In 1974, Seger formed the Silver Bullet Band. They released the album Seven (1974), which contained the Detroit-area hard-rock hit "Get Out of Denver". This track was a modest success and charted at No. 80 nationally.
In 1975, Seger returned to Capitol Records and released the album Beautiful Loser, with help from the Silver Bullet Band on his cover of the Tina Turner penned "Nutbush City Limits". The album's single "Katmandu" which was featured in the 1985 movie Mask starring Cher (in addition to being another substantial Detroit-area hit) was Seger's first real national break-out track since 1968's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". Although it just missed the US Pop Top 40 – peaking at No. 43 – the song received strong airplay in several markets nationwide including Detroit.
In April 1976, Seger and the Silver Bullet Band released the album Live Bullet, recorded over two nights in Detroit's Cobo Arena in September 1975. It contained Seger's rendition of "Nutbush City Limits" as well as Seger's classic take on life on the road, "Turn the Page", from Back in '72. It also included his late 1960s successful releases – "Heavy Music" and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". Critic Dave Marsh later wrote that "Live Bullet is one of the best live albums ever made ... In spots, particularly during the medley of "Travelin' Man"/"Beautiful Loser" on side one, Seger sounds like a man with one last shot at the top." An instant best-seller in Detroit, Live Bullet began to get attention in other parts of the country, selling better than Seger's previous albums, getting progressive rock radio and album-oriented rock airplay, and enabling Seger to headline more shows. Yet still, Seger had a popularity imbalance. In June 1976, he was a featured performer at the Pontiac Silverdome outside Detroit in front of nearly 80,000 fans. The next night, Seger played before fewer than a thousand people in Chicago.