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"Born to Be Wild"
Born to-be wild-steppenwolf-45.jpg
Single by Steppenwolf
from the album Steppenwolf
B-side "Everybody's Next One"
Released June 1968
Genre
Length
  • 3:30
  • 3:02 (7-inch)
Label
Songwriter(s) Mars Bonfire
Producer(s) Gabriel Mekler
Steppenwolf singles chronology
"A Girl I Knew"
(1967)
"Born to Be Wild"
(1968)
"The Pusher"
(1968)

"Born to Be Wild" is a song written by Mars Bonfire and first performed by the band Steppenwolf. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is most notably featured in the 1969 film Easy Rider. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style but rather a motorcycle).

Composition

"Born to Be Wild" was written by Mars Bonfire as a ballad. Bonfire was previously a member of the Sparrows, the predecessor band to Steppenwolf, and his brother was Steppenwolf's drummer. Although he initially offered the song to other bands — The Human Expression, for one — "Born to Be Wild" was first recorded by Steppenwolf in a sped-up and rearranged version that AllMusic's Hal Horowitz described as "a roaring anthem of turbo-charged riff rock" and "a timeless radio classic as well as a slice of '60s revolt that at once defines Steppenwolf's sound and provided them with their shot at AM immortality."

Charts

Year-end charts

Chart (1968) Rank
Canada (RPM Top Singles) 14
US Billboard Hot 100 31

Cover versions

"Born to Be Wild"
Born to be Wilde Kim Wilde.jpg
Single by Kim Wilde
B-side "All About Me"
Released 2002
Length 3:23 (Radio Mix)
Label Edel
Songwriter(s) Mars Bonfire
Producer(s) Ricki Wilde
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"Loved"
(2001)
"Born to Be Wild"
(2002)
"Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime"
(2003)

In 1985, the song was covered by Australian band Rose Tattoo. Their version peaked at No. 25 in Australia. In 2002, it was covered by Kim Wilde and released as a non-album single. Her cover reached No. 84 in Germany and No. 71 in Switzerland. Tanja Dexters also covered the song in 2002. Her version peaked at No. 21 in Belgium.

Other artists that covered this song include Hinder, Etta James, Link Wray, Slade, The Cult, INXS, Ozzy Osbourne with Miss Piggy, Bruce Springsteen, Slayer, Blue Öyster Cult, Status Quo, Fanfare Ciocărlia, Krokus, Wilson Pickett, La Renga and Jess Greenberg.

Charts

Rose Tattoo version

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report) 25

Kim Wilde version

Chart (2002) Peak
position
Germany (Official German Charts) 84
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 71

Tanja Dexter version

Chart (2002) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 21
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