Saturday, June 4, 2011


As with Spirit this band had 4 0r 5 very solid albums with a core line up before it began to frazzle out. I have done the same here and tried to give you a listen of Steppenwolf's many songs that are for many unheard. We all know "Born To Be Wild" but what about " Sparkle Eyes" Enjoy the tracks from the Wolf. Listening to this tight band makes one realize that even though it was mostly a John Kay vehicle the band members were extremely talented and important Listen to a couple of their instrumental tracks and you will see what I mean

Steppenwolf are a Canadian-American hard rock group that was prominent in the late 1960s. The group was formed in 1967 in Los Angeles by vocalist John Kay, guitarist Michael Monarch, bassist Rushton Moreve, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton after the dissolution of Toronto group The Sparrow of which Moreve was not a member.

The band has sold more than 25 million records worldwide,releasing eight gold albums and twelve Billboard Hot 100 singles of which six were Top 40 hits, including three Top 10 successes: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride", and "Rock Me". Steppenwolf enjoyed worldwide success from 1968 to 1974, but clashing personalities led to the end of the core lineup

The name-change from The Sparrow to Steppenwolf was suggested to John Kay by Gabriel Mekler, being inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel of the same name.[3] Steppenwolf's first two singles were "A Girl I Knew" and "Sookie Sookie". The band finally rocketed to worldwide fame after their third single "Born to Be Wild" and their version of Hoyt Axton's "The Pusher" were prominently used in the 1969 cult film Easy Rider (both titles originally had been released on the band's debut album). In the movie, "The Pusher" accompanies a drug deal, and Peter Fonda stuffing dollar bills into his Stars & Stripes-clad fuel tank, after which "Born to Be Wild" is heard in the opening credits, with Fonda and Dennis Hopper riding their Indian and Harley choppers through the American West. The song, which has been closely associated with motorcycles ever since, introduced to rock lyrics the signature term "heavy metal" (though not about a kind of music, but about a motorcycle: "I like smoke and lightning, heavy metal thunder, racin' with the wind..."). Written by Dennis Edmonton, who had begun using the pen name Mars Bonfire, the song had already reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1968. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The following albums had several more hits, including "Magic Carpet Ride" (which reached #3) from Steppenwolf The Second and "Rock Me" (with its bridge lasting 1:06, which reached #10) from At Your Birthday Party. It also sold in excess of one million units.

Monster, which criticized US policy of the Nixon-era, and Steppenwolf 7 were the band's most political albums, which included the song "Snowblind Friend", another Axton-penned song, about the era and attitudes of drug problems.

There were several changes in the group's personnel after the first few years. Moreve was fired from the group in 1968 for missing gigs after he became afraid to return to Los Angeles, convinced that it was going to be leveled by an earthquake and fall into the sea. Rob Black filled in for Moreve until former fellow-Sparrow Nick St. Nicholas came aboard. Monarch quit after disagreements with Kay the next year year and was replaced by Larry Byrom, who'd been in TIME with St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas' tenure with the group proved to be brief and he was let go in 1970 after incurring Kay's wrath by showing up onstage in a bunny suit, and playing his bass loudly and out of tune. George Biondo was then recruited and guitarist Kent Henry replaced Byrom in 1971.The band broke up in 1972 following the release of another political concept album, For Ladies Only


Eric said...

Couldn't agree more Bill.
Much more to Steppenwolf than the hits that get constant airplay in somewhere U.S.A. classic rock radio. Bought "7" as a kid when it cameout and it's still a favorite by them.

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