5 Steppenwolf Songs To Prove They Were More Than ‘Born To Be Wild’
Steppenwolf‘s iconic hit ‘Born to Be Wild’ was their third single off their 1968 debut album and rocketed up the charts, landing at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It gained so much attention that it was ranked No. 129 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list and No. 29 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey. In 2009, VH1 named it the 53rd best hard rock song of all time, and in 2018, it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But you know what? Steppenwolf had way more to offer than just this one legendary tune. Let’s take a closer look at five other awesome tracks that showcase their depth, versatility, and talent, proving they were far more than just a one-hit-wonder.
‘Desperation’ is a heartfelt song from Steppenwolf’s 1968 self-titled debut album. Penned by John Kay, the song captures the disillusionment and despair felt by many Americans during the tumultuous late ’60s. As a reflection of the time, ‘Desperation’ resonated with those seeking hope amidst the darkness of political turmoil, such as the civil rights movement. With its soulful melody, tender lyrics, and a vibe that transcends time, ‘Desperation’ remains a poignant anthem for anyone feeling down and searching for something better.
4. Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam
From their 1968 album ‘The Second,’ ‘Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam’ is Steppenwolf’s bold critique of the US government’s stance on marijuana. John Kay penned this track as a rebellious response to Uncle Sam’s weed prohibition. With thought-provoking lyrics, an engaging tune, and a clear message against government control, this song highlights Kay’s passion for fighting against restrictive policies. Furthermore, it showcases the band’s ability to tackle sensitive topics with courage and conviction.
3. Berry Rides Again
‘Berry Rides Again,’ another gem from their debut album, is a super cool tribute to the legendary Chuck Berry. The song cleverly mentions twelve of Berry’s hits, like ‘School Days,’ ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ and several others. This fantastic tribute demonstrates Steppenwolf’s deep respect for their musical heroes and their ability to weave these influences into their own work. Additionally, it highlights the band’s knack for blending various styles and paying homage to rock and roll’s roots.
2. The Pusher
‘The Pusher’ is a groundbreaking song that tackles the dark reality of drug use and addiction, exposing the brutal nature of drug dealers. Hoyt Axton wrote this track after a friend’s tragic overdose, and it eventually found its way into Steppenwolf’s repertoire through John Kay’s solo career and The Sparrows, the band that ultimately evolved into Steppenwolf. With its raw emotion, powerful lyrics, and timeless message, ‘The Pusher’ remains an important piece of music history that raises awareness about the devastating consequences of drug abuse.
1. Magic Carpet Ride
Finally, we’ve got ‘Magic Carpet Ride,’ an invitation to a wild journey of self-discovery and boundless imagination. As the lead single from their 1968 album, ‘The Second,’ this song climbed to number three on the US charts, staying there longer than any other Steppenwolf song. With its infectious energy, imaginative lyrics, and a psychedelic groove, ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ shows off the band’s ability to transport listeners to a world where anything is possible, emphasizing their creative prowess.
So there you have it, folks! Steppenwolf was way more than just ‘Born to Be Wild.’ These five songs are a testament to their incredible range, creativity, and ability to connect with listeners on a deeper level. From touching on societal issues to paying tribute to their musical influences, Steppenwolf’s legacy goes far beyond their most famous hit. So, give these tunes a spin, and you’ll see just how epic Steppenwolf really was.