20 Best Bob Seger Songs: A Heartland Rock Playlist

bob seger songs
Bob Seger at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles. February 12, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash. Image from Shutterstock.

Detroit singer Bob Seger is a rock legend and penned many of the greatest songs in the American songbook.

Today we’re going to cover the best Bob Seger songs across his seven-decade career.

Picking the top Bob Seger songs is no mean feat, as he has 18 studio albums to his name, but strap in and get ready for some of the greatest hits ever written in rock, blues, and country music.

Best Bob Seger Songs


20. “The Fire Inside”

“The Fire Inside” is certainly one of the best Bob Seger songs.

In this heartfelt rocker, he explores lost dreams and the isolation of urban life.

Drummer Russ Kunkel pushes the song forward with rapid-fire beats while the verses are piano-driven, adding poignancy.


19. “Shakedown”

Seger recorded “Shakedown” for the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack, and the dance-rock tune was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart

The track has a funk vibe provided by synthesizers, which no doubt helped it shoot up the charts, while the guitars drop in big time in the bridge, providing an electrifying 80s hard rock solo.

Related: The 30 Best 70s Songs: Classic Rock, Punk, Disco, and Some Serious Wild Cards 


18. “Sunspot Baby”

“Sunspot Baby” is one of many Bob Seger songs where he shows off his brilliant, expressive blues rock voice.

The track opens the second side of his 1976 studio album Night Moves. 

It features the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section as his backing band, as the famous Alabama session group brought the fire on four of the five tracks on side two of the record.


17. “The Fire Down Below”

“The Fire Down Below” is another track from Night Moves. The tune is one of Bob Seger’s best classic rock songs.

Night Moves was his first album to credit his longtime backing group, the Silver Bullet Band, who played on all of side one of the record.

Guitarist Drew Abbott is in fine form here, adding slinky leads that wind in and out of the groovy piano and rhythm guitar backing.


16. “Her Strut”

“Her Strut,” which has a sleazy groove, is one of the best Bob Seger songs where he lets his rock band go to town with no holds barred.

Seger took inspiration from film icon Jane Fonda for the lyrics. He took some heat from Rolling Stone for the song, with critic Dave Marsh describing it as sexist.

Seger fired right back, though, stating that he worked hard on the lyrics to emphasize that the meaning is not sexist. 

“What I’m trying to say here is that at the bottom line, it’s human nature, that men are still gonna love women for being sexual in spite of all this other stuff,” he said.

Related: The 16 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time 


15. “Rock And Roll Never Forgets”

Bob Seger knows a thing or two about rock songs, and he’s in fine form here on this mid-tempo jam.

He stated that “Rock ‘n’ Roll Never Forgets” is a grateful ode to the dedication of his fans who keep coming back.

“I’m grateful to all the people I played for in those small clubs, on the top of cafeteria tables, in gymnasiums, and in hockey rinks,” he said


14. “Fire Lake”

“Fire Lake” is unlike any of the Bob Seger songs he’d ever recorded up to that point, which is why he made it the first single off his 1980 album Against the Wind.

The ominous ballad is one of the best songs the rock musician has recorded. 

Seger said the song described “risking love, chucking it all, and just heading off with a bunch of wild people, whatever.”


13. “Shame On The Moon”

“Shame On The Moon” was written and recorded by American musician Rodney Crowell and was covered by Bob Seger as the lead single for his 1982 album The Distance

The acoustic guitar-led song is one of the rocker’s love songs, and the lyrics explore the dynamics between a man and a woman in a relationship.


12. “Like A Rock”

“Like A Rock” is one of the 80s Bob Seger songs that stands out as one of the highlights from that decade.

The ballad was the second single from his 1986 album of the same name and features an epic slide guitar solo from Rick Vito.

It was one of his major hit songs and is known to the wider public for being the music from a series of Chevrolet truck commercials in the 1990s and 2000s.

Related: 17 of the Best Bruce Springsteen Songs 


11. “Roll Me Away”

Bob Seger’s “Roll Me Away” is from his 1982 album The Distance. A motorcycle trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, inspired the rock n roll ballad.

Seger stated that the trip was filled with silence and a connection with nature.

 “On the first night, it was 42 degrees in northern Minnesota; the second, it was 106 in South Dakota, and all I had on was my shorts, and my feet were up on the handlebars to keep them from boiling on the engine,” he said.


10. “You’ll Accomp’ny Me”

“You’ll Accomp’ny Me” is one of Bob Seger’s forays into country rock and is driven by stately piano, organ, and acoustic guitar parts.

The melodic ballad builds to a fiery conclusion, making it one of Bob Seger’s greatest love songs and helping it hit number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.


9. “We’ve Got Tonight”

“We’ve Got Tonight” is known by listeners as a great love ballad and finds Seger slowing down the pace for a soft rock vibe.

The song charted multiple times for Seger, in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Cover versions by Kenny Rogers and Ronan Keating found chart success in later decades as well.


8. “Mainstreet”

“Mainstreet” is one of the best Bob Seger songs from the 1970s and was released as the second single from his 1976 album Night Moves.

The romantic heartland rock song was a hit in both US and Canada. Seger said the street the song is based on is Ann Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he spent his school years.


7. “Hollywood Nights”

“Hollywood Nights” is an upbeat hard rock song from Seger’s 1978 album Stranger in Town.

It’s one of Seger’s best rock songs. He said at the time of its writing, he was living at a house in Hollywood Hills and that the lyrics suddenly came to him while cruising the hills. 

“So I turned right around and drove home… I sang it into my little cassette recorder,” he recalled.

Related: The Rolling Stones: A Wild Story of Struggle and Success 


6. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”

“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” is one of the best Bob Seger songs from the 60s and is, in fact, the only song from that decade that made this list.

The hard-hitting blues rock track opens his 1969 debut album of the same name and was released as the second single.


5. “Still the Same”

Now we’re into the top 5 Bob Seger songs, and “Still the Same” is a certified classic.

The mid-tempo ballad is ostensibly about a gambler who the songwriter admired yet walks away from due to the gambler’s inability to change, although many fans have speculated that it’s actually a breakup song.


4. “Against the Wind”

Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” is a piano rock tune that explores the coming and going of friends and lovers.

It’s one of the Bob Seger songs with a big-name feature, as it has Eagles frontman Glenn Frey on backing vocals. 

The track is from his 11th studio album of the same name, for which Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band picked up their sole Grammy Award, for Best Rock Performance.

Related: 10 Best Eagles Songs: The Ultimate Playlist 


3. “Night Moves”

Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” is one of his most popular songs and was the lead single of his album of the same name.

The 1976 single helped propel Seger to the national stage and was written as a reminiscence of a teenage love affair.


2. “Turn the Page”

Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” is one of the singers’ best works from the 70s and has been a regular playlist selection for classic rock radio stations for decades. 

It was also instrumental in building Seger’s career as a popular musician when it broke as a radio hit.

Seger wrote the song about the weariness of the road, stating:

“I think I captured it for truck drivers. I think I captured it for traveling businessmen. And I think I just captured it for people who have to travel a lot and just plain miss home or family or both.”

The song achieved even greater success when metal legends Metallica covered it as the lead single for their 1998 album Garage Inc.

Metallica’s version is a lot harder than the original, but as a slow-paced hard rock song, it’s still less intense than their typical output.

Seger said he loved the Metallica version and, in particular, liked how Lars Ulrich added more detail to the drum track in contrast to the original.  


1. “Old Time Rock & Roll”

“Old Time Rock & Roll” is one of the best Bob Seger songs, and no discussion of his work would be complete without it.

For one of his most famous songs, its initial chart run wasn’t all that high, as it topped out at 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

However, after being featured in the raunchy Tom Cruise film Risky Business in 1983, it had a second run on the charts and was eventually certified x2 Platinum in the US.

“Old Time Rock & Roll” has since become a popular music standard and was ranked in the top 100 of the American Film Institute’s list of the top songs in American cinema.

The song is a nostalgic look at the early rock ‘n’ roll era and is credited to George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones III.

However, Seger co-wrote the lyrics but infamously went uncredited, which was a massive oversight for such a money maker.

He said he rewrote all the lyrics except for the chorus but didn’t ask for credit.

“That was the dumbest thing I ever did,” he said. “But I just wanted to finish the record.

“I’m not credited, so I couldn’t control the copyright either. Meanwhile, it got into a Hardee’s commercial because I couldn’t control it. Oh my God, it was awful!”

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Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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