Bob Seger's "Turn The Page": Did This Really Happen?

Listen to Bob Seger's "Turn the page" and you'll start to wonder why anyone sane would ever want to become a rock star and head out on tour.

The adoration of screaming audiences and enough money to fill a mint are enticement enough. But then there's the constant traveling, the loneliness, the boredom, bad weather and (sometimes) hostile environments. Did Seger really experience this or was it just lyrical license?

Travel back to 1972. A dear old friend from graduate school way back when who hailed from Michigan and was a loyal Bob Seger fan told me that Seger was hardly known outside of Detroit but he could sell out a stadium in the city itself any time he wanted to. But you can't make a living from just selling out one city so on the road he went, touring with Teegarden and Van Winkle.

Picture this: They had been traveling all night from Detroit. It's the middle of the night in the Midwest and guitarist Mike Bruce was driving through a winter snowstorm. They pull off the interstate highway to get gas at a truck stop. They walk into a brightly lit restaurant... and it's full of truckers.

Here they are, three guys with hippie-length hair piled under their hats. Drummer David Teegarden recalled, "You had to be careful out on the road like that, because you'd get ostracized." The truckers began to roar with laughter as they sighted our heroes, making sarcastic comments that found their way into Seger's song: "Is that a girl or a man?"

Bad enough that had to happen once but according to Seger's road manager Tom Weschler it happened numerous times. Seger, who hardly ever wrote on the road, made an exception for this incident.

The next night he played a rough draft of what became "Turn the page" for the other musicians. He released the original version in 1973 but it's the live version of the song from the 1976 "Live Bullet" album that we're all familiar with.

One other downer for Seger which made its way into his song: tinnitus, a condition that results from a large variety of causes, afflicting about a fifth of the older population. pappy van winkle for sale The sufferer hears "noise" not caused by external sound.

Sadly, the most common cause is hearing loss induced by prolonged loud sound. So when Seger sings, "As you lie awake in bed with the echoes from the amplifiers ringin' in your head" he knows what he's talking about.

So there you have it. Aren't you glad you don't have to put up with that to earn your daily bread? You and I get to listen to it but Bob Seger in "Turn the page" shows what it's like to have to live it.

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