John Kay of Steppenwolf is 65 years old today..

Posted by: Daniel R. Lehrman Posted in: Danny's Favs

John Kay-Steppenwolf

John Kay-Steppenwolf

You remember John Kay and Steppenwolf? Well if you don’t it is understandable. The album Steppenwolf came out when I was 16 years old (1969) and two of the songs were used in the movie “Easy Rider”. I remember that very well. It was my first official date in which I could drive a car legally and I took my date (in my dad’s Mustang) to see the movie Easy Rider. The album “Steppenwolf” was a very successful debut for the band, featuring their best known song, “Born to Be Wild”, as well as “The Pusher”, both of which were used in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

Easy Rider is a 1969 road movie written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern and directed by Hopper, about two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South. It stars Fonda, Hopper, and Jack Nicholson and was produced by Fonda. No one knew who these guys were back then. It put Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda on the map. Jack Nicholson was already an accomplished actor at the time, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. .

The film itself was an outrageous new-era counter-culture biker film and a cornerstone movie for a generation that was wild and rebellious. Easy Rider exposes the social issues and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, trafficking drugs and drug use, the communal lifestyle and the Vietnam War.. The Wild One in 1953 was the first and disturbing (to many folks) film to portray bikers based on a real-life incident over the Fourth of July weekend in 1947 in Hollister, California, starring Marlon Brando.

Great films, Recommendation: See both of them….

The list of songs, all composed by John Kay; except where indicated

Side one

1. “Sookie Sookie” (Don Covay, Steve Cropper) –3:12
2. “Everybody’s Next One” (Kay, Gabriel Mekler) –2:53
3. “Berry Rides Again” –2:45
4. “Hoochie Coochie Man” (Willie Dixon) –5:07
5. “Born to Be Wild” (Mars Bonfire) –3:28

6. “Your Wall’s Too High” –5:40

Side two

1. “Desperation” –5:45
2. “The Pusher” (Hoyt Axton) –5:43

3. “A Girl I Knew” (Morgan Cavett, Kay) –2:39
4. “Take What You Need” (Kay, Gabriel Mekler) –3:28
5. “The Ostrich” –5:43

Steppenwolf is a Canadian rock band established in the late 1960s, a power trio of sorts, along with bands like Iron Butterfly. The band was formed in 1967 in Los Angeles by vocalist John Kay, guitarist Michael Monarch, bassist Rushton Moreve, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton.

Being a teenager in the ’60’s was a lot of fun. I have great pity for the teenagers nowadays, they don’t have the opportunity to have that type of good times any more. It sure had a big impact on my life. Perhaps you don’t read the GuitarPlayersCenter blog on a regular basis. To bring you up to date, I am motorcycle and car crazy. Been crazy over two or four wheeled vehicles for 50 of my almost 56 years of life. You know… it started with go-carts and mini bikes to motorcycle and cars. Although I’m less car crazy now, unless you are looking for good gas mileage! I still love Harley Davidsons’, the only real motorcycle on the market, everything else is a cheap copy cat imitation!!

5 Responses to John Kay of Steppenwolf is 65 years old today..

  1. Love reading about these different musicians. Really interesting. Thanks, Danny!

  2. I’m not sure my childhood was as exciting as yours, Danny, but I did love Born to Be Wild!

  3. Born To Be Wild has been worn too thin for me by Classic Rock Radio Stations. I have been hearing that song too often for too many decades to love it any longer, but I love your article. It put a spin on this song and it’s connections to your memories of your youth that I can really appreciate.
    Thanks for the blast from the past.

  4. the ostrich is the best song by steppenwolf and never gets airplay. socialy unacceptable lyrics?

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