John Kay was born in Germany and as a teenager immigrated with his family to Toronto in 1958. In 1967, he and Dennis Edmonton recruited drummer Jerry Edmonton, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, 17-year-old guitar prodigy Michael Monarch and bassist Rushton Moreve. They took the name Steppenwolf after Hermann Hesse's mystical novel of the same name.
One of the first hard rock bands to blast its way out of Canada and onto the international music scene, Steppenwolf was at the leading edge of the rebellious and psychedelic late-1960s. Signature songs like Born to be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride and Rock Me, provided a voice to a generation raised on "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll".
In what surely must seem like a miracle by the standards of the 21st century, Steppenwolf cut its first album in 1968 in a mere four days. Kay would later observe, "our philosophy was 'Hit 'em hard, make your point and move on.'" The album spawned the rock anthem Born to be Wild, which, along with their hard-edged rendition of The Pusher, highlighted the sound track of Easy Rider one of the most influential films of the 1960s.The band officially split up in 1972. But throughout that decade it frequently re-grouped, sometimes with Kay and other founding members, sometimes not. In 1980, the band was re-launched as John Kay and Steppenwolf. Far from the nostalgia act that many of their contemporaries became, the group has released seven new albums and built a new generation of fans.
Steppenwolf's worldwide record sales have exceeded 25-million units. Its songs have been licensed for use in approximately 50 motion pictures and an even greater number of television programs. These living legends are truly worthy of their Star on Canada's Walk of Fame.