Bob Seger’s studio releases were becoming few and far between in the 1990’s and so in October of 1994 he issued his first Greatest Hits album. It was a wise decision as it not only introduced some of his best and most popular material to a new generation, but millions of fans who only had his music on vinyl also bought this CD. The album would become his biggest seller, topping the eight-million mark in The United States alone. It was a testament to the enduring quality of Seger’s music.
The title may be somewhat of a misnomer, though. It contains a lot of excellent music but does not represent all of his best. It contains only nine songs that charted as singles and it ignores his early period. I can’t help but think that they had more volumes in mind at the time and so saved a number of his most famous tracks for the second volume. Tracks such as “Beautiful Loser,” “Fire Lake,” “Katmandu,” “Betty Lou’s Getting Out Tonight,” and his Number One single, “Shakedown,” are nowhere to be found. Still, what is included represents what his music is all about.
Bob Seger basically produces two types of songs: energetic rockers and ballads about love and life.
Five slow and mid-tempo ballads form the heart of this release. “Night Moves” and “Main Street” are thoughtful and, in a way, nostalgic as they transport the listener back to a time and place in their own lives. “We’ve Got Tonight,” “You’ll Accomp’ny Me,” and “Against The Wind” are all inspirational love songs that present varying degrees of desperation.
Bob Seger produces mainstream rock ‘n’ roll as well as just about anyone. “Hollywood Nights” still thunders and “Old Time Rock & Roll” remains a joyful celebration of what rock is all about. I would also include “Like A Rock” if not for the omnipresent truck commercial that spoiled the song for me.
It’s also nice to hear “Turn The Page” again. This weary but brilliant song of life on the road dates from a time when he was wondering if he would ever make it in a big way.
There are two new tracks included here. The old Chuck Berry tune, “C’est La Vie,” is excellent but the original song, “In Your Time,” is less so and is the album’s weakest song.
Overall, though, the quality of Greatest Hits is superb. It’s an album for Seger neophytes to start and for hardcore fans to further enjoy.