“Turn the Page” by Bob Seger

It seems that there is actually a classification of tracks by professional musicians that one website refers to as ‘road songs’. These are tunes whose lyrics are inspired by the artist’s experiences on the road. And the same webpage also went on to elucidate that the life of a touring musician may actually be more so encouraged by commercial concerns than an actual desire on the part of said artist to tour. 

So combining those two ideas gives us a track like “Turn the Page”. On one hand, this is in fact a road song, detailing some of the personal matters the vocalist has to deal with during his travels. And on the other it is what we on this site like to refer to as a success-isn’t-all-it’s-cracked-up-to-be track, i.e. one that is meant to illustrate that being a successful musician isn’t all gravy.

Now Bob Seger is a singer who, as of the writing of this post, is nearing 80 years of age but still listed as being professionally active. So we’re not trying to imply that he dislikes his profession or even touring per se. 

But in the case of this song, it can be said that he’s focusing specifically on the less-than-ideal aspects of being on the road. Or perhaps it can be postulated that Bob wasn’t in a particularly good mood concerning that side of his employment when he wrote this track. This is a theory that has been sorta verified by different accounts of its penning.

The Problems

For instance, the second verse was inspired by an incident where Seger and his road dogs came across a remote gas station / eatery in the Midwest, relatively speaking not too far from Bob’s own hometown of Detroit. 

Now many of us may tend to look at the hippy era as one in which alternative lifestyles first began to really be embraced by American society. But that doesn’t mean that such individuals didn’t deal with their fair share of persecution. 

And it just so happened that around that time in Bob’s life, i.e. the early 1970s, he and homeys were in fact hippy-ish, long hair and all. So basically, dudes inside the aforementioned establishment started making fun of them, more or less labeling them sis*ies. 

But as noted in the lyrics, the vocalist and co. didn’t “dare make a stand”, as logic would dictate, on top having already been humiliated, that they would’ve gotten their as*es kicked if they rebelled against these taunters. 

And there is one stated reason as to why they stood down. It is that “you always seem outnumbered” in these types of situations, would would also indicate that this kind of harassment has happened to Seger more than once. But it was that incident in particular which led to the completion of “Turn the Page”.

Even More Challenges

And so it is respectively with the first and third verses. The first centers, in a roundabout way, on how it is impossible to form a meaningful relationship with people, even romantic interests (as reiterated in the third verse), you meet on the road. But more noticeably it focuses on this sense of boredom, i.e. travelling hours on end from one destination to the next with “nothing… to do”.

Meanwhile, the third verse highlights the physical stresses not of travelling but being tasked with rendering live performances. For instance, Seger himself developed tinnitus, i.e. his ears being messed up by too much loud music. And in this verse, he implies that said condition was actually caused by stage performances, not to mention that he’s thoroughly exhausted in general after plying his craft in such a manner. 

And the further logical implication, as buttressed by the chorus, would be that said tiredness is exacerbated when doing so continually, i.e. during a road tour.

Song’s Title “Turn the Page”

So as far as the title of this song goes, it is obviously a metaphor pointing to the singer growing complacent with this lifestyle. It’s almost as if, excuse our analogy, the vocalist himself has been reduced to a musical instrument more so than an artist. But despite his apparent discontent, he never asserts a desire to do otherwise. 

So all things considered, the thesis sentiment of this piece is that whereas being a touring musician may suck, at the same time it’s something that professionals like Bob Seger must do in the name of making a living.

Lyrics of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page"

Bob Seger

Bob Seger is a singer from Michigan whom many readers may not be familiar with. And why? The simple answer to that is because his heyday was about 40 years ago. But he did experience monumental musical success from the late 1970s into the 1990s. This was when he was part of a larger act known as Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. 

Bob has been enshrined in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Turn the Page”

This song we’re covering today is from one of Seger’s solo joints, 1973’s “Back in ’72”, which barely made it onto the Billboard 200. 

And whereas “Turn the Page” itself proved to be a fan favorite, it didn’t become an actual hit until heavy metalists Metallica covered it in 1998.

This song was also featured on Bob Seger’s 1976 project “Live Bullet”. FYI, the live version of “Turn the Page” is widely considered as being better than the recorded original. And by the way, the original version apparently failed to chart despite being released as a single.

It was originally released as such in 1973 by Capitol Records.

This piece was written by Bob Seger. According to Bob, “Turn the Page” is one of only two songs he remembers actually writing on the road. 

Bob produced the track alongside a regular collaborator, Punch Andrews.

Turn the Page

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