Born to Be Wild: A Retrospective

Born to Be Wild: A Retrospective

by Steppenwolf
     
 

Born to Be Wild: A Retrospective was the first attempt at a serious historical overview of Steppenwolf and founder/leader John Kay's career, and considering that the makers limited themselves to two CDs, they did an amazingly good job. A lot of listeners -- even those who were around during the band's heyday -- who think of…  See more details below

Overview

Born to Be Wild: A Retrospective was the first attempt at a serious historical overview of Steppenwolf and founder/leader John Kay's career, and considering that the makers limited themselves to two CDs, they did an amazingly good job. A lot of listeners -- even those who were around during the band's heyday -- who think of Steppenwolf as nothing but successful purveyors of hard rock on the pop charts, may be surprised by what is here. Disc one reaches back to a pair of excellent tracks from the summer 1966 Columbia Records sessions by the Sparrow, the earlier band (featuring John Kay as lead singer) out of which Steppenwolf was formed. The array of Steppenwolf songs includes all of the expected hits and a lot more, which may be more than most casual fans will want. The latter will probably opt for the group's 20th Century Masters single CD, but this set is not to be passed over lightly -- as is quickly revealed on the first disc, Steppenwolf was one of the more prodigiously talented hard rock acts of the late '60s, easily able to go head-to-head with Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, or any other of the top American acts of the era, and come out on top; they knew enough blues (and folk) licks, were good (and bold) enough with their instruments, and had a sufficiently charismatic lead singer in John Kay to generate six strong studio albums in five years -- including three very consistent, challenging, and inventive LPs in 1968 and 1969 -- and a string of hit singles, This set doesn't give enough exposure to the group's somewhat underrated second album, but otherwise it's a very good cross-section of some of their most popular work interspersed with their more ambitious album cuts, their entire output represented except for the two live albums, Early Steppenwolf and Steppenwolf Live. This set was also the first updated digital transfer of the band's classic recordings, and what's here does sound richer and louder than the existing individual CDs from MCA (which, in fairness, were unusually good for mid- to late-'80s releases). The collection includes highlights of John Kay's early-'70s solo sides and the mid-'70s incarnation of the group on Columbia Records, up through the version of the group organized by Kay in the late '80s. There are a few flaws in the package, to be sure, mostly in the annotation -- Todd Everett's essay gets very sketchy about the music (especially their albums) after the first LP, and tend to focus more on personnel changes than on what they were actually releasing (which was still charting), and that's frustrating for anyone genuinely interested in the history of the music. But this is as good a survey of Steppenwolf and John Kay as we're likely to see, and the listening is a pleasure and a serious enlightenment for the uninitiated, and one that even casual fans should take seriously.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/05/1991
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0008811038922
catalogNumber:
10389

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Twisted
  2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
  3. Sookie, Sookie
  4. Everybody's Next One
  5. Born to Be Wild
  6. Your Wall's Too High
  7. Desperation
  8. The Pusher
  9. The Ostrich
  10. Don't Step on the Grass, Sam
  11. Magic Carpet Ride
  12. Rock Me
  13. Jupiter's Child
  14. It's Never Too Late
  15. Monster/Suicide/America
  16. More Over
  17. Hey Lawdy Mama

Disc 2

  1. Snowblind Friend
  2. Who Needs Ya?
  3. Screaming Night Hog
  4. For Ladies Only
  5. Tenderness
  6. Ride With Me
  7. I'm Movin' On
  8. My Sportin' Life
  9. Children of the Night
  10. Straight Shootin' Woman
  11. Caroline (Are You Ready for the Outlaw World)
  12. Live Your Life
  13. Ain't Nothing Like It Used to Be
  14. Born to Be Wild
  15. Rock & Roll Rebels
  16. Give Me News I Can Use
  17. The Wall

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steppenwolf   Primary Artist
Don Ellis   Horn
Tom Scott   Saxophone
John Kay   Dobro,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Slide Guitar
Mars Bonfire   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Lowell George   Slide Guitar
Gloria Jones   Background Vocals
Clydie King   Background Vocals
Michael Palmer   Guitar
George Biondo   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Larry Byrom   Guitar,Background Vocals
Andrew Chapin   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Bobby Cochran   Guitar,Background Vocals
Bill Cooper   Bass
Jerry Edmonton   Drums,Background Vocals
Venetta Fields   Background Vocals
Larry Knechtel   Organ,Piano
Russ Kunkel   Conga,Drums
Gary Link   Bass
Sherlie Mathews   Background Vocals
Goldy McJohn   Organ,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Gabriel Mekler   Piano
Michael Monarch   Guitar,Background Vocals
Richard Podolor   Guitar,Sitar
Gil Rathel   Horn
Rocket Ritchotte   Guitar,Background Vocals
John Rosenberg   Horn
Jack Ryland   Bass
Nick St. Nicholas   Bass,Background Vocals
Michael Wilk   Organ,Bass,Keyboards
Whitey Glan   Drums
Ron Hurst   Drums
Steven Palmer   Drums
Sam Falzone   Horn
Rushton Moreve   Bass,Background Vocals
Hugh O'Sullivan   Keyboards
Kent Henry   Guitar

Technical Credits

John Kay   Composer,Producer
Morgan Cavett   Producer
Todd Everett   Liner Notes
Andy McKaie   Producer
Gabriel Mekler   Producer
Richard Podolor   Producer
Rocket Ritchotte   Producer
Nick St. Nicholas   Composer
Steppenwolf   Producer
Michael Wilk   Programming,Producer
Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Composer
Amos Easton   Composer
Vartan   Art Direction
Robert Stoughton   Digital Compilation
Paul Harlyn   Composer

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