The Bob Seger System

Bob Seger System, TheFrom: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Bob Seger would go on to have a very successful career in the music industry, especially as a member of the Silver Bullet Band in the 1970s and 1980s. However, his early material is just as good in many ways, allowing Seger to develop himself as a musician. Born in Lincoln Park, Michigan, the Seger family moved to Ann Arbor when Bob was six years old. Bob’s dad worked as a medical technician for the Ford Motor Company, but he also played several instruments. Seger was exposed to many fights between his parents, and when he was only ten years old, his father abandoned them and moved to California. The rest of the family struggled financially as a result.

In 1961, Bob Seger would arrive on the Detroit music scene fronting a three-piece band called the Decibels. The band consisted of Seger (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Pete Stanger (guitar) and H.B. Hunter (drums). The Decibels recorded a demo of a song called “The Lonely One” in Del Shannon’s studio. The song was both Seger’s first original as well as his first song to ever get played on the radio.

The Decibels soon broke up, so Seger joined the Town Criers where he was the lead vocalist. Other members were John Flis (bass), Pep Perrine (drums), and Larry Mason (guitar). The band began to gain a local following, covering well known songs such as “Louie, Louie”. Seger was showing an influence of James Brown and the Beatles on his music.

The Town Criers started to get more gigs as there following grew. Seger met Doug Brown, baked by a band known as the Omens. Seger left the Town Criers for Doug Brown & The Omens because of their presumably larger following. Lead vocals were split between Brown and Seger. This was the band in which Seger first appeared on an officially released recording, with the release of “TGIF” / “First Girl” in 1965. The record was credited to Doug Brown & The Omens, although Seger was a part of it.

Bob met with longtime manager Edward “Punch” Andrews, who was at the time partners with Dave Leone running the Hideout franchise. The Hideout franchise consisted of two clubs where local acts would play, as well as a small record label. Seger started to write and produce for some of the other acts that Punch managed, such as the Mama Cats and the Mushrooms. Seger was still a member of the Omens at this time. He and Doug Brown were approached by Punch and Leone to write a song for a band called the Underdogs. Seger wrote “East Side Story” which ended up failing for the band.

Bob Seger decided to leave the Omens, but kept Brown as a producer. He would record “East Side Story” for himself at about the same time. The song was released under the moniker Bob Seger and the Last Heard in 1966, becoming his first big Detroit hit. The single went on to sell 50,000 copies which led to a contract with Cameo-Parkway Records. The Last Heard would go on to release for more singles, the most notable being “Heavy Music” in 1967. “Heavy Music” sold even more copies than “East Side Story”, and was a potential break out song had Cameo-Parkway not suddenly gone out of business. Seger and Punch started to search for another label to sign the band. In the spring of 1968, the band signed with Capitol Records, turning down Mowtown Records who even offered more money that Capital did.

The band’s name was changed to the Bob Seger System by Capitol. During the time between labels, guitarist Carl Lagassa left, and keyboardist Bob Schultz was added. The first single by the Bob Seger System was the anti-war “2+2=?”. The song did well in Detroit and many other cities, but was still relatively unnoticed by the masses. It was the band’s second single that would give them their first national hit. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” reached #17 on the charts and would become the title of the band’s album in 1969. The album reached #62 on the charts. Glenn Frey, later of the Eagles, had his first studio gig on “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” singing backing vocals. The Bob Seger System would release two more albums, neither of which did well commercially.

Seger’s career was far from over. His most formidable years lay ahead of him as a solo artist and as the front man for the Silver Bullet Band. Albums like 1976’s Night Moves went on to be very highly regarded classic rock albums, and the Silver Bullet band a great example of American rock and roll. ~ Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

Original LPs/EPs…

Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man – 1969
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

  • Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
  • Train Man

Noah – 1969

  • Lonely Man