In a November 2015 Billboard magazine interview with Bob Seger, the introductory paragraph said “in 2016, the Lincoln Park, Mich., native will mark his 50th year in the music business with I Knew You When, an album of unreleased songs that he has updated”. So it looked as if Bob Seger would be releasing an album consisting of re-recordings of unreleased songs this year. Also, the title track is reported to come from the late 1990s. However in February this year, the Detroit radio station WOMC had a short article titled “Bob Seger: Back In the Studio” which started off by saying “Bob Seger is in the studio working on his 18th album. It will be all new songs, but seeing as how Bob likes to take his time, there’s no word on when it will be out.” This seemed to imply that his next album would not consist of unreleased songs, but completely new songs contradicting what was reported previously in Billboard. This week Bob was interviewed for “In The Garage with Jim O’Brien” on the Detroit radio station WCSX, and did give a little bit of information on his upcoming album. I’ll give some quotes from that interview relating to the upcoming album, mention some songs that appear to be on the album as well as my theory on what is taking place.
Bob made reference to a track originally written in 1976 which will appear on the album when asked by Jim O’Brien if he ever re-wrote a song title saying “Well, there is one and it’s coming out on the next record. I completely re-wrote the song and the reason I want it on the next record is cause Charlie Martin’s playing drums on it. It’s a 40 year old track from 1976 and it’s of course Chris and it’s Alto and Charlie and I think we had then was Robyn Robbins on Piano. I re-wrote the song completely, you know because I just didn’t like what the subject matter was … I’m just excited for everybody to hear Charlie play drums 40 years later. It’s a Rocker too”. This seems to go with the “I Knew You When” project, of updating a song for the album.
Bob revealed in the WCSX interview that he goes out to drive and think about songs which helps the creative process. Jim then asked him if there was a song that he changed or revisited when driving. He said, “Well, on the new record which I don’t know exactly when it’s gonna come out, but there’s a song called ‘The Highway’ which makes sense, you know. “Headin for the highway” is like, the chorus.” Also, if you search Bob Seger in the U.S. Copyright Office you will find the song ‘Hannah’ registered last year, implying that song may be featured on the upcoming album. I heard that these 2 songs are outtakes from his last album “Ride Out”.
Jim asked Bob if he’s feeling good about the new album and he said “I really am. I’m still writing a little bit. One more and a little bit. ... I just wrote two songs in the last month so hopefully they’ll be on it too.”
Bob mentioned that he doesn’t know when the album will come out so it is disappointing to hear that there won’t be a new album this year in celebration of Bob Seger’s 50 years in music. However, it’s good to know that Bob is still working on the album. I suspect that Bob began the “I Knew You When” album, working on re-recording unreleased songs, some of which he re-wrote the lyrics. Assuming all these 4 songs will end up on the album, there are unreleased songs from the 1970s, 1990s, 2000s (The U.S. Copyright Office lists the song ‘Hannah’ as being from 2008) and 2010s with at least two songs having the lyrics re-written, one of which was completely re-written. It looks as if Bob then decided to start writing new songs as he mentioned that he’s still writing songs for it, thus resulting in an album that will have a mix of unreleased songs and new songs.
I hope that Bob won’t take a few years to finish this album as he tends to take a long time working on albums. I would love it if it would come out next year. The fact that he mentioned that he’s “still writing a little bit” could mean that he doesn’t have a lot more songwriting to do to finish the album. It’s unlikely, but I hope that more information about the album will come out soon. Feel free to comment giving your thoughts on Bob Seger’s next album. If you liked this article, you might also be interested in my previous article about Bob Seger titled “We Need a Bob Seger Biography”.