by Dave Nichols 3 min read

So you just purchased a Steel Horse Audio system and you and your bike are ready to rock to some righteous road tunes. But where do you start? May we suggest the original biker/rocker, Mr. Bob Seger; every biker’s favorite balladeer?

Tired of waiting for fresh, new rock to roll us out of today’s misery-on-all-fronts onto the wide-open freshly paved highway of hope? Skip it, bro, it’s lookin’ mighty bleak for even the most optimistic to be bankin’ on a musical savior to rise from these streets. Amazing how our rock fore-fathers cranked out quality rhythms with words of might on a routine basis.

Man, face it, what we need is some of that ol’ time rock ’n’ roll. The kind that soothes your soul, step forward Bob Seger. Whether augmented by his System or a bandolier of Silver Bullets, Seger is like a large caliber Mossberg, firing straight and true, from his hip to your heart. Seger’s Detroit-hardened, street-wizened sensibilities speak to and of everyday American life, the bitterness and brevity, timelessly channeled through deft guitar licks, both pleasant and piercing, escorting the distinctive voice that sounds better than ever. This is particularly true when redlining the Ultra on an Interstate at night, ideally with a capable sound system pegged max volume. It’s an ultra true road tale thrill pill.

Born in Dearborn and raised in Ann Arbor, Bob Seger cut his teeth on Little Richard, Elvis, James Brown, Van Morrison and the Beatles. Life’s harsh realities found him at 10 when his father abandoned the family for California. By 1961 he was enrolled in the school of hard knocks when he joined The Decibels, a three-piece band whose eminence was nil but the experience gave Seger a taste of what could be. He stayed active, worked hard and developed his own brand of musical depth and dexterity.

By the mid-’60s the Motor City was justifiably stereotyped as the worldwide heart of soul. However, Motown wasn’t limited to The Temptations, Four Tops, Aretha, Miracles, Supremes, Vandellas or Little Stevie Wonder. Motivated by the success of Del Shannon and his 1961 Number One hit “Runaway,” white rock fever was on and a whole lotta poundin’ would be goin’ on downtown. Courtesy of Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Doug Brown and the Omens, Question Mark and the Mysterians and a youthful Bob Seger, electric guitar power chords, riffs and captivating hooks were the rage of the day, a perfect fit for the topsy-turvy ’60s. The frenetic pace of the period begat The MC5, Iggy & the Stooges and in 1969 paved the way for Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes and the Bob Seger System’s first hit, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”

Nationally, fresh rock acts and artists are as common as kickers on dressers, responsible for one-hit ripples on music’s map, barely raising a blip on the radar of rock or a commotion in the minds of fans. When scant needle movement is noticed it’s usually triggered by a heartbeat deriving from Detroit—from Kid Rock, the White Stripes, or…wait for it: Bob Seger…healthy and touring again at a spry 66! Who said the Motor City’s dead?

With Bob Seger the toughest decision is what Seger song should slip into the unit? What audio excursion to download onto the trusty I-pod? With a four-decade body of work behind him, a bro could go nuts. The best bet: One way or another, by hook or crook, cash or credit, obtain the following two albums, each available on multiple media platforms: CD, DVD, MP3, tape cassettes, old fashion vinyl, Amazon.com, or plucked out of cyberspace via iTunes®.

So use your onboard Bluetooth to get those tunes to your Steel Horse Audio unit and crank it up!  Seger’s sound is Harley-worthy.

—Dave Nichols

IN SEARCH OF THE ESSENTIAL SEGER—BEST PLAYED LOUD

Live Bullet Recorded: Sept. 1975 Cobo Arena, Detroit, Mich.

Track List:

  • Nutbush City Limits
  • Travelin’ Man
  • Beautiful Loser
  • Jody Girl
  • I’ve Been Working
  • Turn the Page
  • U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)
  • Bo Diddley
  • Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
  • Heavy Music
  • Katmandu
  • Lookin’ Back
  • Get Out of Denver
  • Let It Rock


Greatest Hits II Studio tracks released: Aug. 5, 2005

Track List:

  • Understanding (from the Motion Picture Teachers)
  • The Fire Down Below
  • Her Strut
  • Beautiful Loser
  • Sunspot Baby
  • Katmandu
  • Shame On The Moon
  • Fire Lake
  • Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You (Live)
  • Shakedown (from the Motion Picture Beverly Hills Cop II)
  • Manhattan
  • New Coat Of Paint
  • Chances Are (with Martina McBride from the Motion Picture
  • Hope Floats)
  • Rock And Roll Never Forgets
  • Satisfied (previously unreleased)
  • Tomorrow (previously unreleased)
  • Turn The Page (bonus video)

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