This year Bob Seger will celebrate his 10th anniversary as an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The honor is his because of his hardscrabble, up-by-the-bootstraps life story; the way he can forge lyrics that are a combination of personal autobiography and everyman’s experience; and of course, there is the legendary intensity with which he delivers his melodies.
Of equal legend are his songs: “Turn the Page,” “Night Moves,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” and “Still the Same” – tunes that launched Seger to worldwide fame, carried him to the top of the charts, and gave many of us a soundtrack for our coming of age years.
My personal Seger favorite is “Like a Rock.” Most people today associate this iconic song with Chevrolet pickup trucks. I associate the apropos lyrics with the evening of my high school graduation: “I stood there boldly, sweatin’ in the sun, felt like a million, felt like number one; the height of summer, I’d never felt that strong, like a rock.”
And then the refrain that Seger screams into the microphone, a refrain about himself as a younger man: “Like a rock, I was strong as I could be; like a rock, nothin’ ever got to me; like a rock, I was something to see; like a rock.”
Seger captures the years of youth, perfectly. It is a time of unbridled optimism, strength, and arrogance. A young man or woman can do anything, be anything, try anything, and overcome anything. No challenge is too big, too tough, or too much – body and soul are as solid rock.
Honestly, a young person needs this kind of bravado. He or she needs a kind of audacious swagger when life is just getting started. But he or she will also learn – life teaches everyone this lesson – that the do-everything, dare-anybody, defy-anything ability of youth, doesn’t last.