Although he has continued to sell out concerts and claim legendary rock star status, his most successful years will always be calculated as the period between 1976 and 1988. Nonetheless, in his early period, Bob Seger recorded some deep raucous rock and roll that may be unfamiliar to those who have never dug deep into the artist’s catalog. So in the end, creating a top 10 list was just impossible. Even a top 20 list clearly omits some of his greatest work. However, we hope it inspires fans to dig out some of Seger’s earlier recordings while at the same time celebrating that glorious ten year period
# 20 – Heavy Music
Bob Seger’s “Heavy Music,” was released in 1972 on the Smoking O.P.’s LP. It was the closing track of the album. The song is simply one of the loudest rocking songs of Seger’s career. Part acid, part psychedelic, and whole lot of heavy blues, the song clearly captures a sound not many have heard from Bob Seger.
# 19 – Lucifer
Another great early Bob Seger track, “Lucifer,” was released on the 1970 Bob Seger System album Mongrel. Seger’s singing on this track is as soulful as it gets. It’s sad that this great track is not more known. Great stuff!
# 18 – Come To Pappa
“Come to Papa,” was one of the great songs featured on Bob Seger’s huge breakthrough album Night Moves. Although it was never released as a single, it was played in heavy rotation on FM radio in the late 1970’s. The song was written by Earl Randle, and Willie Mitchell.
# 17 – Wait For Me
One of the last great Bob Seger Songs, “Wait for Me,” was released on the 2006 Face The Promise LP. “Wait For Me,” is the the recent Bob Seger song to make this last. The song always reminded me of Bruce Springsteen’s “If I fall behind,” in the song’s lyrical meaning. Bob Seger only released one more studio album after the release of Face the Promise. That album Ride Out, was released in 2014.
# 16 – Get Out of Denver
Just another great Bob Seger heavy rock and roll blues songs. “Get Out Of Denver,” was released in 1974 on the now long out of print Seven album. It was the album’s opening track.
# 15 – Shame on the Moon
As much as Bob Seger rocked, he always delivered some great mid temple shuffles. “Shame on the Moon,” was that perfect summer time song. If you were not around during the early 1980’s this is one you might not know. The song was released on 1982’s The Distance. It was written by Rodney Crowell.
# 14 – Fire Lake
“Fire Lake,” was another one of those mid-temp Bob Seger songs similar to “Shame on the Moon.” The song “Fire Like,” was released on the Against the Wind album in 1980. It was the album’s first single.
# 13 – Hollywood Nights
“Hollywood Nights,” was the opening track to Bob Seger’s Stranger In Town LP. The album was released in 1978 and was the much anticipated follow up to the 1976 Night Moves album.
# 12 – Railroad Days
“Railroad Days,” has long been a fan favorite of hardcore Bob Seger fans. It was released on the 1971 Brand New Morning LP. It was the only album of Bob Seger’s career which featured only acoustic guitar and lead vocals without any further instrumentation. One may wonder if that is where Springsteen got his idea for Nebraska.
# 11 – Old Time Rock and Roll
Bob Seger’s ultimate party song that we may all be pretty much got tired of hearing.bands an DJ’s play at every party you have ever been to in your life. Nonetheless, its a classic that had to be included on this list.
# 10 – Like A Rock
When Bruce Springsteen said no to having “Born in the U.S.A.” being used for a car commercial, Bob Seger simply said yes. It’s a great song, but all I see in my mind are Chevrolet trucks every time I hear it.
# 9 – Katmandu
“Katmandu,” was released on the great Beautiful Loser LP in 1975. One of the best vocal performances of Bob Seger’s career.The song was released as a single and reached No.43 on the Billboard Top 100.
# 8 – Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” was Bob Seger’s first big hit. The song was released on Bob Seger’s first album Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man in 1969. The song broke the Billboard top 20 in 1969. As the opening track to Bob Seger’s first album, it was the song that introduced the world to the iconic voice that would eventually become a rock and roll legend.
# 7 – Mainstreet
How can you not love that opening guitar line. Bob Seger’s “Mainstreet,” seemed truly inspired by the Born To Run album. On both a lyrical and musical basis, “Mainstreet,” was an ode to the romantic backstreets of hope and despair found on Springsteen’s classic 1975 work. It was only a year after Born to Run was released that Bob Seger delivered his 1976 Night Moves album.
# 6 – Rock and Roll Never Forgets
One of the greatest album opening rock and roll songs ever released. As the album opener on Night Moves, we knew this album was going to be special. The song was the third single issued from the album.
# 5 – Beautiful Loser
“Beautiful Loser,” was the title track to Bob Seger’s 1975 LP. The album utilized in glorious blues fashion the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. “Beautiful Loser,” was released as a single but it never made it into the Billboard top 100 as it stalled at No.103.
# 4 – Against the Wind
“Against the Wind,” was released on the Against the Wind album in 1980. Although some writers unfairly criticized the album, Seger’s” Against the Wind,” was one of the most beautiful songs he had written in his career.
# 3 – Turn the Page
“Turn the page,” simply featured one of the most memorable saxophone lines in rock and roll history. Hands down, this may be Bob Seger’s most played FM radio track of his career. “The same old cliches, is that a women or a man?” is easily one of his most haunting lyrics. The song was originally released early in his career on the Back in 72 album. The version released on his 1976 Live Bullet album would become the classic that fans fell in love with.
# 2 – Night Moves
The Bob Seger album Night Moves was released in 1976. The album would become Bob Seger’s most successful record of his career. The single “Night Moves,” would become the breakthrough song that made Bob Seger a household name.
# 1 – Roll Me Away
Bob Seger’s late 1970’s output was clearly inspired by the work of Bruce Springsteen. That’s not a bad thing because Springsteen inspired every rock and roll roots act in the 1970’s. From Warren Zevon through John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and countless others, you can hear that Springsteen influence in production, melody and above all lyrical ideas. “Roll Me Away,” was released on the 1982 album The Distance. On the track “Roll Me Away,” Bob Seger utilized his magical voice along with use of Bruce Springsteen’s piano player Roy Bittan and composed and recorded the greatest track of his career.
Photo by American Talent International (management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Updated August 20, 2020