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Before He Was a Star: Don Meets Bob Seger

In what was probably 1970, I was sitting in my office one day when the receptionist buzzed me and said, "Don, there's a guy named, BOB SEGER in the Lobby and was wondering if he could change clothes in your office." Bob's name was not completely unknown to me, a buyer at the distributor had given me a copy of an LP by him called; Smokin' O.P.'s," and advised me to listen, which I did. It was a cover of other people's hits and he played and sang well, but he was on an obscure label at the time owned by his manager and partner, PUNCH ANDREWS, one of the great Rock and Roll Managers.

 

Bob came in the office with a little suitcase and took out some tight pants, a shirt and Green Patent Leather, Bubble-Toed, Stacked Heel shoes, which blew me away. Bob's hair hung down to his tuckus, and he was bearded. We chatted and he told me a thumbnail sketch of his life; tough childhood, old man split when he was  10, his mother struggled to feed and house he and his brother in Ann Arbor, but they made it through.

 

After High School he had been in numerous bands, and was a Regional Star. He'd had a couple of Chart Records along the way, had signed with Capitol, left, and just resigned. He was about to do one of those Local TV Show interviews, hence the change into Rocker Clothes.

 

Flash forward: Seger was not convinced that his backup band could take him where he wanted to go, so he formed a unit with some of the best players he knew; Guitarist Drew Abbott, Drummer and Backup-Singer Charlie Allen Martin, Keyboard-player Rick Manasa, Bass guitarist Chris Campbell, and Saxophone player Alto Reed. (Alto's opening Sax break on "Turn the Page" was legendary in the business).

 

Bob's records sold big in Michigan, and he got airplay across the country, but he just couldn't make the Big One. The crowds at his live performances constantly grew, loving the High energy and Tight Band, and one day somebody, maybe Punch, suggested that he do a Live Album and try to capture some of that enthusiasm. Where to do it? Duh, Detroit's Cobo Hall, one of the Great Temples of Rock and Roll.

 

Recorded over two nights of Riotous Rock, LIVE BULLET was the record Bob had been wishing for, (sound like the Peter Frampton story?) and an immediate hit in Detroit and the area; but then the FM Album Oriented Rock Stations picked it up and and it exploded.

 

Rolling Stone's Dave Marsh called it "One of the Best Live Recordings of All Time," and another commented, "During the medley of "Travelin' Man"/"Beautiful Loser," Seger sounds like a man with one last shot at the top." Well he had been, but thanks to this Live Recording that captured so much of the excitement of that crowd at Cobo, and shine the spotlight on Bob Seger's Vocal and Guitar virtuosity, he became a Major Star, just like in the movies.

 

Bob Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and as I watched him accept the honor, I remembered that day in my office and choked up a bit. For Bob Seger, we at TDR had to have a Live Recording, and Scott came through. Here he is doing: STILL THE SAME," LIve in San Diego in 1978, with pristine Picture and HQ Sound. Rock On!
@thedonrocks

 

 

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