I am a Bob Seger fan and I like piano in rock music, so I decided to write a blog post choosing ten Bob Seger songs with great piano in them played by ten different piano players. Most of these songs are rock songs, but I am including some songs that probably wouldn’t be classified as rock here. For each song, I’ll give the name of the piano player and the year in the title, with my thoughts on the piano in the song. I did include three of his most popular songs “Old Time Rock & Roll”, “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Against The Wind”. Most of the songs are credited to Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, with there being one solo song as well as some songs credited with the Silver Bullet Band, but having no Silver Bullet Band members on it. Here’s my ten great Bob Seger songs given in sequential order. Hope you like it.
Old Time Rock & Roll - Randy McCormick (1978)
This song was given to Bob as a demo that was written by George Jackson and Thomas Jones. Bob Seger rewrote most of the lyrics, but didn’t ask for credit. He tried recording it both with his Silver Bullet Band and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (a group of session musicians in Alabama that he recorded with in the 70s and 80s), but it wasn’t working. Thus, he decided to record his voice over the original demo that featured the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and removed the voice of the original singer. The piano is played by Randy McCormick. The song opens with the legendary piano intro that’s instantly recognisable. I use the piano intro as my phone ringtone. Silver Bullet Band member Alto Reed plays saxophone on the song that was recorded as an overdub. While the piano may not be the loudest instrument in the song, it’s played very well.
We’ve Got Tonight - Barry Beckett (1978)
This song is a ballad credited with the Silver Bullet Band, but was recorded with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and has Barry Beckett playing the piano & organ. It opens with the great piano intro that’s played over and over during most of the song. In the bridge, the piano playing changes where it is played faster. The song has a good section where the chorus is played three times at the end, first as usual with the band, then a slow version just with piano & Bob’s voice that’s joined by the other instruments at the end which is followed by the last chorus with the band again that works very well.
Brave Strangers - Doug Riley (1978)
This song recorded with the Silver Bullet Band opens with the great melodic piano riff played by Canadian session musician Doug Riley and the song is then joined by the organ, acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Just before the bridge, Doug does good movements on the piano. Then the bridge takes the melody in a different direction featuring great piano work by Doug before going back to the piano riff and previous melodies. I consider this to be a rock song with a soul influence which goes on for an epic six minutes and twenty seconds.
Against The Wind - Paul Harris (1980)
This song is slower as it’s a ballad and has a country influence. It’s a Silver Bullet Band song with the piano and organ played by Paul Harris. Paul delivers a good country sounding piano solo which goes back and forth with him and original Silver Bullet Band guitarist Drew Abbott. The piano provides most of the song’s melody. This is also a long song that goes on for five minutes and thirty four seconds.
Love’s The Last To Know - Bill Payne (1982)
This song is again a ballad recorded with the Silver Bullet Band featuring Bill Payne on piano. It starts with just piano, which is joined by the organ about fifty seconds in and then the remaining instruments at about the one and a half minute mark, but with the drums playing softly until about two and a half minutes into the song where the drums are played hard which results in the piano played more stronger. This song holds a special significance to me as the acoustic guitar is played by Davey Johnstone (Elton John’s guitarist) with Bob Seger and Elton John being my two favourite singers.
The Ring - Craig Frost (1986)
This Silver Bullet Band song features the piano played by Silver Bullet Band keyboardist Craig Frost. I consider it a pop rock song featuring the signature Bob Seger piano sound. The piano seems to go up and down throughout the slow and fast sections of the song. There is this great melody on the piano that’s played throughout the song. The piano has a lot a room as the guitars here are acoustic ones. This epic long song goes on for five minutes and thirty five seconds.
The Fire Inside - Roy Bittan (1991)
This is another of Bob’s epic long songs which rocks really well being led by the incredible inspired piano playing by Roy Bittan. It’s credited with the Silver Bullet Band, but recorded entirely with session musicians. The guitar featured is an acoustic guitar played by session guitarist Steve Lukather of Toto fame giving the piano more room to rock. There are two amazing piano solos, one in the middle and the other at the end of the song. I consider the piano playing to be of the signature Bob Seger piano sound that’s also in the previous song, but with more energy and rocks better. Near the end of the song there is a brief moment where the piano notes go back and forth between high and low ones. The song goes on for five minutes and fifty six seconds.
She Can’t Do Anything Wrong - Walt Richmond (1991)
This song recorded with the Silver Bullet Band was written by Bill Davis & Walt Richmond and it is Walt who is playing the piano. Like the previous song, there are two piano solos, one in the middle of the song and one in the end, but this song seems to have a southern rock or rock & roll feel unlike the previous one with another difference being this song’s use of electric guitars. Bob sings throughout the piano solo at the end.
I Can’t Save You Angelene - Bob Seger (1995)
In this song, it’s interesting as Bob Seger himself is playing the piano. I wish Bob Seger would play piano more, especially on rock songs. This is probably the best piano playing he’s ever done, delivering a great performance. This song isn’t rock, as it’s an upbeat blues song. His playing is melodic and opens with the great piano riff that goes up the scale to the high notes that is played throughout the song. He even solos in the last minute of the song, where he also does a bit of singing.
What I love about this song is that it sounds so much like Elton John, being a fan of both singers. One Elton John song it sounds like is his hit “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”. The Elton similarities are the fact that Bob is also playing the piano, the melody sounds Elton like, the piano playing sounds like Elton and lastly Bob’s singing resembles Elton. I love Elton John’s voice post late 80s as I find that voice has a lot of depth. Bob’s vocals are great here, where he sings with depth similar to Elton, and in the last minute of the song sings a “yeah, yeah” that Elton has sung. I would love it if Elton John and Bob Seger would do a duet, and then Elton would become another musician that’s played great piano on a Bob Seger song.
Satisfied - Steve Nathan (2003)
This is another upbeat blues song so it sounds similar to the previous one. It’s a solo song featuring piano and organ by Steve Nathan. There is a great piano solo in the middle of the song, as well as another great piano solo at the end where Bob sings along which of course resembles the end of the previous song.
So this was my list of ten great Bob Seger songs by ten different piano players. I think these songs would make a great album with the time totalling forty six minutes. I hope you enjoyed this list and would like to hear your thoughts on it.