking. This was fifteen years ago. In the intervening years I still haven't thought of a snappy comeback.

I mention this now not to highlight my lame conversational skills, but as a prelude to my latest insight on the Like A Rock campaign for Chevy. Surprisingly, I want to say something very good about the campaign -- something that has been overlooked and uncommented-on, at least by me. Until now, that is. Here it is:

The most successful automotive ad campaign of modern times is built around a classic rock song that has nothing to do with sex.

Amazing, isn't it? Think about the stunning implications of this. More to the point, consider the implications of every other rock campaign. In a single night of moderate tube-watching, cars and trucks have invited me to "Come and Get Your Love," or to "Come On and Take A Free Ride" (wink, wink). Pontiac, shamelessly selling cars to the tune of James Brown's "Sex Machine," doesn't even bother with innuendo.

Of course, the vast majority of rock songs are about sex anyway, on some level. And that's just fine with me. Sex and music go together. But what happens to the national psyche when you combine sex and music and selling cars on the world's most powerful media and repeat constantly from now until, well, the end of time?

The answer -- my answer, anyway -- comes from Philip Slater's 1970 classic, The Pursuit of Loneliness: "Through the mass media, everything sexless has been sexualized: automobiles, cigarettes, detergents, clothing." We are "daily bombarded with bizarre sexual stimuli and deranged and erotic associations." The psychic result, ultimately, is disconnection with a capitol D. Slater's book begins with a quote from Paul Simon -- "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why."

So, here's to Seger for writing a classic song that's not about sex. The skinny beach-woman was wrong. Like A Rock is about commitment, not about erections. And here, grudgingly, is to Chevy, for not using sex as a sales weapon. Sell me gas-guzzling, environment-wrecking SUVs and trucks if you must, but don't mess with my libido. It's messed up enough as it is.

October 6, 2002

Unreleased Seger -- The Seger File Goes Inside the Vault

By the time "Face the Promise" came on, I'd been listening to track after track of unreleased Seger: Rarities spanning three decades, including the full version of "Corners," a long version of "Like A Rock" with an extra verse and many other gems and near-misses. To be honest, after four hours with the headphones on, my energy was spent. There is such a thing, after all, as too much Seger.

"Face the Promise" changed all that in under five seconds. The energy, the confidence, the unmistakable power and authority of the track -- and, my god, the commanding vocals -- had me on my feet instantly.

This was it -- the real thing. For the next three and half minutes I simply stopped thinking, the way you stop thinking during great drama or great sex, and just stood there soaking it all in. Now, four days later, I can still hear it playing in my head.

Today, the Seger File begins a multipart series called Inside the Vault -- the most detailed account of Seger's unreleased music ever published anywhere, on the Web or on paper. Included is a close look at five new tracks recorded for the upcoming album. So say good-bye to the waiting. It's time to face the promise of the promised CD.

Click here to read the Inside the Vault.

July 29, 2002

Timothy White Remembered

Timothy White, music journalist and Billboard editor often quoted on this site, passed away at age 50 last June. White was one of the most intelligent and skillful music writers I ever read. A site commemorating his career -- and his commitment to artists and their music -- can be found here.

September 3, 2002

Sail On

Bob Seger and his crew of 11 once again took first place in the annual Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race. It's the third time Seger has competed in the race and his second victory --both in Lightning, his 53-foot sailboat. Seger's corrected time was 39 hours, 44 minutes and 27 seconds. According to Seger fan Bill Cook, who has inside sources, the crew of Lightning was playing "Like A Rock" at the dock when they knew they'd won. Seger is quoted about "the light air, the close power reaching, the hard tacking" in a Free Press article here.

For sailing fans, the excitement may be over, but Seger fans now await the Aftermath -- the post-race interview in the Detroit News, wherein we get a little morsel of news and potentially false hope about the upcoming CD. (The fact that this morsel may turn out to be untrue makes it no less delicious, however.) Note to Susan Whitall: Ask Bob how 9/11 affected his songwriting and any of the other questions listed here. If and when an article appears, I'll post a link.

July 16, 2002

Seger in the Breeze -- Special Finish Line Cam Just Added !

In July, the Seger news comes not from the studio, but from Lake Huron. This year, once again, Seger is sailing in the Port Huron to Mackinac race; Seger's boat, Lightning, came in first last year. This year's race is expected to end early Monday.

To keep you up-to-date, I'm in close contact with sources on the lake. Indeed, just after noon eastern time, the Coast Guard radioed the Seger File with this report. (I could tell it was the Coast Guard because of the way my table lamp blinked in prearranged sequence -- the signal for me to retreat to my underground communications HQ for a top-level Seger transmission.) Here's what the captain, or skipper, or whatever those Coast Guard types are called, had to say:

Coast Guard report at 12:02pm - Near the front of the fleet are Pied Piper (GL 70, 41104), Bob Seger's Lightning (51152), Victrix (47001) and Insatiable (GL 50, 42616). The rest of the fleet is to the SE, spread widely.

In case you're curious as to what this race is all about, check out the neato map stolen from the Detroit News, below. Roughly 250 sailboats race roughly 250 nautical miles. Seger races the Southampton Course.

And, as an extra-special feature, this year the Seger File includes the live, as-it-happens, Finish Line Cam so you can see Seger's boat actually cross the finish line. Or to be slightly more precise, the Seger File includes the "Broken Graphic" icon you'd get if you went to the official race site and tried to view the Finish Line Cam yourself. In the interest of saving you time, we proudly present the Broken Graphic icon right here. Stare at it closely for several hours without blinking or moving and you'll have a sense of what it's like to wait for Seger's next CD.


Catch all the excitement of staring at a blank screen on the dysfunctional Finish Line Cam. It's the next best thing to not being there.


Whatever the Fair Use statute says about stolen graphics, I hereby invoke it.

July 14, 2002

Rock the Hall for Bob Seger -- Now.

Maybe you heard him at Cobo, or the Rock and Roll Farm, or in some mega-arena. Maybe The Distance or Against the Wind got you through some terrible time in your life. Maybe Night Moves changed something in your heart. Or maybe, thanks to Bob, there's been a time in your life when you couldn't believe what the band was putting down.

And now it's time to give something back.

That's right. Seger's birthday is coming up, and those of us who love his music are getting together to give him a little present: A place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Or at least a nomination.

Here's how you do it. Go to Rock the Hall and sign the electronic petition to get Bob in the Hall. Seger fan Eric Verona has put this excellent site together to help rectify the Hall's blind spot where Seger is concerned.

Think about it: Seger -- with ten straight multi-platinum albums, 19 Top-40 singles, a thirty-year career, and nearly a million ticket sales the last time he toured -- wasn't even nominated for the Hall of Fame this year. Not even nominated. The respected rock critic Stephen Holden of the New York Times has described Seger as having "all the requisites of greatness: the voice, the songwriting, the performance onstage, the vision and the ambition." And yet the Hall doesn't seem to get the message. It's time to change that.

Seger's birthday is May 6. We've gotten so much from him. We should take a moment to give him something in return.

So, from now on, the Seger File is no longer free. As the price of admission, I'm asking you to go to Rock the Hall and sign the petition. And then, of course, come back.

Updated April 28, 2002

Seger Sources From Here and There

I've always felt that if you have to add more than 2 dB of EQ to anything, you're in a salvage situation. If you agree with that statement -- or if, unlike me, you actually understand that statement -- then you might also enjoy reading a behind-the-scenes account on the recording of "Night Moves." The session is recounted from the point of view of producer Jack Richardson, who says he "pushed Bob up a very little around the 1.6 to 1.8kHz range to accentuate the harmonics in his voice."

(Side note: Richardson is the immensely successful producer of the Guess Who and Alice Cooper who once said: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money-trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.") James Reaney, London Free Press, October 3, 2001. "Jack Richardson nursed the Guess Who to stardom and began a legend."

At any rate, Richardson's version of how "Night Moves" came together is a little different from Seger's; the story can be found here. Thanks to Seger fan Michael Funk for the Night Moves article and to Seger Dew Liner Randy Cepuch for the London Free Press piece.

Speaking of things worth reading, the latest edition of the All Music Guide to Rock from the people is now in bookstores. The book rates over 12,000 albums by more than 2,000 artists and groups -- including a very good Seger section written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. The Guide profiles every Seger album, even the out-of-print ones.

Two coincidental facts: Erlewine's uncle played the harmonica on "Down Home" in the late sixties. And it was a Seger File reader / contributor (who shall remain nameless) that helped Erlewine score those out-of-print Seger albums so the reviews could be written.

And speaking of music that is out-of-print, several months ago Seger File upstart Sean P. was kicking around the Web and found RealPlayer samples of five cuts off Mongrel, including gems like "Highway Child" and "Song to Rufus." You could snoop around and find them yourself, or just click here.

Finally, here and there I've managed to do a little mini-Seger File update, thanks to info sent in by readers about Seger soundtracks, Julia, the Detroit All Stars, Seger songs covered by others, and of course, the Oakland Mall concert.

May 12, 2002

Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Sold

Actually, not that long at all. Face it: You can hardly watch an hour of TV anymore -- let alone a major broadcast such as the Academy Awards -- without feeling like you're at a rock concert during every commercial break. The Beatle's "Taxman" for H&R block. Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" for the latest high-emission, low-mileage SUV. Led Zeppelin for Cadillac.

In other words: All of "Truck's" children are on-air, making their pitch*.

Sure, it's not entirely "Like A Truck's" fault. But when the most successful automotive ad campaign in modern times is built around a rock song, it just naturally spawns a lot of imitators. In the ad business, imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery. It's the sincerest form of greed. Which leads me to the following question.

Who is the rock band that sells out the most?

Correct. Asked and answered. The Who. Advertisers seem to own their entire catalogue. Nissan is no doubt paying Pete Townshend big bucks and calling it a bargain, the best they've ever had. Not content to bastardize one song, Clarinex packs a whole medley of Tommy tunes into its latest spot. Remember when the rock opera claimed "We're not gonna take it?" It turns out they are gonna take it...all the way to the bank.

This is the band, of course, that titled one of their biggest albums "The Who Sell Out." What a hip, with-it joke that was: As if one of the world's most rebellious bands would ever stoop to selling deodorant. Now the joke has lost its humor. The album title is no longer sarcastic: it's real.

As it happens, The Who were the makers of the first piece of recorded music I ever purchased with my own money: I Can't Explain. A three-minute slice of musical perfection at 45 rpm. I've lugged it around with me for more than three decades, through nine states, a zillion apartments, two houses, three major girlfriends and a wife. I don't ever play it, because I can hear it note for note in my head anytime I want. I'll probably keep it 'til I die.

Still, I'm waiting for the day I turn on the TV and hear it being used to pitch a cell phone, a sports car or a diet pill. I'm pretty convinced it'll happen, sooner or later. And for Pete's sake, why? Aren't these guys already bazillionaires? Maybe it's Michael Jackson's fault; maybe The Who don't own their own catalogue, in which case I take back all my nasty comments. Maybe that's it. Otherwise, I can't explain.


*("Making somebody rich. It's a come-down, baby, cause rock and roll was never for this." )

March 29, 2002

Outside is In

Outsider music, that is -- music with a raw unpolished charm, made outside the mainstream. Last week's NYT mag says outsider music is a "reaction to the kind of ultrapasteurized pop music we've had to live with for the past few years....Music fans have been waiting -- and waiting -- for the next real thing, for a rough original band to sweep in (the way Nirvana did in the early '90s)." We're thirsting for a raw, direct kind of music, rough-hewn and real, says the article by Dwight Garner.

Garner, who's a big-time editor at the NYT Book Review, has probably been reading this web site. I'm sure he got his ideas from my little screed on this very page, where I yearn for a new Seger CD: "One with less production -- something closer to demo tapes than finished recordings....Give me take one with Seger and keyboards, any time. The rawer, the better." You can scroll down forever and read the Seger File piece for yourself under Seger In the Raw, or just click.

The same magazine has a charming interview with Barry Manilow, by the way. "I stand for emotional, truthful pop music," says Manilow, who then adds, "I don't listen to pop music....I've never really been a pop music fan." His early songs demonstrate "how out of touch with pop music I was. I still am." Yeah, right. Personally, I stand for emotional and truthful social discourse with Uma Thurman, except that I'm not an Uma Thurman fan. In fact, I've always been out of touch with her and still am. Sure. Time for your medication, Mr. Manilow.

March 22, 2002 with apologies to Sean.

Just Back from Nashville

Actually, I've never been to Nashville. But Laura Creamer has -- you recognize her name from the last seven Seger albums, right? -- and she brings a little Seger news with her. For the tidbit behind this teaser, click here.

February 15, 2002

Nashville Update from the Seger DEW Line

An April release? Seger DEW Liner Jesse B. dishes out more Nashville info and serves up a prediction. Click here for the update.

February 21, 2002

Looking Back

I've always loved the back of 'Back.' In fact, I'd say the 'Back' back is one of the finest in the rack.*

Lest you think you've stumbled into the Tom Leykis site by mistake, let me hasten to add that the rack in question is the Seger rack, and the back is the back cover of "Back in '72." I've admired it (not everyday, you understand, but off and on) for thirty years. But it took an e-mail from an upstart Seger fan named Sean to get me to look at it really closely. Which led to an interesting discovery.

Before we go any further, let me say that those of you who believe Seger's first album was Live Bullet are now excused. The rest of you might want to put on your white linen gloves, open your humidity-controlled, airtight, double-locked album vaults and come back with "Back."

Got it? Okay, take a look at the photo on the back. I think it's extremely cool, mainly because of its complete lack of pretense. There's a big honkin' sound booth or something in the center of the photo. Everybody's looking away from the lens, as if they have no idea the photographer is there. There's no rock 'n' roll posturing -- instead, the photo has a real you-are-there sense of what a Seger recording session looked like in those days.

Enter Sean, the upstart fan who was born the month "Back in '72" was released. After a landing a copy of this rare Seger album, he e-mailed me with a rave review and a question: "Is that a can of Coors Alto Reed is drinking on the back?"

Hmm. Maybe. Indeed, using advanced photo-analysis techniques (a bright light and a magnifying glass) I'd have to say...yes, I think that is definitely a can of Coors. But wait -- how could it be?? This photo was taken in 1972, and Coors wasn't distributed nationally until years later. Did Bob and the boys bring back a trunkfull of Coors while they were getting out of Denver, perhaps? Or -- bingo -- is the presence of Coors a tip-off that the Borneo Band was recording west of the Mississippi?

Only one man would know for sure. Well, actually many men would know for sure, but only one man with an e-mail address available to me: the photographer himself, occasional Seger File contributor Thomas L. Weschler. I dispatched a query and hence came the reply:

"You are right! We were at Leon Russell's home in Tulsa, OK. Thanks for the compliment, I always liked that shot too. As for the cover...Punch did not like any of the photos we had available and the deadline was Carol got the call!"

Aha. Just as I thought! Not that I know who Carol is, exactly. Someone who got the call, obviously and good for her. No problem -- I like having a little mystery left. Anyway, I passed this amazing tidbit on to Sean and got the following message back.

"Funny how a guy can own an album as long as someone else has been alive, and then the young upstart notices something he never did. I think the photo is interesting because it's so "regular," i.e. unposed and unplanned; probably Seger and Reed and the others didn't even know it was being taken, so it's more like a shot from some not-quite-forgotten party, and that sort of thing always fascinates me."

There you have it. That would be the end of the story except for the e-mail that came in from Scotland today.

"If there is one thing in my life that is missing, then that would be to have "Back in '72" on CD. I remember the day I bought the album. I went into an import shop in Glasgow (Scotland) and this album was playing. It was the title track. It was the rawness and the energy that drew me to it. I bought it without hearing any other track. I didn't normally do that. It's one of the few albums I can honestly say I love every track. But constant playing has left its mark. I know of many of Bob's fans who would love to own this gem just the way it was remastering or tinkering with it, just as it first appeared all those years ago. Let's start a petition and see if we can change the great man's mind. Please issue "Back In '72" on CD. Regards, Mike Dillon, Paisley, Scotland."

In other words, bring back "Back."

-- (Thanks to Sean and to Mike Dillon for their e-mails and to Thomas Weschler for the info above and the photo below.)

The back of "Back in '72." Photo by Thomas Weschler.

 *It's right up there with, say, the back of Seven.

February 18, 2002

Update: Carol, says photographer Weschler in today's e-mail, "is Ms. Bokonowicz (sp?) a young (17 at the time) art student whose artistic input we sought on a regular basis. She was called upon to do the front cover of Back In '72." The same batch of e-mail brought more information about the musicians on Back in '72, and how they transitioned from Seger to Leon Russell to Eric Clapton. Check it out, here.

February 19, 2002

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