Turn the Page (Bob Seger song)

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"Turn the Page"
Turn the Page - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.jpg
Single by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
from the album Back in '72, Live Bullet
Released1973 (original)
1976 (live)
Recorded1972 (original), September 1975 (live version)
Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
5:06 (live)
Songwriter(s)Bob Seger

"Turn the Page" is a song originally released by Bob Seger in 1973 on his Back in '72 album. Released as a single but never charting,[1] Seger's live version of the song on the 1976 Live Bullet album became a mainstay of album-oriented rock radio stations, and still gets significant airplay on classic rock stations.


"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."[2]

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.[3]

While on tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 16, 2006, promoting his 16th studio album Face the Promise, Seger said he wrote the song in a hotel room in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.[4][5]


Both Seger's studio and live versions of "Turn the Page" feature a Mellotron and a 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".[3]

Jon English cover[edit]

Australian singer Jon English released a version of the song in 1974 as the lead single from his second studio album, It's All a Game. The song peaked at number 20 on the Kent Music Report.[6]

Metallica cover[edit]

"Turn the Page"
Metallica - Turn the Page cover.jpg
Single by Metallica
from the album Garage Inc.
ReleasedNovember 16, 1998
RecordedSeptember–October 1998
GenreHard rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Seger
Producer(s)Bob Rock
Metallica singles chronology
"Turn the Page"
"Whiskey in the Jar"
Music video
"Turn the Page" on YouTube

Of the many cover versions that have been recorded, the most popular cover version is by Metallica, who released it as the first single from their 1998 Garage Inc. album, reaching number 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; the song also reached number 2 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100. 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".[7] 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 single mother (played by Ginger Lynn) who is a sex worker; that is, she works as a stripper by day, and a prostitute by night. MTV refused to air the video due to nudity and a scene depicting sexual assault between the mother and a client.[8] The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.[9]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1998–1999) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[10] 11
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 19
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 33
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[13] 5
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[14] 57
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[15] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[16] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[17] 42
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[18] 22
Norway (VG-lista)[19] 11
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 13
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[21] 2
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[22] 39
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[23] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Position
Australia (ARIA)[24] 81


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Sweden (GLF)[25] Gold 15,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Other covers[edit]

Waylon Jennings covered the song on his album of the same name in 1985.


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".[26]


In 2014, Seger performed the song on CMT Crossroads with country singer Jason Aldean. The video of the performance won the CMT Music Award for Performance Video of the Year.[27]


  1. ^ https://www.discogs.com/artist/267854-Bob-Seger?subtype=Singles-EPs&filter_anv=0&type=Releases&page=2
  2. ^ Brian McCollum (March 14, 2004). "A definitive oral history of Seger's early years". Detroit Free Press.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/music/article_73cbb724-b176-54db-9894-7e42d09a8b10.html
  5. ^ https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/bob-seger-fiserv-forum-review
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Ginger Lynn". IMDb.
  9. ^ Armstrong, Chuck. "Metallica, 'Turn the Page' – Official Music Video". Ultimate Metallica. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Metallica – Turn the Page". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Metallica – Turn the Page" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Metallica – Turn the Page" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6974." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 50. December 12, 1998. p. 10. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Metallica: Turn the Page" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Metallica – Turn the Page". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Metallica – Turn the Page" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Charts.nz – Metallica – Turn the Page". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Metallica – Turn the Page". VG-lista. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Metallica – Turn the Page". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Metallica Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "Metallica Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Metallica Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "1998 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  26. ^ Video: Jon Bon Jovi talks with Richie Sambora and the audience about Bob Seger on YouTube
  27. ^ "2015 CMT Music Awards: The Winners". CMT.com. June 11, 2015.

External links[edit]