Steppenwolf was an American hard-rock band that released six albums and two live sets on ABC/Dunhill between 1968 and 1971, followed by a trio of 1974–76 titles on Epic. They are best known for the FM rock staples “Born to Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride.”

Members: John Kay (lead vocals, guitar), Jerry Edmonton [aka Jerry McCrohan] (drums, percussion, vocals, 1967-77), Goldy McJohn (keyboards, 1967-74), Michael Monarch (guitar, 1967-69), Rushton Moreve (bass, 1967-69), Nick St. Nicholas (bass, 1969-70), Larry Byrom (guitar, 1969-71), George Biondo (bass, vocals, 1970-77), Kent Henry (guitar, 1971-72), Bobby Cochran (guitar, vocals, 1974-77), Andy Chapin (keyboards, 1975), Wayne Cook (keyboards, 1976-77), Tony Flynn (guitar, 1977-80), Brett Tuggle (keyboards, 1981), Michael Wilk (keyboards, bass, programming, 1982-present), Michael Palmer (guitar, 1981-84), Steve Palmer (drums, 1981-84), Chad Peery (bass, 1981), Welton Gite (bass, 1982), Gary Link (bass, 1984)

Steppenwolf formed in late 1967 in Los Angeles from remnants of The Sparrows, a Canadian rock band that included singer–guitarist John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton.

The Sparrows emerged in 1964 in Oshawa as one of Ontario’s answers to the British Invasion. English expat singer Dave Marden, who went by the stagename Jack London, assembled the first Sparrows lineup with Jerry and his guitarist brother Dennis Edmonton. As Jack London & the Sparrows, the group scored two Top 10 hits on the Canadian singles chart: “If You Don’t Want My Love” (No. 3, 1964) and “Our Love Has Passed” (No. 7, 1965). London had them affect English accents to appear ‘British’ before the press; a ruse that alienated early bassist Bruce Palmer, who cleared for Nick St. Nicholas (Palmer later surfaced in Buffalo Springfield). Aggrieved by his autocratic leadership and lion’s take of group royalties, The Sparrows broke from London in late 1965 and hired Kay as their singer and rhythm guitarist.

Kay (b. Joachim Fritz Krauledat; April 12, 1944) was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany, to a recently widowed mother, who fled with her son from the war-torn region. In 1949, they landed in British-occupied Hanover, where young Joachim first heard rock ‘n’ roll music. In 1958, his family moved to Toronto, where he anglicized his name for the locals.

The Kay-led Sparrow (now singular) cut one 1966 Columbia single: the Edmonton brothers’ “Green Bottle Lover” backed with the Dennis–Nicholas co-write “Down Goes Your Love Life,” both fuzz-laden rock raveups. When keyboardist Art Ayre departed to the Moe Koffman Quartet, Kay hired classically trained pianist–organist John Raymond Goadsby, who Kay nicknamed “Goldy,” which Goadsby accepted with the surname McJohn.

In 1967, Sparrow relocated to Los Angeles, where Nicholas jumped ship to psych-rockers T.I.M.E., which issued two 1968–69 albums on Liberty. Meanwhile, Dennis adopted the name Mars Bonfire and departed for a solo career. The remaining band — Kay, Goldy, and Jerry Edmonton — placed notices at Hollywood record stores that netted bassist Rushton Moreve and teenage guitarist Michael Monarch. The new lineup named itself Steppenwolf after the 1929 psychological novel by German–Swiss author Hermann Hesse. They signed with ABC–Dunhill and debuted with the October 1967 single “A Girl I Knew.”


  • Steppenwolf (1968)
  • The Second (1968)
  • At Your Birthday Party (1969)
  • Monster (1969)
  • Early Steppenwolf (1969, live 1967)
  • Steppenwolf Live (1970)
  • Steppenwolf 7 (1970)
  • For Ladies Only (1971)
  • Slow Flux (1974)
  • Hour of the Wolf (1975)
  • Skullduggery (1976)
  • Wolftracks (1982 • John Kay & Steppenwolf)
  • Paradox (1984 • John Kay & Steppenwolf)
  • Rock & Roll Rebels (1987 • John Kay & Steppenwolf)
  • Rise & Shine (1990 • John Kay & Steppenwolf)


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