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Steppenwolf Live

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Album Review

The title says it all. Recorded at various concerts during early 1970, Steppenwolf includes all their hits for mass consumption. Stretched out versions of "Born to Be Wild," "The Pusher" and a ten-minute "Monster" satisfied many a fan. Heavy indeed!

Customer Reviews

...into and out of the dumpster

All I listened to my senior year in high school was Steppenwolf. That continued for quite a long time although some other bands made it into the collection (and out again). First husband finally said, "There's more to life than a 20 minute drum solo!" and threw the whole collection in the dumpster behind married students' housing a CU Boulder in 1974. I still have the album, but the husband is long gone. I'm NOT a classic rock freak (that was then this is now) this album still has it; it's rough and clear and beautiful.

Steppenwolf Live

The definitive live recording of Steppenwolf’s catalog is this 1970 set. The top ten album includes three of their best known songs, as well as a healthy dose of Kay’s best politically oriented material. There are also three studio recordings, including the top forty single, “Hey Lawdy Mama”. At the time the set was recorded, Steppenwolf was one of America’s top touring bands. They had solidified their live sound with the additions of guitarist Larry Byrom and Nick St. Nicholas, who had played in Sparrow. The liner notes indicate that the record was recorded at various concerts, but Kay confirms in his web site that it was actually taped at a single show in Santa Monica, CA. The album jacket also incorrectly states that “Hey Lawdy Mama”, “Corrina Corrina”, and “Twisted” are live recordings. Kay also confirms that this is not the case, the three songs were recorded in the studio and audience applause was added after the fact. Despite Dunhill’s seeming inability to get the facts straight, this is fine representation of Steppenwolf in their prime. The trio of “Magic Carpet Ride”, “The Pusher”, and “Born To Be Wild” is everything rock is supposed to be. The organ dominated, rhythmically infectious “Magic Carpet Ride” may be one of the era’s best psychedelic songs. “The Pusher” hark ens back to their Sparrow days. It features a hard rock blues riff, great guitar work from Byrom, and some of Kay’s most passionate vocals. And, "Born To Be Wild" is rock’s ultimate power anthem. In addition to the three blockbusters, there are good moments during the rest of the set. “Don’t Step On The Grass Sam” has a great riff, alternating vocals by Kay and Byrom, and clever lyrics that clearly state where Kay stands on the marijuana issue. “Tighten Up Your Wig” is the most blues oriented song on the album, with harmonica and tightly synchronized organ, guitar, and bass work. “Sooki, Sooki” shows the pop side of the band. The group’s opus, “Monster”, is anchored by Byrom’s guitar work and features Kay at his most passionate best. For the most part, the playing is solid and Kay proves to be a dynamic, powerful lead singer. Clearly, when they were at their best, Steppenwolf was one of the sixties premier live bands. They were also one of the most fascinating, something many of us have forgotten.

One of the best live albums ever

Steppenwolf is a band that many people of my age group (I'm 26) use as a punchline to jokes about what used to be rebellious and is now status quo. Of course, most of them think that their Top 40 fad of the week will last at least as long as Steppenwolf. I absolutely love the band, and their version of "Sookie, Sookie" is one of my favorite all time songs. Despite what the American Idol age group thinks of these guys, they are amazing. This is one of my favorite live albums of anyone in any genre, and it still sounds as fresh and relevant today as it does in my romanticized mental view of what it must have been like in 1970, a full twelve years before I was born. Thirty-eight years after this recording was released, much of the subject matter can be extrapolated and still be relevant today. And the music itself is timeless. Anyone who likes what is now catagorized "classic rock" should definitely pick up this underrated gem.


Formed: 1967 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Led by John Kay (born Joachim Krauledat, April 12, 1944), Steppenwolf's blazing biker anthem "Born to Be Wild" roared out of speakers everywhere in the fiery summer of 1968, John Kay's threatening rasp sounding a mesmerizing call to arms to the counterculture movement rapidly sprouting up nationwide. German immigrant Kay got his professional start in a bluesy Toronto band called Sparrow, recording for Columbia in 1966. After Sparrow disbanded, Kay relocated to the West Coast and formed Steppenwolf,...
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