Thursday, May 6, 2021

fast: steppenwolf


purchase [ Steppenwolf: The Second ]

I'm of the age where Steppenwolf's <Born To Be Wild> was a head-banging hit (before "head-banging" was a thing) This would have been '68 or '69. <Born to Be Wild> came out on their 2nd album in late '68, so it would have been '69 for me, considering the inter-continental  delay in the pre-Internet world (we did have radio wave technology, so ... maybe '68)

Original band members brothers Dennis and Jerry were members of a Canadian band called The Sparrows (along with Bruce Palmer - later of Buffalo Springfield) who, along with John Cay, Goldy McJohn also of the Sparrows, then formed Steppenwolf. The brothers changed their surname to Edmonton, and it is Jerry - the drummer- who is credited with writing <Born To Be Wild> as well as the song behind this post: <Faster Than The Speed of Life>. Speed of light?

As for the band name: Steppenwolf ... there's an air of roughness embedded in the name itself (that would be the wolf part) ... and Steppen is ...? Fast? As in stepping? (probably not) , but the word is related to the English word step/walk.  

Then, there's the whole Hermann Hesse "craze" of the late '60s, where every school in the US was requiring its student to read Hesse's Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. I have to believe that the band could not not (=must) have been influenced to some degree by this '60s Hesse meme (and ... meme was not a word then? yes/no was not: introduced to English in 1976)

Steppenwolf mostly utilized the simplistic 3-chord musical progression and made the most of it: I-IV-V, in musical literature - actually the basics of much of rock, but essential to their formula for the short time they were at the top of the charts. But top they were: Born To Be WIld was .... Faster Than the Speed Of Life was not... and while both are fairly fast, tempo-wise, only the latter qualifies for our post this time.

But you should still listen to Born to Be Wild once again.

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