In his monumental novel, Remembrance of Things Past, author Marcel Proust refers to an overwhelming wave of recollection that envelops him when he tastes a Madeleine (small sweet cake) whose flavour and texture he subconsciously associates with pleasurable moments in his childhood.
I first heard the unforgettable voice of Bob Seger drifting through the brightly-lit passageways of Ulster’s Springhill Shopping Centre, a complex of shops and supermarkets that we would probably nowadays refer to as a mall.
It was during the Nineteen-Seventies and the song was Mainstreet, from Seger’s Night Moves album, which featured an incredibly haunting lead guitar solo alongside Bob's distinctive voice.
The song struck me so forcibly that I hurriedly sought out the source of the music, a small record shop there in the complex.
Using my recently-acquired (and very first) credit card, I purchased the LP.
Over the next few years I acquired many other Bob Seger albums and was constantly amazed that he received so few airplays from UK radio stations, despite being a major artist in the USA.
Seger has a classic raspy voice, vaguely reminiscent of Scots singer, Frankie Miller, or early Rod Stewart, and his self-penned songs deal with love, youth and freedom.
Night Moves, the title number from that 1976 breakthrough album is, arguably, even more powerful than Mainstreet, but for me, the latter, that first Seger song I ever heard, still produced a Madeleine moment when I rediscovered it recently on You Tube.
My musical tastes have changed markedly since the Seventies but Mainstreet instantly transports me back to my heady, if somewhat undisciplined, thirties, and to my tiny flat in battle-weary Belfast.
With a career spanning five decades, Bob Seger continues to perform and record today. His album Live Bullet, recorded with The Silver Bullet Band, remains one of the ten best-selling live albums of all time.
His music features on numerous movie soundtracks including Forrest Gump, Armageddon and Mask.
Bob Seger turned seventy this year but, despite the grey hair and expanding waistline, clearly hasn’t lost the fire inside.
Click here for a recent live performance by Bob Seger or click on any of the highlighted links above for album tracks.