American-Canadian rock group, founded in 1967 in Los Angeles by singer and guitarist John Kay.
The name was taken from the title of the novel by Hermann Hesse – “Steppenwolf” (1927).
The group is sometimes associated with hippies and rockers subculture – incl. thanks to the hit “Born to Be Wild”, which is one of the loudest hymns of freedom, lively life and Harley.
Two of the band’s songs: “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Rock Me”, were used in the comedy film Candy (dir. Christian Marquand, 1968).
The soundtrack of Easy Rider (directed by Dennis Hopper, 1969) also includes the band’s songs: “Born To Be Wild” and “The Pusher”.
The piece: “Magic Carpet Ride”, was also used in the science fiction movie Star Trek: First Contact (directed by Jonathan Frakes, 1996), where it is the background music for the first space flight in the history of mankind at the speed of light.
Other songs by the band include: “Monster”, “Draft Resister”, “Snowblind Friend”, “Who Needs Ya?”, “Jupiter’s Child”, “Screaming Night Hog”, “Power Play”, “Hey Lawdy Mama”, ” Move Over ”.
In the 1980s, John Kay left the band to pursue a solo career. He returned to him when it failed. From then on, the band was called John Kay & The Steppenwolf, and the nature of the music was also different. The once frequent folk inserts were replaced with a strong, electric sound typical of 80s and 90s rock.
By the way, John Kay’s character is interesting in itself; born in 1944 in Tylża, East Prussia (as Joachim Fritz Krauledat), emigrated in the second half of the 1940’s via Germany to Canada, and then to California (USA). Close to Jimi Hendriks and Janis Joplin, he dealt with the trend of drug use at the time. He suffers from genetic achromatopsia and photosensitivity. Hence, we most often see him wearing dark glasses.