Steppenwolf- John Kay

Ever since the eponymously-titled Steppenwolf (Billboard #6 sales) appeared containing the groundbreaking “Born to Be Wild”(Billboard #2), and the follow-up Second (even better, Billboard #3) six months later with “Magic Carpet Ride”(again #2), the music business types who control the balloting for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame still have denied Steppenwolf induction, arguably because their songs were sometimes written by non-members and, because in their brief peak from 1968-71, no one album stands out. Yet mainstream rock fans would vote them in easily if only for pretty much single-handedly putting hard rock, and its term “heavy metal thunder”, onto American Top 40 radio. 

Iconic songs “Born to Be Wild”, “Magic Carpet Ride”,”The Pusher”,”Rock Me”,”Move Over”, and Hoyt Axton’s “Snowblind Friend” were all recorded in rapid succession from 1968 to 1971 by Steppenwolf (named after the Hermann Hesse novel). Led by Communist East Germany-via-Canada exile John Kay (born Joachim Krauledat), his real life story, as you will hear in this classic rock interview, beats any Hollywood back lot fable.- Redbeard