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Steppenwolf: All Time Greatest Hits

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(41 Reviews)

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  • With all due respect to my fellow lovers of Steppenwolf, reviewers like Labrodorman focus too much on John Kay. Don’t get me wrong, Joaquim Krauledat was an absolutely incredible interpreter of song (and masterful songwriter in his own right), but he was not the only songwriter, nor was he the driving force that made the band’s music so deep AND dancable. To begin with, Hoyt Axton wrote “Snowblind” and “The Pusher,” not John Kay. Mars Bonfire wrote “Born to Be Wild,” “Ride with Me,” and “Tenderness.” John Kay had CO-writing credits on a number of songs, including “It’s Never Too Late,” “Hey Lawdy Mama,” “Move Over,” “Who Needs Ya,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Jupiter’s Child,” “For Ladies Only,” and “Monster.” The few songs Kay wrote solo include “Rock Me,” and “Screeming Night Hog.” (All of the above info is right there on the CD’s label for all to read.) My point is not to disagree with anyone about the how great Steppenwolf was, but rather that it was a BAND, not a man. In fact, two words come immediately to mind: Jerry Edmonton. He was an exceptional drummer (born Jerry McCrohan, brother of Dennis “Mars Bonfire” McCrohan, he died in a 1993 car accident — RIP), who, in addition to co-writing “Hey Lawdy Mama” and “Monster,” provided one of the best dance beats of any rock drummer around. In fact, I’ve recently come to believe that Steppenwolf, with all its “hard rock” credentials (including the coining of “heavy metal” as a music term), might best be described a “rockin’ soul” band. And a lot of that soul comes from John Kay’s vocal style, but also from Goldie McJohn (John Goadsby)’s keyboards (aside from all his well-noted organ work throughout, his electric piano on “The Pusher” is truly sublime, and you can’t help but twist your torso on listening). The band had a lot of bass players and guitarists (with Klaus Karl “Nick St. Nicholas” Kassbaum and Larry Byrom being their most notable, respectively), but they managed to retain a consistent, solid sound throughout their important years (68-72). Steppenwolf was my favorite band in 6th grade in 1971, and through the years I have returned to them over and over again, repeatedly blown-away by just how deep-down good they were. I am so glad to read all these glowing reviews by others of my ilk, but don’t forget that it was John Kay who joined Jerry Edmonton’s band, The Sparrows, and together they co-founded Steppenwolf (using the name suggested by their producer, Gabriel Mekler). My recommendations: the “Greatest Hits” CD, and “Live,” which together showcase the band’s tight studio work with their scorching live performances.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • For most rock fans, this album contains all the Steppenwolf they’ll ever need to here. Though often thought of as a mere “biker band” because of the classic hit “Born to Be Wild,” Steppenwolf had a lot more going for them than the typical biker politics. In fact, the group demonstrates their leftist credentials on the epic anti-war song “Monster,” and recorded one of rock’s first anti-drug rants with “The Pusher.” Steppenwolf could write a great hook as on the hit “Magic Carpet Ride,” or a great ballad such as “Tenderness.” If you can get past the somewhat dated late 60s sound, this is a complete album of fine classic rock material.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • There is a reason that the sixties rock group Steppenwolf still sells so strongly some thirty years after their arrival on the sixties rock scenes with a quick succession of powerful heavy rock hits like “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Born To Be Wild”. I’ve always admired lead vocalist John Kay’s singing style, songwriting and lyrical talents, and his outspoken personal warnings against the dangers of drug excess with songs like “The Pusher” and “Snowblind Friend”. He was anti-drug when it was anything but fashionable to so cautious and careful. With concept albums like the fabled “Monster” or discursive excursions into the dark side of rock culture with “The Pusher’, Kay always had something provocative and thoughtful to say. And Kay also knew his way around a melody, and whether he was making insightful social commentary in a number of songs like “Monster” and “Draft Resister” or just plain old wailing in terrific, edgy songs like “Never Too Late (To Start All Over Again)” or “Twenty Eight”, he used the combination of his lovely lyrics, driving melodies, and wild rock improvisation to create a whole rafter of memorable, insightful and very appealing rock songs. Most of them are here, and those that aren’t you can find in their other albums. Steppenwolf quickly earned the undying support and admiration of their original fans, and are finding new listeners through terrific compilation albums like this must-own collection of their hits. Enjoy

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Whether you see this as a single disc version of 1991’s Born To Be Wild/A Retrospective or a slightly expanded version of 1973’s 16 Greatest Hits, it’s all the Steppenwolf the average fan will need. In addition to including all of their Top 40 hits, you also get all of their lesser hits and key album tracks like “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam,” “The Pusher,” “Snowblind Friend” and “For Ladies Only.”One of the first concerts I ever saw was during my freshman year in college in 1970 when Steppenwolf was touring in support of Monster. [I still have my ticket stub--four bucks!] It was an amazing show. John Kay owned the stage. Hearing these songs again brings back a flood of memories and they still “get your motor runnin’” thirty years later. If you’re looking to upgrade your old copy of 16 Greatest Hits, this adds “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam,” “Straight Shootin’ Woman” (the only track on this collection recorded after the release of 1971’s For Ladies Only) and the complete 9-minute medley “Monster/Suicide/America”–Greatest Hits included only “Monster.” The band saw a lot of personnel changes over the years, but the music was always of consistently high quality. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    Posted on March 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is a great collection of 18 songs by Steppenwolf. It includes all of the ones on the now deleted “16 Greatest Hits” and I think it includes all of the songs on “20th Century Masters”, so this is a better collection than either of those. This includes the unedited vewrsions of “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Monster”. One flaw – I would have made room for “Power Play”, since I prefer it to several of the songs that are included.I can’t think of any classic rock that needed to be remastered more than the Steppenwolf tracks, nor can I think of a remastering job that was better than this. The tracks sound fabulous! The bass is great and everything is clear. The vocals don’t seem loud enough, but that must be how the original tapes are.

    Posted on March 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now