|"Turn the Page"|
|Single by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band|
|from the album Back in '72, Live Bullet|
1972 (original), September 1975 (live version)|
Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
"Turn the Page" is a song originally released by Bob Seger in 1973 on his Back in '72 album. Though never released as a single, 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 to this day (2018) 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."
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.
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".
|"Turn the Page"|
|Single by Metallica|
|from the album Garage Inc.|
|"Bleeding Me"/"Stone Cold Crazy"/"The Wait"|
|Released||November 16, 1998|
|Genre||Heavy metal, country rock, alternative rock|
|Metallica singles chronology|
Of the many cover versions that have been recorded, the most popular might be that of 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; 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". 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 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. The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.