No more long and lonesome highways, east of Omaha.
No more tour bus engines moanin’ out their one-note songs.
No more restaurant looky-loos wondering if Bob Seger is a woman or a man.
Yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is retiring from the road, a life he immortalized in “Turn the Page,” one of the all-time great songs about being a working musician traveling the country, the balance between exhilaration and boredom tilted heavily in favor of the latter.
You know Seger for a songbook of jukebox staples as thick as his trademark facial hair, from “Old Time Rock and Roll” to “Hollywood Nights” to “Mainstreet,” to name but few.
But how well do you know the man behind them all?
Before we say goodbye to Seger as a touring musician, let’s find out just who we’re saying goodbye to, with a few things you might not know about the rock ’n’ roll lifer.
He has more in common with Kiss than you might think
Seger has never rocked a codpiece, to our knowledge — and if he has, we prefer not to linger on that mental image.
This aside, Seger’s career has several parallels to that of fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Kiss.
It’s not just that both are currently ensconced on their farewell tours, bidding adieu to Las Vegas a mere two weeks apart. It’s also how they got to this point.
The careers of Kiss and Seger began on a similar trajectory: Before life in the fast line, they hit plenty of tire-snagging potholes.
Both also had their commercial breakthroughs via live albums well into their recording careers.
Adding to the similarities, both were recorded, all or in part, at Detroit’s Cobo Hall just months apart in 1975.
For Seger, success came at a snail’s pace — a snail on codeine, traversing sandpaper — as he released eight studio albums before 1976’s sweat-coated classic, “Live Bullet,” finally turned him from a regional star in the Midwest into a full-fledged national attraction, earning him his first gold album and setting the stage for his multiplatinum breakout smash, “Night Moves,” released six months later.
Kiss didn’t have to toil quite as long before becoming rock ’n’ roll superstars, but it did take them three studio albums before 1975’s “Alive!” boosted their profile like their platform boots boosted their height.
Seger and Kiss may be retiring from the road, but it’s the road where both first made their names.
He helped an Eagle get his wings
They were supposed to be in a band together, but their manager nixed the idea.
“(He) said, ‘You guys are too headstrong; you’ll never live through the same band,” Seger recalled of his longtime friend Glenn Frey at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors, where the Eagles were recognized for their contributions to rock ’n’ roll.
Frey was integral to the Eagles, the band’s de facto leader, some would say. But it was Seger who helped Frey get a management and recording contract back when the fellow Detroiters first met in the late ’60s.
“The most important thing that happened to me in Detroit was meeting Bob and getting to know him,” Frey told the Detroit Free Press in a 2003 interview. “He took me under his wing.”
Seger recruited Frey to play acoustic guitar and sing backup on his first hit, 1968’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” and Seger would return the favor by co-writing the Eagles’ smash “Heartache Tonight” — just two of their numerous collaborations.
When Frey passed away in January 2016, Seger was moved to write an album in his friend’s memory, 2017’s “I Knew You When,” Seger’s most recent record.
“You were here / Now you’re gone / And we all keep moving on,” Seger sings on anvil-hearted ballad “Glenn Song,” leading by example.
His lone pop chart-topper wasn’t supposed to be his
One man lost his voice, another gained a hit.
It was a case of laryngitis that provided Seger with the chance to record the song that would be his only No. 1 single on the pop charts.
The tune was “Shakedown,” featured on the soundtrack for “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
In another Frey connection, it was intended to be performed by Seger’s buddy, who scored a hit on the first “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack with “The Heat Is On.”
But Frey apparently didn’t dig the song’s lyrics and then came down with the aforementioned throat condition. So the tune was given to Seger, who also wasn’t much of a fan of its original incarnation and rewrote the verses.
It worked: The song hit No. 1 on Aug. 1, 1987.
“This is a town where everyone is reachin’ for the top,” Seger sang on “Shakedown” — which serves as the opening number on his current tour — his reach not exceeding his grasp in this case.
He knocked down ‘The Wall’
It’s one of the top-selling albums of all time, commercially and artistically bulletproof — just not Silver Bullet-proof.
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” reigned atop the Billboard album chart for a whopping 15 weeks, living up to its name as an impenetrable bulwark.
But on May 3, 1980, “The Wall” got crumbled by Seger, when his 11th studio album, “Against the Wind,” breezed up the charts to No. 1, his only record to reach that lofty perch, staying there for six weeks.
“Against the Wind” also pitted Seger against a number of critics, who dinged the ballad-heavy album for being forced and formulaic, in their view.
“This is not only the worst record Bob Seger has ever made, but an absolutely cowardly one as well,” Rolling Stone scribe Dave Marsh fumed, as if Seger had punched his cat or something.
Ah well, who takes music writers seriously anyway?
Who: Bob Seger
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: MGM Grand Garden, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tickets: $79-$199 (888-929-7849)