Canadian-American band Steppenwolf was formed by German-born guitarist and singer John Kay (real name, Joachim Fritz Krauledat) in 1967, playing a mixture of rock and blues heavily influenced by Chuck Berry (Kay wrote a song entitled Berry Rides Again).
The hog-loving macho rockers came to prominence in 1969 when their recording of Born To Be Wild was featured extensively in the box-office smash Easy Rider (1969) and became a big US hit. The song references “heavy metal thunder” in the second verse – widely recognised as the first time the phrase “heavy metal” appeared in a song.
They followed up with several more US hit singles: The Pusher, Magic Carpet Ride, Rock Me, Monster and Don’t Step On The Grass Sam. They also clocked up eight US Gold albums.
Steppenwolf split in 1972 after a series of line-up changes, with Kay going solo, and Edmonton and McJohn forming their own group, called Manbeast. Yet two years later they re-formed for a series of concerts before going their own separate ways once again.
John Kay re-formed the group again in 1980 after huge publicity in America found several bogus groups exploiting the name Steppenwolf.
He explained the situation to a journalist at the time: “Various people who had been fired from the band over the years and were unable to make ends meet on their own talents, thought it was a good idea to use the name Steppenwolf – at one time there were three Steppenwolf’s touring the States at once – all cashing in on our success. So, I decided to re-form the original band to put them all out of business once and for all.”
How can anyone take a band seriously who has song titles like Earschplittenloudenboomer and Hippo Stomp??
Drummer Jerry Edmonton was killed in a motor accident on 28 November 1993.