The song captured the spirit of the times as folks were involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements, various campus protests, and other social issues.
And the song included these famous lyrics by Mars Bonfire:
"I like smoke and lightnin'
Heavy metal thunder..."
And thus was born the phrase for "heavy metal" music, used to describe the sounds of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and, of course, Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf was an immensely popular group from 1968-72, producing eight gold albums and more than 10 top ten singles including No. 2 "Born To Be Wild," No. 3 "Magic Carpet Ride," and No. 10 "Rock Me."
Two of their songs, "The Pusher" and "Born To Be Wild," were featured in the counter-culture movie, "Easy Rider."
Another underground hit, which drew the ire of the Establishment, was "Don't Step on the Grass, Sam," which criticized marijuana laws. Some of their other hit songs were "Sookie Sookie," "Jupiter Child" and "Hey Lawdy Mama."
Steppenwolf, featuring the bluesy vocals of John Kay, was a power group that influenced artists such as Grand Funk Railroad, Mountain, Bad Company, and Foreigner.
And surprisingly, this great group has been overlooked by Rock and Rock Hall of Fame, as they became eligible in 1993. Twenty-one years. I find that hard to understand. For anyone who grew up in the '60s, they know the impact of Steppenwolf on rock music.
Now, enjoy some Steppenwolf: