Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Bob Seger Songs – Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Bob Seger Songs

Your picks include ‘Roll Me Away,’ ‘Beautiful Loser’ and ‘Turn the Page’

Bob Seger

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Bob Seger doesn't do the things most rock stars do. He's aged naturally, allowing his hair to gray and his waistline to expand. He's never released a box set, a memoir, deluxe editions of his own albums, a documentary about his career or even a DVD. Most of his early albums aren't even in print. There's a beautiful simplicity to all this, and his career has still managed to flourish. He's released only a single album in the past 18 years, but he stills packs every arena he plays.

A 79-year-old Michigan fan recently woke up from a five-year coma and instantly asked to see Seger in concert. She got her wish, and even went backstage to meet the man. On that heartwarming note, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite Bob Seger songs. Click through to see the results. 


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10. ‘Still the Same’

It took a decade of relentless work, but by 1978, Bob Seger was a full-fledged rock superstar. Live Bullet and Night Moves established him as a commercial force, and by the time Stranger in Town came out in May 1978, he had fans lining up in the stores. The album's lead-off single was "Still the Same," and it reached Number Four on the Hot 100. It was tied for the biggest hit of his career until "Shakedown" from Beverly Hills Cop II came out in 1987. 

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9. ‘Hollywood Nights’

Bob Seger's career was on fire in 1978. He was packing arenas from coast to coast, and every single he released raced up the charts. "Hollywood Nights" – the second single from Stranger in Town – is the story of a Midwestern boy who finds himself in the bright lights of Hollywood (much like Seger himself). He meets a beautiful woman "born with a face that would let her get her way." They have a wild time in Hollywood, until one morning he wakes up alone. (A Michigan girl would never pull such a move.) Despite the broken heart, our Midwestern boy is changed forever and wonders if he can ever go home.

The song reached Number 12, but it's not exactly Bob Seger's life story. He still lives in Michigan and is as un-Hollywood as one can get. 

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8. ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’

Long before his days as a staple of FM radio, Bob Seger was a relative unknown plugging away in the same 1960s Detroit rock scene that gave birth to the Stooges, the MC5 and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. The garage-rock classic "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" is the first song that got him any national attention, landing at Number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. A very young Glenn Frey sings background vocals on the song. He was in talks to join Seger's band, but when Frey's mom caught him with a joint, she pulled the plug on his musical dreams.

It would be seven long years before Seger scored another national hit, and during that time, it seemed like he'd only be remembered for "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." 

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7. ‘Old Time Rock & Roll’

No matter how much success Bob Seger has had over the years, when many people hear his name, a single image comes to mind: a pants-free Tom Cruise sliding across the floor of his parents' house and lip-syncing "Old Time Rock & Roll" in Risky Business. The nostalgic song was a moderate hit when released as a single in 1979, but it became a worldwide sensation after the movie came out four years later. Seger is backed by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on the song and he shares credit with George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones, even though he wrote the vast majority of the song by himself. He sang the song with Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden in 2011. 

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6. ‘Beautiful Loser’

Some songs simply work better live. The title track to Bob Seger's 1975 LP Beautiful Loser didn't even crack the Hot 100 when released as a single but in concert that year, it truly came alive, especially when he paired it with "Travelin' Man." The two songs merged seamlessly together, becoming a highlight of Live Bullet, taped at Detroit's Cobo Hall in September 1975. Ten years on the road paid off, and by that point, Seger was a live act almost without peer. The record became a huge hit, and Seger's faced nothing but success ever since. 

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5. ‘Main Street’

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band entered the studio in 1976 with a lot of momentum. Live Bullet captured them an audience, and it was time to write those people a batch of new songs. They delivered. Like many tracks on the album, "Main Street" is a nostalgic look at Seger's younger days. There are many Main Streets in America, but Seger is singing about the one in his childhood town of Ann Arbor. He sings about beautiful dancers and pool-hall hustlers, even though he watched them all from afar. It's been a regular part of his setlist for decades.  

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4. ‘Roll Me Away’

Many 1970s rock giants struggled as MTV began taking over the airwaves in the early 1980s, but Bob Seger kept on scoring hits. It helped that he was delivering songs as powerful as "Roll Me Away," a song about frustration, the desire to flee and finding redemption on the road. It's been used in many movies, including The Mask and Armageddon. It's also extremely effective live, and is regularly used as an opener. 

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3. ‘Against the Wind’

Released early in 1980, Bob Seger's Against the Wind bumped Pink Floyd's The Wall off the top spot in the Billboard 200 and scored him a bunch more hits. The title track was the biggest success. It reached Number Five on the Hot 100 and reunited him with Glenn Frey of the Eagles. Just like on "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," Frey sings background vocals – only this time, Frey was in the biggest band in America and not some unknown kid from Detroit.

The song also got the attention of Bob Dylan that year; he referenced it during a long stage rap at one of his gospel shows. "I know not too many people are gonna tell you about Jesus," Dylan said. "I know Jackson Browne's not gonna do it; he's running on empty. I know Bruce Springsteen's not gonna do it, cause he's born to run and he's still running. And the Eagles, they're on that long run. And Bob Segers not gonna do it cause he's running against the wind."

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2. ‘Night Moves’

There was a lot of nostalgia for the early 1960s by the mid-1970s. A little over a decade had passed, but for many, it seemed like several lifetimes ago. George Lucas made a name for himself with American Graffiti, which had the memorable tagline "Where were you in '62?" Bob Seger's answer: he was still living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The title track to 1976's Night Moves is an über-nostalgic look back at a magical summer in 1962 when he was "workin' on mysteries without any clue." At the end, the narrator wakes up in the present and starts humming a song from 1962. Seger says the song is "Be My Baby," even though that song wasn't released until the summer of 1963. 

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1. ‘Turn the Page’

There have been countless songs about the emotional toll of constant touring, but "Turn the Page" is the best. Bob Seger wrote it while on a particularly hard slog of a tour in 1972. He walked into a gas station in Dubuque, Iowa and all the locals glared at the big guy with the long hair. He'd been traveling the country for years with little to show for it and was extremely frustrated, and he poured all those feelings into the lyrics. 

The famous sax part was written by Silver Bullet Band saxophonist Alto Reed; the producer told him to write a part that sounded like a lonely street corner in New York at 3 a.m. The song has since been covered by everybody from Metallica to Kid Rock to Waylon Jennings. Seger has many beloved songs, but it's this one that gets the biggest reaction at every show. 

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