Bob Seger used to be known locally as Detroit’s best kept secret. By the time Seger’s ninth studio album was released, everything had fallen into place to ensure that the long kept secret was out.
On his previous studio releases, Seger had put together a top-notch group of local players to back him up. They had one of the tightest rhythm section anywhere and were the perfect match for Seger’s compositions. They were his Silver Bullet to success. The “Beautiful Loser” album grabbed the ears of music lovers across the U.S. It was followed by “Live Bullet”, which had unprecedented success for a live record by an artist who had no huge hit album to date.
Enter “Night Moves”.
“Night Moves” was the album that finally gave Bob Seger the recognition he had so long before earned. It was kind of sad, knowing the secret was finally out. But I think most of us around Detroit who grew up with Bob Seger’s music, were happy to see him finally make it.
Bob Seger was always dedicated to Detroit – and Detroit always supported him. Struggling to make it for so long, he represented to many of us the spirit in the city of Detroit – the spirit of never giving up. He was the local underdog who had finally made it. The best kept secret was out.
I don’t care what kind of music you prefer, it’s nearly impossible to not like the Eagles. All through the ’70s, their albums just seemed to get better and better, culminating in their 6th and final album for nearly 20 years, “The Long Run”.
The Eagles recorded “The Long Run” after being on the road for an excruciatingly long tour supporting the success of their previous album, “Hotel California”. The exhaustion from touring combined with the pressure of trying to come up with a worthy successor to their most successful album to date, resulted in writer’s block setting in for all the band members. It took a year and a half to come up with the songs for “The Long Run”, but it was well worth the wait.
The critics weren’t very receptive to “The Long Run” when it came out, giving it mostly lukewarm reviews. But what do they know? This is easily one of the best and most varied albums by the Eagles. There is something here for everyone, and it’s all something good.
But don’t take my word for it. “The Long Run” topped the album charts in multiple countries including the United States, where it sold over 8 million copies alone. It also scored three hit singles for the Eagles. “Heartache Tonight”, “I Can’t Tell You Why”, and the title track. And “Heartache Tonight” would end up earning the Eagles a Grammy for best rock performance in 1980.
My personal favorite song from this album is the side two opener, “Heartache Tonight”. Partly because of its addicting drum beat that you can’t help but stomp your foot to, partly because of Joe Walsh’s exceptional slide guitar solo, and partly because of the perfect vocal harmonies the Eagles were known for. But mostly, I think I like it because of the writer’s block that had set in. It prompted the Eagles to seek some outside writing assistance from one of my favorite artists and songwriters – fellow Detroiter, Bob Seger.
Don’t look for Bob Seger’s “Back In ’72” on CD. You won’t find it. Along with most of Seger’s really works, “Back in ’72” was never officially released on anything other than album, cassette, and 8 track tape.
Considered by many to be one of his best early albums, “Back in ’72” is the first album by Bob Seger that features his longtime saxophone player Alto Reed. But don’t look for Alto Reed listed in the credits. On this album he appeared under his real name, Tom Cartmell.
By this point in his musical career, Bob Seger had become known as Detroit’s best kept secret. This was his sixth album oh, and he had not really gained any notoriety outside of Southeastern Michigan. That would change a few years later when he would release the album “Beautiful Loser”, and one of the best live albums ever, “Live Bullet”. The latter of which contained Seger’s breakout hit, the live version of “Turn the Page”. If you ever want to hear the studio version, you’ll have to queue up “Back In ’72” on your turntable.
If you grew up anywhere near Detroit in the ’70s, “Live Bullet” by Bob Seger was required listening. At least it seemed that way. Sure, it didn’t sell as much nationally as Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive”, but I’d bet my last dollar that in Detroit it trampled it. This album truly was Bob Seger at his best and proved why up to this point he was known as Detroit’s best kept secret.
Of course, as with any exceptional live album, it not just the performer who makes the night of the concert a magical thing captured on record. The audience is just as significant. And the nights “Live Bullet” was recorded at the legendary Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, The crowd was feeding every bit as much energy back to the stage as Bob and the Silver Bullet Band were giving to them. “Live Bullet” captured that symbiosis better than any live album has, before or since.
Near the beginning of the double album, Bob says to the audience that Detroit audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world. In the 70s, that was definitely true. It’s also true that Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Bands “Live Bullet” is quite possibly the greatest live album in the world.
Although I was not at either of the shows that this album was recorded at, my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Bob perform a couple of decades later at the very last concert in Detroit’s legendary Cobo Hall. Maybe it was only because we were actually in the audience, or maybe it was because I was at the show with the woman who has been the love of my life for more than 25 years, but that evening felt like it was every bit as magical as the nights this album was recorded. The connection between the audience and Bob was unbelievable proving that Bob Seger is one of the greatest performers in rock music ever, and that Detroit audiences are still the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world.