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Against the Wind: Seger’s Title Song Turns 39

…Those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I’m still runnin against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin against the wind
Bob Seeger, Against the Wind, 1980

Bob Seger’s 11th studio album, Against the Wind, was released 39 years ago today on February 25, 1980. At the time, I was a 7th grader at Gilmer Junior High in East Texas. In many ways, it was a magical time in my young life. It was the dawn of my adolescence and I was falling in love with so many people and so many things. It was also a very difficult time as my older brother had taken all he could take of my father’s abuse and joined the Marine Corps. He was just 16 when he signed papers. He left about a week after his 17th birthday.

Today, Billy says Against the Wind was the soundtrack of his service in the Marines. It was also the soundtrack of all our worry. We only drew reprieve during rare phone calls he made home with the assistance of ham radio operators.

At my mother’s funeral in December 2017, he talked about how hard it was for her when the Marine recruiter came to the house and asked her to sign papers. They required this because he was not yet 18. I remember how much she cried when he left home. We all cried, but she cried the most. My dad also cried about Billy leaving from time to time. He’d grow misty-eyed and wipe away tears with his large open palms. I felt so bad for him, even though I thought to myself, “You made him leave.”

He made us all leave, and in so doing set us all against the wind. My siblings and me. But, we never stopped loving him, and we love him still, and forgive him. His death was very hard on me — the loss — but not as hard as his long dying. Twelve years in a nursing home suffering from Pick’s Disease. The atomic bomb tests during Operation Ivy took their toll on him. They took a toll on all of us. I truly believe he did his best within the confines of his human frailties.

Here is a picture taken the year Seger released Against the Wind. I came across it some years ago on the now defunct blog, Isle Grande. It was taken in 1980 and features Gen-X girls in short jogging shorts and long tube socks. That was the look of the hour, friends. I liked it so much, especially the jogging shorts, which were usually made out of soft terry cloth. For me, this picture is simply divine. It captures my generation as we really were on a warm day in 1980, in a park with friends. (They call them green spaces now.) It was a day and then a decade and then, before we knew it, a generation against the wind.

Pictures from the 1980s - Girls wearing tube socks

Girls in jogging shorts and tube socks, 1980.

And the years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
Found myself further and further from my home and I
Guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was livin’ to run and runnin’ to live
Never worried about payin’ or even how much I owe

Movin’ eight miles a minute and for months at a time
Breakin all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searchin
Searchin for shelter again and again

Against the wind
Little somethin’ against the wind
I found myself seekin’ shelter against the wind…

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Brett

    One of the first LPs I ever bought. I still have it. Great album.

  2. Brett

    Staying power is when you write a song at 34 you can still sing at 74 and not sound creepy or dumb. I remember when this came out I paid much more attention to “Her Strut” or “Horizontal Bop,” but in my defense I was a 15-year-old male and those songs were about what I was always thinking about anyway.

    • Jennifer

      Fifteen feels like a long time ago, until I hear one of these songs that take me back. I was in Southeast Kansas when I was 15. The wind was as wild and cutting there as it is in Oklahoma. Probably more cutting. And, I was literally walking against on the long walks to high school.

  3. Bryon

    Being the same age I remember the album and especially this song. My parents divorced in 1979 and that summer my mother and I visited Port Charlotte, Florida and decided to move there. What a change from rural Ohio! Some of life’s biggest challenges and deepest friendships came about due to that move. God was good. The two songs I remember from that summer were Against the Wind by Bob Seger and All Those Years Ago by George Harrison. Whenever I hear Against the Wind I am whisked away to sultry Florida, tube socks, terry cloth, and all.
    ps. I work part-time at Barnes and Noble and recently Michael Bolton was there for a cd signing. He said that he first opened up for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band back in the 1980s and Bolton, then still more unknown that known, was treated very well by the band. He said that, all these years later he’d still open for Bob Seger if asked. 🙂

    • Jennifer

      Funny how terry cloth is a generation thing we all share, right? And, man, those tube socks. They never kept their shape for very long. LOL. I loved this story so much – about the divorce and the songs and sultry Florida. Thank you for sharing it. I could see it all…

      That is also a great story about Michael Bolton. It always inspires me when someone who has arrived treats someone still on their way very well!

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