I’ve never really been one of those music fans who take offense to artists who license their songs for use in commercials. I wouldn’t consider myself such a purist, believing Melt With You helping to entice me to want a burger devalues the song.
I’ve also been blessed with a superhuman ability to, for the most part, tune out commercials (working in record stores during one’s formative years will nurture skills in selective listening).
And, recently, I’ve been strangely, unexpectedly compelled to snag half a dozen albums by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. They were in excellent condition and none was more than a dollar – not even the double, live album Nine Tonight.
Purchasing them was surprising (or maybe not) as I’ve never owned anything by Seger in my life on any format despite growing up in the Midwest where he was staple. I knew his hits and even some album tracks from radio and the bowling alley jukebox.
(you know, I wonder if in some parallel universe I was a better bowler and ended up The Dude)
So, I was familiar with a chunk of Seger’s work. My best friend in junior high played his older brother’s eight tracks of the stuff relentlessly. There were songs of Seger’s which I thought were good, but I kind of shelved him with Johnny Hoosier as likable and workman-like but not having the spiritual, transcendent kick of Springsteen.
As I’ve listened to my trove of Seger the past few weeks, I’ve been surprised to realize how much of it I do like. I’m still not elevating him to Springsteen status, but he does now occupy a zone for me as slightly more than erstwhile heartland rocker. And I was puzzled as to why I’d been rather ambivalent toward him (familiarity breeding…disinterest?).
Then, I remembered that damned truck commercial with Like A Rock playing and the incalculable number of times I must have been subjected to it, particularly during football season. And I had to wonder if, somehow, subconsciously, the use of that song had caused me to dismiss Seger’s entire catalog.
I still have no issue with an artist making some coin through licensing their songs but maybe such a move is a bit more insidious that I’ve believed.
So, here’s some Bob Seger. I imagine that some longtime fans might howl that I’m bypassing, for now, his ‘70s albums, but I’m working my way back and I’m more familiar with his early ‘80s output.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Understanding
Understanding was never on a Seger studio album (though I’m sure it’s ended up on a compilation). Instead, the song appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Teachers. My friends and I caught the flick while skipping school one day.
Ironically, the movie was about the poor state of the American educational system. Of course, the fictional school in Teachers did hire Nick Nolte as a teacher and enroll Ralph Macchio and Crispin Glover as students, so what did they expect?
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Roll Me Away
The lure of the open road is a recurring theme in much of Seger’s music and Roll Me Away is a wonderful example.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – No Man’s Land
Wistful and resigned, there are not a lot of happy endings in Bob Seger songs. Rather, there are a lot of people who seem to have made peace with their lot in life no matter how bruised, battered, or maligned they might be, and No Man’s Land would be one of my more favorite album tracks of Seger’s.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Her Strut
Not everything is somber in the world of Bob Seger. If he’s not reflecting on the past with a bit of regret, he’s locked into the present with songs that possess barroom swagger as on Her Strut. Like No Man’s Land, Her Strut was on 1980’s Against The Wind and I must have heard every track from that album on the radio growing up.