December 13, 2006 at 1:00 am


Bill Gray: Gray was just 19 when he started at the News in 1970. "I was a promotions guy for the old Olympia (stadium)" Gray said. "Someone at the News said 'Hey this Bill Gray guy, he's 19. He can speak to the young!' Gray's time at the News coincided with Bob Seger's most dramatic career arc, when he went from playing the worst dumps, to rock stardom with his 1976 headline show at the Pontiac Silverdome.

"The poor guy tried everything, even cover versions with 'Smokin' O.P.s,' " said Gray. The writer thought it was a Seger career nadir when he played the Rock and Roll Farm in Wayne, in 1976. "Then just a day later, he told me, 'They booked me into the Pontiac Silverdome!' " Today Gray is back in Detroit, working in PR/marketing for PCG Campbell.

Susan Whitall: Whitall first saw Seger when the Bob Seger System played an assembly at Birmingham Seaholm High School in the late '60s, and it was the first of many Seger concerts she's seen over the years. She interviewed Seger as a Creem Magazine staffer in the mid-'70s to early '80s, and later, for The Detroit News. Her book, "Women of Motown," was published by Avon in 1998; she is working on a biography of the R&B singer Little Willie John.

Jim McFarlin: McFarlin wrote about music, TV and radio for the News from the late '70s until 1995. He is serving as information officer for Wayne State University's College of Nursing and writing a book about Detroit music.

Lowell Cauffiel: Cauffiel was a general assignment reporter for The Detroit News in the 1970s and '80s; he left the paper to write a true crime book, "Masquerade," about the Alan Canty murder and is living in Los Angeles, writing scripts.

Ken Settle: Settle, a photographer, admits that as a dyed-in-the-wool young fan he called Bob Seger up in 1971 (Skip Van Winkle gave him the number). Young Ken asked Seger if he could start a fan club; Seger affably said no. "I don't like adulation just because I play music." Seger was willing to chat with his fan though, patiently answering questions, telling him who "Noah" was (Seger's 12-pound cat) and what the chords to "Lucifer" were. Settle went on to photograph Seger professionally as he moved from small clubs to stadiums.

You can reach Susan Whitall at (313) 222-2156 or">