There was no such thing as Classic Rock in 1976 — the phrase, and the radio format it inspired, wouldn’t come into common usage until the mid-1980s. But there was already some notion of a rock and roll canon, a list of key albums that FM listeners needed to have in their collection. At the start of 1976, Bob Seger had zero albums on that list. Twelve months later, he had two: Live Bullet, the double LP documenting some blistering hometown sets at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, and Night Moves, his first platinum album, whose title single would peak at No. 4 as 1977 began.
Fast forward to this decade. I hear someone singing “If I Were a Carpenter,” which reminds me Seger did a surprisingly heavy version of that song on Smokin’ O.P.’s, which I haven’t heard for a while. I reach for my copy, only to find that it’s gone. This is bothersome, but correctable, I imagine. I am a gainfully employed adult, living in a city with multiple wonderful used record stores, plus there’s an entire Internet at my fingertips. I decide to go on a spree, replacing not just the missing album, but finally adding the several I never purchased to my collection.
But I discover something odd: Bob Seger’s old albums are not only missing from my shelves. They seem to be missing from the world.
Seger is one of the few remaining digital holdouts — there’s nothing beyond the odd Christmas tune available on subscription services, and even on iTunes his only studio album for sale is 2014’s Ride Out, which sits beside two anthologies and two live albums.
An interesting article about a once-popular artist and his legacy. Seger claims that a lot of his older songs aren’t very good, but perhaps he also made enough money and invested wisely, so he doesn’t need to exploit his back catalog.