Bob Seger, James Brown, and Bruce Springsteen Common Music Elements

Posted: September 3rd, 2013





Bob Seger, James Brown, and Bruce Springsteen Common Music Elements

Bob Seger released several albums in his music career from 1968 through 1975. In the course of this period, Seger was considered a classic in the Midwest, Michigan, and Detroit. It was until Seger’s decision to incorporate the Silver Band as his backing group did he begin to achieve artistic and commercial success at a greater level[1]. The closest comparisons to Bob Seger and his work are probably James Brown and Bruce Springsteen.

All three artists have similar gravelly voices I addition to the fact that all have featured back up bands in their respective music careers. Moreover, the bands behind the three rock artists featured similar instruments in their performances. These instruments include guitars, saxophones and keyboards[2]. Another similarity between the three rock artists revolves around their innocence and energy of early rock music at a period when other popular rock artists were becoming affected and jaded. Bob Seger is also known for his empathy and brilliant ability to jubilate crowds when performing live as is the same with James Brown and Bruce Springsteen. In addition, all three artists are motivated by real people and experiences when doing their work, in a manner stripping away romantic illusions.

Other distinct details between the three artists are that Bruce Springsteen possesses a typical flair represented by extreme dramatics coming from growing up in New York[3]. On the other hand, both Seger and Brown do not necessarily display typical flairs from their respective roots[4]. Both Springsteen and Brown have a knack of displaying poetic inventive lyrics. Their works are more often perceived to sound like poetry but in a musical format. However, Seger produces music that is supposed to be sung. Take for example a line from Seger’s song “Against the Wind”, “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then,” from “Against the Wind.” However, these words are seemingly awkward as words on a page, but the line portrays this song beautifully as a heartfelt conversation. In fact, this line featured so well in the song that Seger confessed to receiving positive response from his fans.

Comparing these three artists requires realization of the artistry degree for their seemingly conversational songs, much like daily lines expressed by people in their normal routines. What makes Seger, Brown, and Springsteen rich in the rock industry is the combination of deeply felt emotion and sensational honesty. Many of their best songs are retrospective, glancing at the past with a comparison of how life used to be and the way it is now. Take for example the song “Night Moves” by Bruce Springsteen. The song begins with a recollection of Bruce’s relationship adventures in his younger years. Springsteen in the song is honest about how the relationship nature of his youthful time and how it is today. As he says, “We weren’t in love, oh no, far from it.  We were not searching for some pie in the sky summit. We were just young, restless and bored….”

Take for example another song by James Brown “Lost Someone”, where he uses lyrics sensationalizing past events. However, he is unfeeling and callous about his youthful times. As Brown recalls, “We felt the lightning, and we waited on the thunder, waited on the thunder!” At this point, Brown’s voices exhibits a rise in crescendo peaking at the mention of thunder. The music then fades and Brown goes on quietly and conversationally, “I awoke last night to the sound of thunder. How far off? I sat and wondered. Started humming a song from 1962. Ain’t it funny how the night moves…When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose? Ain’t it funny how the night moves…With autumn closing in.[5]

Another distinct detail these three artists possessed in their elements revolved around their willingness to perform their music with strong structures[6]. While other rock artist seemingly resorted to implement the use of chorus entailing word, chorus, bridge structure, Seger, Brown, and Springsteen expressed themselves in a rather dynamic way not necessarily involving this format. And for this reason, their style of music and basic structure worked well to succeed among other musical forms dominating the twentieth century, including country, folk, rhythm, and blues. Moreover, their vocals involved a rough, authoritative and expressive tone. Sometimes it was spoken rather than sung. Through this method, these artists attempted to free themselves from traditional forms of performing music.

With an excellent visual image, bare words minimum and music support, all three artists perfectly captured the experiences involved when one is in their youthful stage, peering into that timeless experience between childhood and adulthood, yet now realizing that time is on the move and that stage crawls further away from their grasp[7]. Ultimately, the most distinct detail among Seger, Brown, and Springsteen is their natural way of featuring stories in their songs without giving the impression of story telling. The way they manage to convey their innermost sentiments without an apparent awareness of the audience presence, exaggeration, or embroidery. This brings about a sensation that the audience is given an opportunity to eavesdrop on a man’s innermost thoughts-that is, men in particular who have learned to become honest with themselves. In my opinion, this is a rare opportunity and one should feel privileged to grace this art in life.

Bob Seger Bibliography and Discography

The discography and bibliography of Bob Seger includes two live albums, seventeen studio albums, sixty-two singles, and three compilation albums. His albums have recorded sales well over fifty million copies together with four platinum, seven-multi platinum, and two gold certifications[8]. Some of his major hit songs include “The Lonely One” which he released in February 1961. Others include “Ballad of the Yellow Beret”, “Sock It to Me Santa”, and “Persecution Smith” which made their way. Other great hits done by Bob Seger include “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” which is arguably his greatest song. Seger released this song in April 1969. Other subsequent his singles include “Noah” and “Mongrel” which made their way in September 1969 and August 1970 respectively[9]. In the course of the 90’ until he faded, Bob Seger managed to release some highly rated singles. 1991 saw him release “Take A Chance”, “The Real Love” and “The Fire Inside”. Through to 1998, he released other singles including “Lock and Load”, “Hands in the Air”, “Manhattan”, and “In Your Time”. The year 2006 was the last year that saw his last single production. He closed his career with “Wait for Me” and “Wreck this Heart”[10].



Works Cited

Bowie, Herb. Bob Serger: Career analysis. New York: PaganTuna, (2010). Print

Dawidoff, Nicholas. “The Pop Populist.” The New York Times Magazine. (2006). Print.

Springsteen, Bruce, and Chet Flippo. “Bruce Springsteen: A Rock ‘n Roll Evangelist for Our Times Crusades for Patriotism and Puritanism of a Different Stripe.” Musician. 1884.73 (2004). Print.



[1] Bowie, 13

[2] Bowie, 45

[3] Springsteen, 18

[4] Bowie, 67

[5] Bowie, 18

[6] Dawidoff, 39

[7] Dawidoff, 56

[8] Bowie, 45

[9] Bowie, 64

[10] Bowie, 74

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