Steppenwolf was a Canadian-American rock band whose thundering sound propelled several enduring anthems of the ’60s and helped pave the way for the rise of ’70s hard rock.
∙ Formed in Los Angeles in 1967 by singer John Kay and other ex-members of Canadian band The Sparrow, the group took their name from the title of a Hermann Hesse novel.
∙ Their biggest hit, 1968’s “Born to Be Wild,” became the rebellion theme for a generation after it was featured in Dennis Hopper’s 1969 counterculture film, Easy Rider.
∙ All five studio albums they released between 1968 and 1970—including the Gold-selling The Second—reached the Top 20 of the Billboard 200.
∙ The group broke up for the first time on February 14, 1972, which Los Angeles mayor Sam Yorty officially declared to be Steppenwolf Day.
∙ Kay contributed vocals to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s 1988 hip-hop cover of Steppenwolf’s hit “Magic Carpet Ride.”
∙ In 1994, Kay celebrated the band’s 25th anniversary with a series of concerts in the former East Germany, near his childhood home, and with his autobiography, Magic Carpet Ride.
ORIGINLos Angeles, CA