There are some artists with such a vast catalog that it’s easy for some truly wonderful tracks of theirs to slip through the cracks a bit. Bob Seger is such an artist, and it’s heartening to hear that he’s about to add to that catalog with a new album. A little more than a quarter-century ago, his new album was The Fire Inside, but it was released at a time (1991) when heritage rock artists had a difficult time being heard in the prevailing musical climate. As a result, the title track, which is an unmitigated triumph, took somewhat of a backseat.
Seger, ever the meticulous craftsman, worked hard to bring the song to a point where he was completely satisfied with it, as he told Music Connection in 1994. “I thought the second verse about the club scenes was a killer, and the last verse worked, but I started to realize that the original first verse of that song was not nearly as strong as the others,” he remembered. “So I wracked my brain for a long time on that song. It's like you'll work and work and work, and then three weeks later, the answer will just pop into your head.”
Although the album is credited to Seger with his longtime backing group The Silver Bullet Band, it was a record which featured many special guests, and two of them make a large impact on “The Fire Inside.” Russ Kunkel is the driving force with a relentless drum beat that mirrors the protagonist’s forward momentum in the song, while E Streeter Roy Bittan adds a frenzied piano part to lend the song majesty and melodic flair. Seger is the omniscient narrator, telling the story of a one-night stand from the excitable beginning to the bittersweet conclusion.