Mars Bonfire

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Mars Bonfire
Birth nameDennis Eugene McCrohan
Also known asDennis Edmonton
Born (1943-04-21) 21 April 1943 (age 76)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instruments guitar
Associated acts Steppenwolf, The Sparrows

Dennis Edmonton (born Dennis Eugene McCrohan, 21 April 1943), 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. [1]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Born to Be Wild 1968 song written by Mars Bonfire

"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.

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.



Born Dennis Eugene McCrohan, he and his brother Jerry changed their surnames to Edmonton in the early 1960s. The brothers were part of a band called The Sparrows which later evolved into Steppenwolf. Another member of The Sparrows was Bruce Palmer, who later became a member of Buffalo Springfield.

Jerry Edmonton Canadian rock drummer

Gerald Michael Edmonton was the drummer for the rock band Steppenwolf.

The Sparrows, also known as Jack London and the Sparrows from 1964 to 1965, 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.

Bruce Palmer was a Canadian musician best known as the bassist in the seminal American/Canadian folk rock band Buffalo Springfield, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Bonfire embarked on a solo career while his brother Jerry became the drummer for Steppenwolf. After leaving the band, he often collaborated with Kim Fowley, co-writing and recording on the recordings of Fowley and artists associated with Fowley.

Solo (music) musical piece or part of musical piece performed by a single musician

In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung featuring a single performer, who may be performing completely alone or supported by an accompanying instrument such as a piano or organ, a continuo group, or the rest of a choir, orchestra, band, or other ensemble. Performing a solo is "to solo", and the performer is known as a soloist.

Kim Fowley American musician

Kim Vincent Fowley was an American record producer, singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult pop rock singles in the 1960s, and for managing the Runaways in the 1970s. He has been described as "one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll," as well as "a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream."

On 22 June 2015, Bonfire was awarded the Cultural Impact Award by SOCAN at the 2015 SOCAN Awards in Toronto for the song "Born to be Wild". [2]

Personal life

Bonfire was a prolific hiker in Southern California for many years. He has completed the Hundred Peaks Section list 25 times. [3] He was noted by the Los Angeles Times for his "affability and flexibility" as a hike leader. [4]

Southern California Place in California, United States

Southern California is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises California's southernmost counties, and is the second most populous urban agglomeration in the United States. The region is traditionally described as eight counties, based on demographics and economic ties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The more extensive 10-county definition, which includes Kern and San Luis Obispo counties, is also used and is based on historical political divisions.

The Hundred Peaks Section (HPS) is a mountaineering society within the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club that serves to provide mountaineering activities for Sierra Club members in the southern Sierra Nevada, the Transverse Ranges, and the Peninsular Ranges, and to honor mountaineers who have summited peaks in those mountain ranges.

<i>Los Angeles Times</i> Daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper which has been published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It has the fourth-largest circulation among United States newspapers, and is the largest U.S. newspaper not headquartered on the East Coast. The paper is known for its coverage of issues particularly salient to the U.S. West Coast, such as immigration trends and natural disasters. It has won more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of these and other issues. As of June 18, 2018, ownership of the paper is controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong, and the executive editor is Norman Pearlstine.

He currently resides in western Nevada with his wife.


Songs by Mars Bonfire recorded by Steppenwolf include:

Sound recording and reproduction recording of sound and playing it back

Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical, mechanical, electronic, or digital inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording.


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  1. "Mars Bonfire Biography". Allmusic . Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  3. Twenty-Fifth List Completion - Hundred Peaks Section
  4. Reynolds, Christopher (28 September 2004). "Been There. Done That. Once Again". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Bonfire, Mars (1968). "Mars Bonfire". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  6. Bonfire, Mars (1969). "Faster Than the Speed of Life". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2013.