Bob Seger sports one of the most mysterious catalogs of any major rock star, in that nearly half of his studio albums have been out of print for decades, and practically none of them are available digitally. He released his first album in 1969, breathing fire as the frontman for the barnstorming Detroit garage rockers The Bob Seger System. Before his career started to turn a corner with the more reflective heartland rock of 1975’s Beautiful Loser, he’d made seven records that most of his fans will never hear.

Never mind downloads, they’ve never even been on CD. It appears to be possible that it is Seger himself who keeps them hidden away. Though they contain some of his finest moments, he has stated that he has no desire to see them reissued.

Of course, Seger and his Silver Bullet Band gained superstardom in ‘76 via the mega-platinum concert recording Live Bullet, and the albums that followed only amplified that status. But if you search your favorite digital music outlet for these, you’ll still come up empty. It seems Seger’s old-school all the way, and even his phenomenally successful studio outings of the late ‘70s and ‘80s can only be snapped up on CD.

So it would seem there’s more need for a guide through Seger’s daunting discography than for almost any of his peers. That’s where we come in, with a walk through his oeuvre that swiftly separates the wheat from the chaff.