On the verge of stardom


When Bob Seger’s “Beautiful Loser” album was released in 1975, he was 30 and had been working on the Detroit rock scene since his teens.

He’d had several regional hits, with “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” his biggest, reaching No. 17 nationally in 1968. He was well-regarded in Detroit and the Midwest as a hard-working rocker and a fine songwriter. Yet he was not nationally known.

It’s hard to think of Seger that way today because he’s been such a big star for so long. There are those who know Seger only for his work with the Silver Bullet Band. Then there are those of us who listened to Seger before the Silver Bullet Band.

I find early Seger more interesting than Seger the hit-maker. I stopped buying Seger’s albums after this one. What I heard on the radio and on his Silver Bullet Band-era albums seemed too polished, too mannered, lacking the grit and authenticity of his earlier work.

Tonight’s side, from “Beautiful Loser,” captures Seger on the verge of hitting it big. Three of the four cuts on Side 1 also turned up on “Live Bullet,” which came out a year later and was Seger’s breakthrough album.

Seger is backed by the Muscle Shoals rhythm and horn sections on “Beautiful Loser,” giving the harder-rocking tunes plenty of sock.

Side 1 puts two of those harder-rocking tunes — the swamp-rockish “Black Night” and the full-blown rave-up “Katmandu” — in the middle. They’re bookended by a couple of quieter tunes, the piano-driven “Beautiful Loser” and the largely acoustic “Jody Girl.”

“Beautiful Loser” is fine early Seger, so much so that it’s only one of two pre-Silver Bullet albums still in print. The other is “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” a fan favorite from 1972 which features several covers.


“Beautiful Loser,” “Black Night,” “Katmandu” and “Jody Girl,” Bob Seger, from “Beautiful Loser,” 1975. It runs 16:16.

Explore posts in the same categories: December 2007

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2 Comments on “On the verge of stardom”

  1. Arthur2sheds Says:

    Yeah, this a great album.

    Although I do like Seger the hitmaker right through “The Distance.” After that, though, his stuff is pretty much for diehards only.

  2. […] Silver Bullet Band in 1976 — is terrific. It’s passionate, hard-rocking and energetic. We’ve featured some early Seger here before, just about a year […]

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