Bob Seger turns 75 today and, while he’s now retired from touring (after playing his last show at the Wells Fargo Center last November), his awesome music still gets lots of play on MGK and rock stations across the country.
To commemorate his birthday, here are 9 things you may not have known about the Detroit rocker:
1. When he as a teenager, he was friends with The Eagles’ Glenn Frey.
Frey and Seger both grew up in Detroit and were part of the city’s music scene, where they became fast friends.
2. The dude could RUN!
Seger initially wanted to be a QB on his high school football team, but didn’t quite have what it took. He signed up for track instead, and found he had quite a talent for the sport, clocking in a 5:05 mile!
3. His first major record deal was with a Philadelphia label.
Cameo-Parkway Records, based here in Philly, signed Bob to his first deal, releasing a few singles that were regional hits in Detroit. Right as he was on the verge of breaking nationally, Cameo-Parkway folded.
4. He was almost a Motown Records artist.
Two labels bid for Seger’s talents in 1968, Motown and Capitol. Motown made a higher bid, but Seger went with Capitol.
5. As late as 1976, he was still just a regional star in Detroit.
Seger has remarked how he was able to get over 80,000 people packed into Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome for a live show, only to play for just over 1,000 the next night in Chicago.
6. “Night Moves” was inspired by Bruce Springsteen.
Bob had the first two verses of the song written for along time, but it wasn’t until he heard “Jungleland” that he got the inspiration to finish the story of his breakthrough song.
7. He co-wrote one of The Eagles’ biggest hits.
His old pal Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther had the bulk of a song written one night while jamming, when they decided to call Seger and play it for him. Seger responded by belting out the chorus, “there’s gonna be a Heartache Tonight,” and the song was finished, becoming a #1 for The Eagles.
8. He regrets not adding himself as co-writer of one of his most popular songs.
Seger received a demo of “Old Time Rock And Roll” from two Muscle Shoals-area songwriters, George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones. He re-wrote most of the verses, but never asked for songwriter’s co-credit. He thought the song wouldn’t be a big hit anyway, but turned out to be one of his biggest songs, and even made an appearance in a classic scene in Risky Business.
9. His only #1 song was not intended for him to record.
“Shakedown,” Seger’s track from the Beverly Hills Cop II, was originally going to be recorded by Glenn Frey. Unfortunately, Frey lost his voice before recording the song, so he asked his old pal Bob if he’d like to do it, which he did. When the song hit #1, Frey called up Seger to congratulate him, commenting “at least we kept the money in Michigan!”
Happy Birthday, Bob, and thanks for all that great music!