The Seger File
An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger Archived updates from 2005 For the latest updates, see News & Updates page. 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

Local Grit -- Detroit and Seger in Books

So it's 1983, and the artist still known as Prince is touring and it seems every city he goes, Seger is also there, and playing to huge crowds. Prince doesn't get it. Why do people like music like that, he asks keyboardist Mike Fink. Fink says it's because the songs are simple and also anthems.

"Write something like that," he tells Prince, "and you'll cross right over." So Prince writes a four-chord anthem called "Purple Rain."

How did I come by this little nugget? Simple. Google Books. Throw the words "Bob Seger" into Google's new search engine and you'll find all kinds of things, including the above anecdote from Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince, by Alex Hahn (And Fall? I hadn't noticed the fall).

You'll learn how Punch supposedly went "through the roof" when the famous bootleg, Michigan Nuggets, was circulated with Seger's early Cameo-Parkway tracks. How Seger was initially afraid to put "American Storm" on Like A Rock, thinking that it would be misinterpreted as a pro-drug song by conservatives who wanted to label CDs with various warnings. (How the Left Lost Teen Spirit by Danny Goldberg.)

In This Must Be The Place, a book about the Talking Heads, you'll see how John Cale, of all people, was urging Warner Bros. not to drop Seger from the label: "The minute he left, he had a Top Ten album," a slight exaggeration. And how Phil Lynott and Bob became friends on the BTO tour (from a book called Phil Lynott: The Rocker.)

Admittedly, these are all just tidbits, sometimes only a sentence or short paragraph. Some of the best are from a book called "Grit, Noise and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock and Roll" by David A. Carson. It covers the years when Seger was playing places like the Roseland strip club in my hometown, Jackson, Michigan. At these gigs, "I learned to go out and meet the audience between shows, so they'd get to know us and come back," Seger says.

Click to enlarge book page or photo.

The amazing photo of Seger at the Mt. Holly Ski Lodge north of Pontiac is from the book -- though it may be in black and white in the book. The one here comes from the site of Pat Appleson Studios. Other great photos are there as well, including one I borrowed for the Seger File intro page. "We were pleased to have many of our photos included for publication," Appleson says on his site. "I shot them because I felt that they might be important some day. I never imagined they would wind up in a book about an era."

Of course, "Grit" covers a lot more than Seger. For the table of contents (in pdf form), click here.

For example, I learned that the first 45 I ever bought, The Who's "I Can't Explain," only reached the 93rd spot on national charts, but reached No. 5 in Detroit. "There's a dozen records like that," Carson said. "Detroiters had great taste and they liked hard-rock records." Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press, September 7, 2005. "Rock scene boasts a legacy that can't be beat, author says."

And if you trust a drummer, check out what Johnny "Bee" Badanjek -- drummer for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Rockets, and the Romantics -- has to say about "Grit."

"I've never read or seen a more complete history about the Motor City/Michigan music scene than what Carson has written. He has done a remarkable job telling the story of all the singers, artists, and musicians that had a part in the making of one of the greatest musical cities in the world."

"Who really broke Bob Seger locally and nationally..."

If Detroit rock interests you, there's another book you should know about -- Local DJ by Peter Cavanaugh. Once a deejay at WTAC in Flint, Cavanaugh's autobiography covers the music scene from the mid-50's to the present.

Here's what Punch has to say about Local DJ.

"I can never say "thank you" enough when it comes to who really broke Bob Seger locally and nationally. It was and still is Peter Cavanaugh and Rosalie Trombly. Rosalie had CKLW that went into 36 states. She would ask who else was playing the record and, of course, I would say Peter C. at WTAC in Flint.

"You had to have WTAC and Peter if you were going to have a hit in Michigan. If he wasn't playing our record, I would immediately jump in my car and drive to Flint. As long as the record was good, he never let us down. We always got a fair run and real air play. Pete, Bob and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We read your manuscript for "Local DJ" and think it's great. It reads like a movie!" -- Punch Andrews

I like the other raves as well. Local legend and former fugitive Pun Plamondon says: "Peter - I heard your voice on many trips...I assume it was the radio...Perhaps not. You set the standard." --Pun Plamondon/Minister of Defense/White Panther Party/FBI's 10 Most Wanted List (1970)

And check out the quote from filmmaker Michael Moore on the Local DJ site.

June '76: "Nutbush" at 17, and Lynott at 15.

Either book would probably make a great Christmas gift. For me, I'll take Seger live, playing the song he inspired -- "Purple Rain." Can you imagine the scene? Keyboards, spotlight, a hush over the arena. The stuff of dreams.

November 24, 2005

Fans Or Customers -- Which Are We?

That's a question that's been on my mind lately, now that Christmas approaches without a new CD. Barring a huge last minute surprise, that is.

Let me clarify something right off. It's not the lack of the CD that bugs me. I'm incredibly patient. I'm at that point in life where six months seems to go by in a blink. Wasn't it summer yesterday? So I don't mind waiting.

No, what bugs me is the lack of information. The way you never know what's going on. Which leads to the question in the headline. Let's attack this from two directions, okay?

First, the marketing/management angle. The Seger marketing strategy can be summed up in two words. Scarcity and surprise. The scarcity half is driven by good old supply and demand. Keep the supply of Seger product scarce and presumably demand will stay high. And surprise creates excitement. Keep everyone, including your label, in suspense with a huge cone of silence and then...voila! Make a huge splash. Segermania ensues.

That's a smart and effective marketing strategy for maximizing customers.

But it's not so good for dealing with fans. A fan-artist relationship is different from a customer-seller transaction. Fans want information, access, they want to feel connected -- and sure it has to be controlled. But at some fundamental level, the fan-artist relationship is all about connection. Which means information. Why does Pete Townsend bother to post on his site that it might take him another five years to finish his album? Presumably because he feels like he's in an ongoing conversation with people who appreciate what he does.

I'm not saying Townsend's right and Seger's wrong. But I often feel like I'm on the receiving end of a marketing strategy.

Okay, how about the artistic angle? The point here is that no one -- not even Seger -- really knows when the album is going to be ready. The status can change every day. Fair enough. Just tell us, once in a while, what the status is today. If somebody leaks a date to the Freep, and the date changes, why not say so? Say it won't be out 'til March or summer or whenever. Say we can't decide on the album art. We're mixing a new track. Whatever. A little info would make us feel like part of the party. And what would be wrong with that?

November 24, 2005

New Photos, Old Articles

A couple of new pages have been added to the Seger File. Photo gallery three and four are finally up. The photos aren't exactly new, just new to the Seger File.

Also up are some article links. There's Seger's tribute to Smokey Robinson, as well as a great column called The American Ruse about 2+2=? from the Orange County Weekly. And, now that the Like A Rock ads are history, yet another take on rock music and advertising, this time from former Doors drummer John Densmore.

November 27, 2005

The Freep Says CD This Year

A Brian McCollum article in the Detroit Free Press says Seger's new CD (formerly titled "Face the Promise" and now titled "Break the Promise", I mean, now untitled) will hit stores by Christmas. The exact date depends "on delivery of final cover art and liner notes, sources said." Brian McCollum, September 20, 2005, Detroit Free Press. "New Seger album due by end of year."

To me, the most interesting part of that quote is "sources said." What -- has Punch Enterprises finally become so secretive that they won't even talk on the record to the Free Press?

The more obvious question, of course, is whether to believe it. Stay tuned.

September 20, 2005. Thanks to Charlie Keegan for tip. Revised 11/24/05.

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

Add one more tune to the potential track list for "Face The Promise." Earlier this year, Seger added another one to the pile, for a total of at least 30 unreleased tracks since his last CD. The title of the newest one: "Too Late."

August 5, 2005

"O.P.'s" -- Still Smokin' After All These Years

When the re-release of Smokin' O.P.'s was announced earlier this year, I was pretty unexcited and a little bit bummed, due to the lack of any bonus tracks. But then, thanks to an email or two, I remembered that there are plenty of younger Seger fans who have never heard any of O.P.'s. For them, the reissue is totally worth it.

Not long after that, the Segerfile received its first official freebie after seven years of relentless writing about Seger. It was a review copy of O.P.'s.

So has the free disc changed my opinions? Partly yes and partly no. I still have some problems with the track list. But the reissue also reminded me how absolutely great Seger sounds on this disc.

I also had to remind myself that this album was recorded in two and half days in 1972. Seger, Dave Teegarden and Skip "Van Winkle" Knape recorded 10 tracks and used seven. Just think -- what if Seger did that now? Spent two or three days in the studio and came out with seven new tracks. Even if half of them totally missed the mark, I'd still be ecstatic. I'd be in heaven.

If you're on the fence about buying O.P.'s, you shouldn't be. Here's what it has to offer:

The album starts with a staple from Seger's early-70's show: "Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love." The vocals are staggeringly good. They're just way too short, especially compared to the solos, which go on forever. I timed it: the vocals take about two minutes, and the solos eat up four minutes. That's way out of whack.

But at least Seger sings lead on "Bo Diddley." On "Love the One You're With," he's almost a back-up singer. Hey, it's great to play Other People's music. But not so great when Other People sing lead. Here's my radical idea for a Seger song: Seger sings lead vocals.

At this point, the disc feels like it's O for 2. But then everything changes.

On "If I Were A Carpenter," Seger takes the lead and soars. Occasionally you can hear Knape trying to hammer his way into the spotlight, but mostly the track is great. No doubt about it: Seger owns this song; his vocals are untouchable. This one is a must-have for any Seger fan.

And it just gets better from there. I'd forgotten how terrific "Hummin' Bird" is. Seger shows amazing vocal range and control, taking this ballad to tremendous heights. My bet is that if "Hummin' Bird" had been included on a later album (after Night Moves) it might have become a radio classic. As it is, it's an overlooked gem -- and worth the price of the CD all by itself.

Same for "Let It Rock." Must-have for every Seger fan. Tasty, energetic and rocking.

For me, "Turn On Your Love Light," is mixed. The vocals have force and energy, but the musical track seems to be taking a tasty little stroll. The solo problem re-emerges. It's as if a three-person band just doesn't have enough oomph to keep up with Seger's vocals, though they give it a good shot.

As for "Jesse James" -- I like it. It's an unusual song, even for an album of covers. I don't remember hearing Seger play this cut live, so it surprised me. Not a classic, but fun.

And then you get "Someday." My god, what a great song. I have to say, I like it a whole lot more when I play it separately from the rest of O.P.'s. It doesn't seem to fit the lineup, not only because it's not a cover, but because the emotion is so different -- plainer, more stark, more real. You get a hint of "Turn the Page" yearning in this song. You get a piano part that perfectly captures the emotion of the song. The live version, which is available on various bootlegs, was about twice as long and even more powerful. Another must-have.

And the album is closed by "Heavy Music," which has nothing to do with everything that precedes it. But, if you don't already own it, it's worth having.

So there you have it. Nice job on the artwork inside, especially the duotone treatment of the photocopied credit sheet that came in the original album, and the album smudge marks on the back cover.

All in all, Smoky Nopes is an album where Seger shines, even when the track list doesn't. My advice: buy and hold.

Inside O.P.s': Where's the Surgeon General's warning?

August 5, 2005

Landing In Pine Knob -- Seger Takes the Stage With 3DD

3 Doors Down played in Seger's backyard last night (August 2), and the question on every Seger fan's mind was, would Bob come out to sing his lines in "Landing In London." Sure enough, he did.

Segerfile reader Curtis Houghmaster was there and said Seger "didn't appear until his vocal part, and then the light was on him, and he was surrounded by the stage smoke. It was awesome. Crowd went crazy. The song finished, he got a big thank you from Brad, and then he was gone. Crowd went crazy some more."

Rick Bentley passed along a link to a short Billboard story by Gary Graff (which concludes, ominously that "Seger is continuing work on a new album, tentatively titled "Face the Promise," which he hopes to have finished before the end of the year." Hopes? I've still got November 8 circled on my calendar.)

After the song, 3DD singer Brad Arnold said the duet was one of the best moments of his life.

After hearing the news (also thanks to Mary Duffy) I did the only sensible thing: I raced over to Segernet hoping for more. The lead post there was from a concert goer called Pine Knob who happened to see 3DD singer Brad Arnold working out before the show at Clarkston Powerhouse Gym. "I asked him if Seger would show up. He just said that Seger was aware they were in town but he wasn't sure if he would show up." So either Arnold was being coy, or it wasn't planned very far in advance.

(An aside: Am I totally out of it? I wouldn't recognize Brad Arnold if he showed up on my doorstep, let alone at a gym. Was he wearing a big sign that said Brad Arnold? Even that wouldn't help me, since until 30 minutes ago I didn't know the name of anyone in 3DD.)

A UPI story, carried in several papers, said "Seger, who sported glasses and a Harley Davidson football-style jersey, said afterwards he was "nervous" although he appeared confident and was in strong voice." (Please note for the record: He wasn't just wearing glasses. He was sporting them. And thanks for the report on what logo was on Seger's jersey.)

Finally, another Segernet poster, SWFL Ken, offered this link to someone else who was at the concert. It leads to a corner of the web where I least expect to find Seger news: The official Seger website*.

And that's all the news that's fit to swipe. Segernet also has fan photos of Seger onstage that are cool to see. Sheesh, is there anything Segernet doesn't have? How 'bout this cool photo of Fountains of Wayne playing in Portland? Seger (not pictured) is standing 2,500 miles to the east.

August 4, 2005

*No, I'm not just being my usual snarky self. C'mon, check out the headline on the official site: "Seger Will Release Remastered Smokin' O.P.'s June 7th." Really?? Wow.

New CD in November ?? Or not??

According to, Seger's new CD -- Face the Promise -- is scheduled to be released by Capitol on November 8, 2005. That's a bold prediction, and usually bold predictions are wrong. Especially this far in advance.

Meanwhile, the reissue of Smokin' O.P.'s is out today. FYI, I was wrong about First Person Frog. His story is indeed on the packaging.

Double thanks to the forum for the pauseandplay info...and also for these photos of Seger in the studio from a Nashville Tribune-Star article about session guitarist J.T. Corenflos. Kid Rock in the wool cap?

June 7, 2005

Seger Answers The Wind

Once again, Ears 2 and I have ventured into the Vault. This time, we heard a cache of unreleased Seger songs recorded in the last two years, including a slam-dunk future radio classic called "Wait for Me" -- the best medium-tempo Seger track in ages, maybe the best since "Against the Wind." (The first lines of "Wait for Me" are: "I will answer the wind / I will leave with the tide.") It just has to be the single and there's no doubt in my mind that it will climb the charts. We also heard a high-energy, heavy airplay rocker called "Wreck this Heart." From the title, I expected a gut-wrenching ballad of lost love. Uh-uh. The instant this starts, you know it's a contagious and exuberant arena rocker (or would be, if Seger would tour).

We heard ten new tracks in all, and then the Vault folks pulled out a box of Seger's handwritten lyrics. The pages we looked at answered once and for all any questions about delta hypo guns and avant gardish pearls, and gave us a glimpse at buried gems like "Patience" and "Black Linen, White Lace."

The flight back to Oregon was a turbulent one, and there is much to do, so the write-up will have to wait -- but not for long. The tracks we heard were too good to keep. Check out Vault 4.

May 31, 2005

An Enthusiastic Yes for Smoki Nopes

Fortunately, not everyone in the world is as cranky as I am when it comes to reissued Seger albums that don't have unreleased tracks -- as evidenced by the following note in today's email:


You might be disappointed about the Smokin' OP's release, but I am ecstatic.

At age 26, I'm too young to have collected any old Seger albums. If it hasn't been put out on CD in recent years, I've never heard it.

What did Heavy Music and Ramblin' Gamblin' Man sound like on the original LP? I have no clue.

2+2=? ... it could equal six hundred for all I know. I've never heard the song.

Who is Lucy Blue? Good question. I'll let you know some day if Ramblin' Gamblin' Man is ever remastered.

New tracks would be cool for Smoki Nopes. But for me they are all new. I can't wait for June 7.

--Joel Fowlks

That's a great perspective. As fans, we always want more. That's kind of our job. But it's also important to appreciate how special it all is -- old and new. Thanks for the reminder, Joel.

May 16, 2005

To Buy or Not To Buy? And Also, To Slam or Not to Slam?

What to do about the re-release of Smokin' O.P.'s

Maybe I'm just hard to please. But I was disappointed the first time Smoky Nopes was released, back in 1972. I'd heard Seger, Teegarden and Van Winkle a half dozen times or more in the months before the album came out, and I loved their live set. It had tremendous energy and the nights I heard them, Bob seemed to be having a hell of a lot of fun. The vocals were full-out and great.

What I didn't like about the album was the song selection. Some of my favorites from the live sets -- like "Drivin' Wheel" and "Dancing In the Streets" -- weren't there. It seemed like a compromise album, with Teegardin and Van Winkle having a little more influence over the song selection than they should have.

Or so I guessed. I didn't think "Love the One You're With" was a particularly great song for Seger. Ditto "Turn On Your Love Light." And I already had "Heavy Music."

But as a Seger fan, you learn to take what you can get. So I bought it and played it until it wore out, and bought another. I played it for all my friends who would listen.

The album was reissued by Reprise the following year, and then by Capitol in 1978 and '80. After that, it disappeared for more than a decade, until 1991, when it was briefly re-released on CD.

At the time of the first CD reissue, I happened to have one of my very few conversations with Seger's manager, Punch Andrews. Punch said the re-releases weren't selling as well as they could, because they were overpriced (at $6.98) and because three other early Seger albums were released all at once. "They should have been staggered," he said.

Fourteen years later, O.P.'s is back. A remastered version will be released on June 7. And the track list is exactly the same as it was 33 years ago. Not a bonus track in sight. The disk will clock in, like the original vinyl, at about 35 minutes.

So...if you don't already have O.P.'s, this is your chance. If you already have three copies on vinyl, a reel to reel and a CD, like I do, this seems like a wasted opportunity.

This re-release is the perfect chance to re-balance the track list. A rocker or two with a little more Seger and a little less keyboard would make O.P.s a true classic.

It seems like it would also drive sales. Two (or my god, even three) unreleased bonus tracks would have sent a million of us to the stores on June 7. We'd be totally psyched. We'd be grateful. And we'd be primed for the new CD, which presumably will follow sometime this year (right? right?).

Now I know Seger's the guy with the talent and he's earned the right to do what he wants. But I'm the guy who drove five hours to hear him, a bunch of times. Chances are you did the same. A bonus track or two in return for that kind of loyalty doesn't seem too much to ask.

Seger's official site (which is updated every time a pope dies) says "Capitol Records is responding to requests from the Detroit rocker's online fan community for reissues of Seger's more obscure works by releasing a newly remastered version of his 1972 release, Smokin' O.P.'s."

Really? Who was it in the online community who said "Please don't add any bonus tracks." Not me. And the folks who post over at Segernet don't seem too rip-roarin' pleased about the deal, either.

There's a notion, I guess, that keeping the track list exactly the same makes the reissue more "authentic." But the sound is cleaned up. And presumably the packaging will be changed, too. Remember First Person Frog? I bet the packaging won't include his strange argument with the river, "which had become increasingly pissed off." Kind of like some of the rest of us, I might add.

Today is Seger's birthday, by the way. Sixty. So here's wishing him many more. And here's wishing us a bonus track or two -- next time.

May 6, 2005

Abbott Rides Again

Yet another good reason to live in Northern Michigan: Tonight, Drew Abbott brings his band of rock and roll survivors to the Union Street Station in Traverse City. Northern Michigan got hit with a couple inches of snow yesterday, but I bet tonight's show will melt it for miles around.

News of Abbott's band comes from Northern Michigan's best music journalist, Rick Coates, who did a long piece on Abbott in this week's Northern Express Weekly. Read it here.

Abbott's new band is called Leo Creek. According to Coates' article, a prior band, Burning Circle, had some of the same members and recorded an album including a never-released Seger tune, 'More of You.' The album was never released says keyboard man Tim Sparling, (no relation, though I'd be proud to claim otherwise.)

Longtime readers may recall that the Seger File got started after I heard an earlier Abbott band -- Blue Highway -- playing in Northern Michigan. The essay I wrote about that show never found a publisher, so I put it on the web and the Seger File was born.

How sweet it would be to hear Abbott again -- and how easy, since I flew into Traverse yesterday. But fate takes me to Ann Arbor tonight instead. My advice though: if you can make it to the Union Street tonight, do it. And if you live in the area, watch for Leo Creek.

April 24, 2005

Time, Rivers, Wreck This Heart -- New Seger Titles Hit the Shelves

The shelves of Punch Enterprises, that is. Three new songs, written last year, are presumably contenders for Seger's next CD. The titles are "Time," "Let the Rivers Run," and my favorite, "Wreck this Heart." I don't know a thing about it, but the title alone sounds great.

If you're keeping score -- and what else is there to do? -- that brings the number of known songs written and recorded since his last album to 31. (Want to see the a list of the other 28? Click here.)

And that doesn't include "Real Mean Bottle," which he has also apparently recorded with Kid Rock.

Boss in Detroit -- Will "Local '70s Star" Show?

A note from long-time Seger File reader Marty Carlisle points out that Springsteen is launching his national solo tour in the fabulous Fox Theater in Detroit on April 25. In the late '80s, Seger joined Bruce on stage for "Thunder Road." Could there be an onstage reunion this time around?

And original Seger DEW-liner Jesse B. sends this from the Associated Press, concerning a recent Pistons game: "The fans set an unofficial world record of 6,638 people wearing wigs at the same time in the second quarter....Detroit rocker Mitch Ryder performed at halftime. Another local 1970s star, Bob Seger, was in the crowd." If the AP reporter thinks Seger is a local star, he must have been born yesterday. No word on whether Seger (or the reporter) a wig.

April 15, 2005

OP's and '72 On Their Way...Or Not?

The music site reports the following:

"Capitol Records moves Bob Seger's upcoming reissue, Smokin' OPs, from original June 21 to new, more quickly accessible June 7....Capitol will also release Bob Seger's 1973 release, Back in 72, on August 16."

Are they right or are they wrong? No other music site confirms this. But musictap was right when it posted early info about Greatest Hits 2, at a time when Punch Enterprises was denying that a second greatest hits was in the works. has nothing about reissues, but continues to list "Face The Promise" for a 2005 release.

April 16, 2005

---- April 1, 2005 ----

From London to San Jose, Seger's "On His Own"

The wait for a new CD continues. But at least there have been some glimpses and peeks -- some thin slices of Seger -- while we've been waiting.

As noted earlier, the first peek came in December 2004 with the release of Christmas With the Kranks -- setting off a mini-flurry of excitement over the inclusion of Seger's 1966 single, "Sock It To Me, Santa," in the soundtrack. This song has been available as a 45, on a Christmas compilation disk and on various Seger bootlegs, but this was its silver screen debut. The song is not included on the soundtrack, so you'll have to wait for the DVD.

Next came Seventeen Days, the new album by 3 Doors Down. Seger contributes harmony and two solo lines to the track, "Landing in London" -- all because 3 Doors Down was recording in Seger's favorite studio at Ocean Way Nashville. (I'm guessing that's Studio A. Although it could be Studio B. Or even Studio C, I suppose. Glenda Clones, studio manager, probably knows, but I bet discretion is a big part of her job.)

Around that same time, Cameo Parkway announced the upcoming release of Cameo Parkway 1957-1967 -- a four-disc set including "East Side Story," "Heavy Music," and "Sock It To Me Santa."

The boxed set also includes Clint Eastwood doing "Rowdy" and cuts by The Rationals and ? and the Mysterians. The set will be available in May and is available for pre-ordering on Amazon now.


Baby, It's Burt

This week's reissue of Rhino's Burt Bacharach tribute album provides another glimpse of Seger.

Personally, I never got the whole Burt Bacharach thing. With a few exceptions -- like Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," and Love's cover of "Little Red Book" -- most of Bacharach's songs struck me as pretty lame.

In fact, Love, Seger and The White Stripes contribute the only good tracks on this disk. The rest of the CD is largely drek.

B.J. Thomas's rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" was bad enough the first time around. Hearing it again makes me wish something much heavier, like an anvil, would land on his noggin.

It gets worse. Tom Jones' smarmy "What's New, Pussycat" should be digitally encoded so that it can never be played again. And the only good thing about Herb Alpert, who ruins "Walk On By" here, was the whipped cream girl on the album cover.

It would be hard not to shine in this company, but Seger's track would stand out anywhere. He covers "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and turns it into a classic.

The hit version, by Dionne Warwick, is one of the worst top-forty viruses in history. Hear it once on some easy listening station and you'll be humming its inane melody all day.

Yet Seger makes this song real. When he asks "Do you know the WAY," he hits the last word with the yowling energy of a hellhound -- think of "When you WERE a young girl" from his cover of "River Deep, Mountain High." With Warwick on vocals, this song was never more than a ditty. Seger brings genuine passion.

You get the sense that he really wants to get to San Jose, and that it's not just some city in California. With Seger at the helm, San Jose becomes a metaphor for something else -- the mountaintop, maybe, or a life well lived. You can tell by the depth of the vocals that Seger is going to keep searching until he finds it.

Seger rips the bridge to shreds, putting the Carpenters' version to shame:

L. A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week -- maybe two -- they'll make you a sta-arr!

"Burt's Back" was originally released in 1977, when Seger was still rockin' his way up, so he's in top voice here.

Early Seger: Searching for San Jose, and not afraid to ask for directions.

The Rhino re-issue comes with a commemorative booklet with some nice snapshots of Arthur Lee, Bob and the other artists. No whipping cream girl, sadly. But The White Stripes version of "Baby, It's You" really cooks.

April Fool's Day, 2005


True Sailing Is Dead

Next up, and due for release in May '05 is "Love U 2 Times," a tribute to The Doors. As you know, Seger rarely contributes to these compilation albums, so getting two in two months is a real treat.

In this case, the track list is mostly filled with younger bands and artists -- Maroon 5, Fountains of Wayne, Aimee Mann, Nara Leao, Lucero -- but Seger is joined by a few stellar veterans including Tom Waits, Randy Newman and a previously unreleased track by Janis Joplin.

Through a radio station friend, I was able to hear a few preview cuts -- unfortunately, Seger's track is not among the previews. But Joplin's cut is fantastic.

She belts out "Hello, I Love You" with incredible energy. You can tell she's just fooling around while the tape happens to be running, but somehow that makes it even more powerful.

Similarly, Tom Waits takes the already devilish "The End" into a whole new level of hell. In contrast, Randy Newman's ironic wit is mainly wasted on "When the Music's Over."

Seger's contribution, "Horse Latitudes," is bound to be one of the most unusual. Who can forget Morrison wailing "Awkward instant, and the first animal is jettisoned!" Lots of drama here, but not much melody -- it's mainly a talking/shouting kind of thing. The press release says Seger was given this cut because of his howling on "Cat."


Live DVD -- Missing, Presumed Dead

These peeks and glimpses of Seger are the good news. The bad news is that we won't be getting the real look we've been waiting for -- by which I mean Seger's concert DVD -- for quite a while, if at all.

"Hey, Detroit!" -- the long-awaited concert DVD with Seger footage from Cobo, Germany, Madison Square Garden as well as Ann Arbor and some black and white Hideout clips -- has been taken off the release list, according to Punch's office.

The problem, once again, is technical difficulties. "All the footage was digitally remastered and almost ready to go," according to Punch, when a technical problem in the editing suite destroyed the only remaining uncompressed files.

The source videotapes were in sad shape to begin with, explains Mike Boila from Punch's office. Once they were digitized, the source tapes were ditched. "In retrospect, I wish we'd hung on to them," Boila said. "Also, we probably should have backed up the disk. But you never expect something like this."

The glitch occurred when Kid Rock paid a surprise visit to the normally quiet editing suite. Kid sauntered in, belting out a verse of "Cadillac Stiffy," his autobiographical song about the loneliness of being on the road. The shock caused Boila to knock a bottle of salad dressing onto the Avid editing deck.

"I was trying to eat healthy," Boila said. "I wish now it had been a cheeseburger. Spilling a burger wouldn't have shorted everything out and fried the memory like that." Indeed, salad oil and computers don't mix. "There was smoke coming out of the hard drive," Boila said. Though it was an accident, Rock reportedly feels terrible about it.

With all the source tapes and the only digital copy gone, the chances for a concert DVD anytime soon are slim.

Hope is not entirely lost, however. "There's one film canister left," said Boila, "with two hours of 16 millimeter footage that is really killer stuff. Seger really rocks."

Somewhere along the line, however, the canister got dropped. "It was sitting in a mud puddle in back of the office for about ten years," Boila said. "After that, a family of raccoons had it. We discovered it when some local kids started using it as a frisbee. We had to buy it back from them, which took several years to negotiate."

Now Punch has regained the rights to the film. Unfortunately, at some point during negotiations the canister was put into a box marked "Master Tapes. Valuable. Do Not Discard." That was the last it was ever seen.

"We're still looking for it," Boila said. "It's got to be around here somewhere."


Seger Makes Good On "Promise," Delivers "On Your Own"

As we all know by know, when 2003's Greatest Hits 2 was released, Seger took two tracks that were meant for his new CD and moved them to GH2. He said at the time that he'd have to write new songs to replace them.

One of the replacements, we now know, is a soul-flavored track with a Memphis feel called "On Your Own."

You can hear Seger having fun on this cut -- at least, you can hear it once you listen to the unauthorized sample we've obtained.

How a thing like this could slip through the tight Seger Security is beyond me. I'm certain it did not come from the good folks who work at Ocean Way Nashville. By the way, did you know that the studio is actually owned by Belmont University, and that all the employees are actually university employees? True.

Anyway, as a special treat, here's this year's Low Bandwidth Special -- a tiny taste of Seger doing "On Your Own." Enjoy.

April Fool's Day, 2005


Throw the Book At Them

Of course, before you can throw it, you'll have to buy it.

Some who follow the Seger File have noticed that I've been disappearing now and then. A couple of times the site has gone untended for four or five months. Email doesn't get answered, or gets answered late with apologies and vague mentions of "other projects."

Funny how that happens. It's also funny How the Night Moves -- which not coincidentally is the title of what I hope will be considered one of the best rock and roll books in recent memory: Seger's long-awaited and just-released autobiography.

Purchase from Amazon

Was there a ghostwriter involved, you ask? Well, gee -- maybe. All I can say is, it's a very well written book. If you like the Seger File, I'm sure you'll like How the Night Moves. By Bob Seger.

April Fool's Day, 2005


All The News That Isn't

That's the Seger round-up for today, April 1, 2005. FYI, there are still a few unclaimed copies of Dee-PAH here on my desk. If you don't have yours yet, stop by the Seger File Headquarters (or your local branch office) and pick one up. You'll be glad you did.

This is the April 1 post for 2005.
For more falsehoods, see the Seger File's April 1 post for 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2003.

All Brand New

The Vault -- my write-up of unreleased Seger tracks -- is closing for now. The final entry is a summary of songs I've skipped or overlooked in the past, and one song -- "All Brand New" -- that ranks among his best ever, in my opinion. Check it out here.

March 19, 2005

'Real Mean' Rumor

In February '04, when Seger did his live radio interview/internet chat, someone online asked if he'd ever do a song with Kid Rock. Seger's response was: "Absolutely…probably a country drinking song. 'Real Mean Bottle' is one I've pointed out, but no one else seems to like it."

"Real Mean Bottle," as you might know, is a Vince Gill song, (written as tribute to Merle Haggard).

Last night during a concert, Gill told the audience at the Florida Strawbery Festival that "Real Mean Bottle" was about to be remade as a duet between Kid Rock and Bob Seger, which he said was "like doing 150 in a school zone.'' March 8, 2005, Curtis Ross, The Tampa Tribune. "Gill Moves Effortlessly Through Performance"

As the author, Gill should know, and I hope he's right.

March 8, 2005

Rock In The House

And The Tennessean adds this:

"Kid Rock was in the studio [this past weekend] with Bob Seger and Vince Gill. Mr. Seger is doing an album here, and he wanted to take advantage of the Kid's distinctive vocal stylings." March 8, 2005, Brad Schmitt, The Tennessean. Did you think he'd stay out of nudie bars?

The article adds that Kid Rock "actually snuck back into Nashville this past weekend and went to a strip club without punching any DJs in the face." He's accused of punching a DJ at a club called Christy's. And his role model is who?

Other questions: Why is Seger recording more stuff? (See quote below: "All our tracks are cut.") Is this for a Kid Rock/Gill album? Or a soundtrack?

Thanks to Bob Vogt for the link.

March 9, 2005

Waiting On A Promise

Seger's new CD, "Face the Promise," didn't appear in '04, in case you didn't notice. Here's what Seger said in early February. (Thanks to Paul Dunn for the link.)

"We've been working right along. We just cut two new ones (songs) last week. What we're gonna do is start actually finishing in March. I'm gonna pound down lyrics for a week, just finalize every little nook and cranny that bothers me -- and I'm doing it now, too -- and then say 'OK, the lyrics are done.' Then we start mixing. But, literally, all our tracks are cut." February 8, 2005. Arrow93fm. "Seger's New Rock & Roll."

The "we" is Seger and producer David Cole, who are working at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. There's no target date for the upcoming album. (And, uh, if there were a target date, would you believe it?)

February 22, 2005

London Calling

Everybody told me. The emails started coming in late December -- friends and longtime Seger fans letting me know that Seger sings on a track on the new 3 Doors Down CD. Somehow I couldn't get around to posting the info. I mean, we're waiting on a Seger CD. I just couldn't get too excited about a back-up vocal.

Until I heard it. And now, I can't stop playing it. If you haven't heard it yet, get on over to iTunes, (or possibly give a listen here). The song, "Landing in London," is a powerful dark ballad about being on the road. We're not east of Omaha anymore, but the emotional territory is the same. Seger contributes two perfect lines that will travel up your spine, plus some harmony vocals. Like I said, everybody told me it was great...and they were right.

Seger's appearance on the album wasn't planned -- he happened to be recording next door, according to 3 Doors Down bassist Todd Harrell.

"[Seger] was always in the [studio] kitchenette, getting coffee, so we had to ask him to be on our record...We were in Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, and we were using the room he usually records in. He was always hanging around, wanting to come in there. And he was always in the kitchenette, getting coffee, so we had to ask him to be on our record." December 20, 2004. 3 Doors Down's Strange Bedfellows

Seger said he was glad to be asked. "I like their stuff and I really liked the song. I said 'Y'know, this is a really cool song.' I like the words, and I love the way Brad (Arnold, 3 Doors Down's frontman) sang it. I definitely wouldn't do it if I didn't like the song." February 9, 2005. UPI News Service. "Bob Seger flattered to guest on 3 Doors Down album."

Sock It To the Kranks

Okay, so there was no new album for Christmas. At least Seger's 1966 Christmas rocker (ala Mitch Ryder and James Brown) made an appearance. The cut was used in last year's "Christmas With the Kranks" movie.

Kid Talks

This tidbit comes from Kid Rock's "20 Questions" interview in the March Playboy (as reported in the Detroit Free Press.)

"Bob Seger has been a role model for me... It's great to see somebody walk away from this with his dignity, because so many people don't, and they turn into jokes."

Walk away? He must have meant "rock away," right?

February 22, 2005

What's Seger Been Writing Lately? Don't Ask.

Indeed, "Don't Ask," is one of several new songs Seger has been working on, presumably for his long-awaited CD. When Greatest Hits 2 was released a year ago, Seger said he had 11 songs all set to go, before shifting "Satisfied" and "Tomorrow" over to the greatest hits package -- "so now I've probably got to write five more."

(Of course, he also said a fall 2004 CD release was set "in stone." Raise your hand if you fell for that one.)

Be that as it may, Seger has now recorded five new songs. The titles include "Don't Ask," "It All Goes On," and "Hero."

Let's see…that's three, so there should be two more. Oh yeah, here we go. The titles say it all. "Wait For Me" and "Are You?"

Yeah, we are.

According to our spies in the Kremlin, here are some of the songs Seger has recorded since 1996 that could potentially show up on his next CD. The dates are approximate and speculative.

At Sea
Blue Ridge
I Knew You When
It's Over
The Reckoning
All Brand New
Forward Into the Past
Mr. Bottom
The Hard One
Answer's In the Question
Face the Promise
Finding Out
Kentucky Moonlight
Let Me Try
Little Jane
Red Eye to Memphis
Something More
It's All Good (?)
Are You?
Don't Ask
Let the Rivers Run
It All Goes On
Wait For Me
Wreck This Heart
Real Mean Bottle (Vince Gill cover/Kid Rock duet)
Too Late
Passing Through
The Price

In the Seger-scrivening business, there are known knowns, and there are known unknowns. In that regard, I'm not totally sure "It's All Good" was ever recorded. Similarly, I've come across a new batch of song titles from the early '70s. (With thanks due to Seger fan Peter Gossett.) I'm not sure all of them are Seger songs, but I'll be adding them to the Unreleased A-Z list in the next several days with a question mark. If you know something about them, drop me a line.

November 22, 2004 -- Updated February 6, 2006

Forward Into The Vault

For two days in June, I was able to sit and listen to 21 never-circulated Seger songs. As in previous Vault visits, I was joined by the remarkable Ears Two, my friend of 30 years (and former Capital employee) who brings his limitless rock-and-roll savvy and enthusiasm to the task.

In my opinion, it was the best Vault trip ever. We heard songs with power, intelligence and passion. Naturally, we also heard a few throwaways. We discovered mysterious recording gaps, and marveled at the frequent use of the word "shoals" in the lyrics.

And there were songs that got me to my feet. Songs that sounded so ready, so finished, that I wanted to hear them released right then and there, wanted everyone to hear them.

Hopefully, many of them will be included on the next CD. Of the tracks we heard, 14 were recorded in 1999 or later. Many of them may have been intended for Seger's never finished "Blue Ridge" album. In all, I heard seven songs that ought to be at Borders or Amazon right now. And one more they ought to save for the final track on the final Seger album ever. A song that would make a perfect ending.

Nine more tracks felt borderline to me -- maybe with a different mix, or a new backing track. Only four seemed liked they belonged in the Vault for good. (No doubt these four will turn up on Kid Rock's next CD.)

So stand by: the most extensive listing of unreleased Seger tracks anywhere is about to get bigger. Check it out here, as Ears Two and I move Forward Into the Vault.

October 23, 2004

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