Steppenwolf is a 1960s and 1970s rock 'n' roll band, best known for the hits "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride". They were named after the novel Steppenwolf by German author Hermann Hesse.
Frontman John Kay's mother escaped with him at age 4 from Soviet occupied East Germany, an event recounted in the song "Renegade" on the album Steppenwolf Seven. His family resettled in Hanover, West Germany, before moving to Canada in 1958.
The original members of the band were:
* John Kay, vocals and guitar
* Jerry Edmonton, drums
* Michael Monarch, guitar
* Goldie McJohn, keyboards
* Rushton Moreve, bass
In 1968, Nick St. Nicholas replaced Moreve as bass player.
Steppenwolf had its origins in the Toronto blues band Sparrow, which was formed in 1964 and played coffeehouses in Yorkville. By 1967 they had settled in San Francisco.
Steppenwolf rocketed to fame after their third single, "Born to Be Wild" was used in the movie Easy Rider, as well as "The Pusher". The former song may have coined the term "heavy metal". This was followed by several more hits, including "Magic Carpet Ride" from Steppenwolf the Second, and "Rock Me" from At Your Birthday Party. Many fans consider their double album Steppenwolf Live the best of Steppenwolf's releases. Monster and For Ladies Only were the band's most political albums, and are still fondly remembered by fans as two of the best rock & roll snapshots of the attitudes of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The band broke up in 1971, and Kay went on to lead a somewhat successful solo career. Steppenwolf reformed in 1974 with the album Slow Flux, and disbanded in 1976. John Kay reformed the band again in the early 1980s and went on tour as "John Kay and Steppenwolf", as well as releasing a solo album in 2001.