Turn the Page (Bob Seger song)

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"Turn the Page"
Single by Bob Seger
from the album Back in '72
Released 1973
Recorded 1972
Genre Country rock
Length 5:11
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Bob Seger
Bob Seger singles chronology
"Lucifer"
(1970)
"Turn the Page"
(1973)
"Get Out of Denver"
(1974)
"Turn the Page"
Song by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band from the album Live Bullet
Released 1976
Recorded September, 1975
Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
Genre Rock
Length 5:06
Label Capitol
Writer Bob Seger
Live Bullet track listing
"I've Been Working"
(5)
"Turn the Page"
(6)
"U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)"
(7)

"Turn the Page" is a song originally released by Bob Seger in 1973 on his Back in '72 album. Though never released as a single, Seger's live version of the song on his 1976 Live Bullet album became a mainstay of album-oriented rock radio stations, and still gets significant airplay to this day on classic rock stations.

Inspiration[edit]

"Turn the Page" is about the emotional and social ups and downs of a rock musician's life on the road. Seger wrote it in 1972 while touring with Teegarden & Van Winkle. Drummer David Teegarden (of Teegarden & Van Winkle and later the Silver Bullet Band) recalls:

We had been playing somewhere in the Midwest, or the northern reaches, on our way to North or South Dakota. [Guitarist] Mike Bruce was with us. We'd been traveling all night from the Detroit area to make this gig, driving in this blinding snowstorm. It was probably 3 in the morning.

Mike decided it was time to get gas. He was slowing down to exit the interstate and spied a truck stop. We all had very long hair back then – it was the hippie era – but Skip, Mike and Bob had all stuffed their hair up in their hats. You had to be careful out on the road like that, because you'd get ostracized. When I walked in, there was this gauntlet of truckers making comments – "Is that a girl or man?" I was seething; those guys were laughing their asses off, a big funny joke.

That next night, after we played our gig – I think it was Mitchell, S.D. – Seger says, "Hey, I've been working on this song for a bit, I've got this new line for it. He played it on acoustic guitar, and there was that line: "Oh, the same old cliches / 'Is that a woman or a man?' " It was "Turn the Page."[1]

Tom Weschler, then road manager for Seger, remembers the same incident:

"Turn the Page," Bob's great road song, came along in '72, while we were driving home from a gig. I think we were in Dubuque, Iowa, in winter and stopped at a restaurant. We stood out when we entered a store or a gas station or a restaurant en masse. At this restaurant it was particularly bright inside, so there weren't any dark corners to hide in. All these local guys were looking at us like, "What are these guys? Is that a woman or a man?" – just like in the song. ... That was one incident, but there were so many others on the road that led Seger to write that song.[2]

While on tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 16, 2006, promoting his 16th studio album Face the Promise, Seger himself said: "I wrote this song in 1972 in a hotel room in Eau Claire, Wisconsin," prior to beginning the song.[citation needed]

Instrumentation[edit]

Both Seger's studio and live versions of "Turn the Page" feature a mournful mellotron and a distinctive saxophone part played by founding Silver Bullet member Alto Reed. Tom Weschler allegedly helped inspire Reed to create the opening melody. During recording, Weschler told Reed: "Alto, think about it like this: You're in New York City, on the Bowery. It's 3 a.m. You're under a streetlamp. There's a light mist coming down. You're all by yourself. Show me what that sounds like." With that, Reed played the opening melody to "Turn the Page".[2]

Covers[edit]

"Turn the Page"
Single by Metallica
from the album Garage Inc.
B-side "Bleeding Me"/"Stone Cold Crazy"/"The Wait"
Released November 16, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded September–October 1998
Genre Heavy metal, Hard Rock
Length 6:06
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Bob Seger
Metallica singles chronology
"Fuel"
(1998)
"Turn the Page"
(1998)
"Whiskey in the Jar"
(1999)
Music video
"Turn the Page" on YouTube
  • Waylon Jennings covered the song on the album of the same name (Turn the Page) in 1985, the first in which Jennings was drug-free in 20 years.
  • Metallica later covered the song, as the first single from their 1998 Garage Inc. album, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for 11 consecutive weeks, the highest number of weeks Metallica has ever spent at the top; drummer Lars Ulrich had heard the original song while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge and later commented that he thought it "Had James Hetfield all over it".[3] Metallica's rendition is taken at much the same tempo as Seger's, but with a heavier feel; the saxophone part is replaced by a high slide guitar line from Kirk Hammett. The accompanying music video explores a day in the life not of musicians, but a mother (played by Ginger Lynn) that works as an erotic dancer by day, and prostitute by night. MTV refused to air the video due to a scene depicting abusive sex between the mother and a client.[4] The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.[5]
  • The song has also been covered by Australian rock singer Jon English.
  • Dutch rock group Golden Earring.
  • Country singer/songwriter Marshall Chapman covered the song on her 1978 album, Jaded Virgin.
  • Kid Rock covered the song as a 1995 demo as part of his White Room Studios Sessions but it was omitted from Early Mornin Stoned Pimp. Kid Rock's version includes the original version overdubbed. He has covered it with Metallica on the 2000 Summer Sanitarium Tour. He covered this song with Jamey Johnson at DTE Energy Music Theatre in August 2010, with Bob Seger coming onstange to sing the last line of the song.
  • Sage Francis covered the song on his 2001 album Personal Journals, with slightly altered lyrics. The chorus lyric and song title were changed to "My Name Is Strange".
  • Estonian band Muusik Seif, fronted by Tõnis Mägi, covered the song in Estonian language as "Olen valind tee" ([I've] chosen a way), on their 1983 album Mäe kaks nõlva (The two sides of a mountain).

Influences[edit]

Jon Bon Jovi has claimed that the song was a big influence on him and Richie Sambora when they were writing their 1986 song "Wanted Dead or Alive."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brian McCollum (March 14, 2004). "A definitive oral history of Seger's early years". Detroit Free Press. 
  2. ^ a b Weschler, Tom, and Gary Graff. Travelin Man: on the road and behind the scenes with Bob Seger. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2009.
  3. ^ http://www.encycmet.com/songs/sgtpage.shtml
  4. ^ IMDb Ginger Lynn Allen Biography
  5. ^ Armstrong, Chuck. "Metallica, 'Turn the Page' – Official Music Video". Ultimate Metallica. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ Video: Jon Bon Jovi talks with Richie Sambora and the audience about Bob Seger on YouTube

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single (Metallica version)
November 28, 1998 – February 6, 1999
Succeeded by
"What It's Like" by Everlast