Born to Be Wild

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"Born to Be Wild"
Born to-be wild-steppenwolf-45.jpg
Single by Steppenwolf
from the album Steppenwolf
B-side "Everybody's Next One"
  • 3:30
  • 3:02 (7")
Songwriter(s) Mars Bonfire
Producer(s) Gabriel Mekler
Steppenwolf singles chronology
"A Girl I Knew"
"Born to Be Wild"
"The Pusher"

"Born to Be Wild" is a song written by Mars Bonfire and first performed by the band Steppenwolf, The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style). [5]

Dennis Edmonton, also known by the stage name Mars Bonfire, is a Canadian rock musician and songwriter, best known for writing the hit song "Born to Be Wild" for Steppenwolf.

Steppenwolf (band) Canadian-American rock group

Steppenwolf is a Canadian-American rock band, prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1967 in Los Angeles by lead singer John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton. Guitarist Michael Monarch and bass guitarist Rushton Moreve were recruited by notices placed in Los Angeles-area record and musical instrument stores.

Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced in lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk culture, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment, sports, news, politics, fashion, technology, and slang.



"Born to Be Wild" was written by Mars Bonfire as a ballad. [6] Bonfire was previously a member of the Sparrows, the predecessor band to Steppenwolf, and his brother was Steppenwolf's drummer. Although he initially offered the song to other bands — The Human Expression, for one [7] — "Born to Be Wild" was first recorded by Steppenwolf in a sped-up and rearranged version that AllMusic's Hal Horowitz described as "a roaring anthem of turbo-charged riff rock" and "a timeless radio classic as well as a slice of '60s revolt that at once defines Steppenwolf's sound and provided them with their shot at AM immortality." [6]

The Sparrows was a Canadian blues rock band that existed in the 1960s. Notable for being the first group to break out musician John Kay into the mainstream, The Sparrows later morphed into the popular heavy rock group Steppenwolf.

The Human Expression

The Human Expression was an American garage and psychedelic rock band from Los Angeles that released three well-regarded singles, and made additional demo recordings between 1966 and 1967.

AllMusic Online music database

AllMusic is an online music database. It catalogs more than 3 million album entries and 30 million tracks, as well as information on musical artists and bands. It launched in 1991, predating the World Wide Web. As of 2015, AllMusic is owned by RhythmOne.

Release and reception

"Born to Be Wild" was the band's third single off their 1968 debut album Steppenwolf , and became their most successful single, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. It was kept from the No.1 spot by "People Got to Be Free" by the Rascals. [8] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Born to Be Wild" at No. 129 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. [9] Also in 2004, it finished at #29 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In 2009, it was named the 53rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1. [10] In 2018, the song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a new category for singles. [11]

<i>Steppenwolf</i> (Steppenwolf album) 1968 studio album by Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf is the debut album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf, released in January 1968 on ABC Dunhill Records.

<i>Billboard</i> Hot 100 Song chart in U.S

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

People Got to Be Free 1968 single by The Rascals

"People Got to Be Free" is a song released in 1968 by The Rascals. Written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and featuring a lead vocal from Cavaliere, it is a musically upbeat but impassioned plea for tolerance and freedom:


Year-end charts

Chart (1968)Rank
Canada (RPM Top Singles) [22] 14
US Billboard Hot 100 [23] 31

Cover versions

"Born to Be Wild"
Born to be Wilde Kim Wilde.jpg
Single by Kim Wilde
B-side "All About Me"
Format CD single
Length3:23(Radio Mix)
Label Edel
Songwriter(s) Mars Bonfire
Producer(s) Ricki Wilde
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"Born to Be Wild"
"Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime"
Music video
"Born to Be Wild" on YouTube

In 1985, the song was covered by Australian band Rose Tattoo. Their version peaked at No. 25 in Australia. [24] In 2002, it was covered by Kim Wilde and released as a non-album single. Her cover reached No. 84 in Germany [25] and No. 71 in Switzerland. [26] Tanja Dexters also covered the song in 2002. Her version peaked at No. 21 in Belgium. [27]

Rose Tattoo Australian band

Rose Tattoo is an Australian rock and roll band, now led by Angry Anderson, that was formed in Sydney in 1976. Their sound is hard rock mixed with blues rock influences, with songs including "Bad Boy for Love", "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw", "Nice Boys", "We Can't Be Beaten" and "Scarred for Life". Their first four albums were produced by Harry Vanda and George Young who also worked with AC/DC. They disbanded in 1987, subsequently reforming briefly in 1993 to support Guns N' Roses on an Australian tour. They reassembled again from 1998 and have since released two more studio albums.

Kim Wilde English pop singer

Kim Wilde is an English pop singer, author, DJ and television presenter. She first saw success in 1981 with her debut single "Kids in America", which reached number two in the UK. In 1983, she received the Brit Award for Best British Female solo artist. In 1986, she had a UK number two hit with a reworked version of the Supremes' song "You Keep Me Hangin' On", which also topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1987. Between 1981 and 1996, she had 25 singles reach the Top 50 of the UK singles chart. Her other hits include "Chequered Love" (1981), "You Came" (1988) and "Never Trust a Stranger" (1988). In 2003, she collaborated with Nena on the song "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime", which topped the Dutch charts.

Tanja Dexters Belgian model

Tanja Dexters was crowned Miss Belgium 1998 and represented her country at Miss Universe 1999 and Miss World 1998.

Other artists that covered this song include Hinder, [28] Etta James, [29] Link Wray, [29] Slade, [30] The Cult, [31] INXS, [29] Ozzy Osbourne with Miss Piggy, [32] Bruce Springsteen, [29] Slayer, [33] Blue Öyster Cult, [29] Status Quo, [29] Fanfare Ciocărlia, [34] Krokus, [35] Wilson Pickett, [29] La Renga [36] and Jess Greenberg. [37]

Hinder American rock band

Hinder is an American rock band from Oklahoma that was formed in 2001 by lead singer Austin Winkler, guitarist Joe "Blower" Garvey, and drummer Cody Hanson. The band released four studio albums with Winkler; Extreme Behavior (2005), Take It to the Limit (2008), All American Nightmare (2010) and Welcome to the Freakshow (2012). After Winkler left the band in 2013, they looked for a new lead vocalist, and added Marshal Dutton. They have since released: When The Smoke Clears (2015) and The Reign (2017) with their new vocalist. Their seventh studio album is expected in 2019, with the lead single "Halo". The band was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Etta James American singer

Etta James was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind". She faced a number of personal problems, including heroin addiction, severe physical abuse, and incarceration, before making a musical comeback in the late 1980s with the album Seven Year Itch.

Link Wray American rock and roll guitarist

Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray, Jr. was a Shawnee rock and roll guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who became popular in the late 1950s.


Rose Tattoo version

Chart (1985)Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) [24] 25

Kim Wilde version

Chart (2002)Peak
Germany (Official German Charts) [25] 84
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) [26] 71

Tanja Dexter version

Chart (2002)Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) [27] 21

The song was initially released in 1968, but it was subsequently included in many compilation albums and soundtracks. The first of these was the soundtrack for the movie Easy Rider , released in 1969. Unlike the album or single version, the song on this soundtrack is accompanied by the sounds of motorcycles as an introduction (another Steppenwolf song from their first album, "The Pusher", was also used in the film). When the movie was in production, "Born to Be Wild" was used simply as a placeholder, since Peter Fonda had wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the film.

A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for release together as a single work, but may be collected together as a greatest hits album or box set. If from several performers, there may be a theme, topic, time period, or genre which links the tracks, or they may have been intended for release as a single work—such as a tribute album. When the tracks are by the same recording artist, the album may be referred to as a retrospective album or an anthology.

A soundtrack, also written sound track, can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program, or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film, video, or television presentation; or the physical area of a film that contains the synchronized recorded sound.

<i>Easy Rider</i> (soundtrack) 1969 soundtrack album by Various artists

Easy Rider is the soundtrack to the cult classic 1969 film Easy Rider. The songs that make up the soundtrack were carefully selected to form a "musical commentary" within the film. The album of the soundtrack was released by ABC-Dunhill Records in August 1969. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard album charts in September of that year, and was certified gold in January 1970.

See also

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