Most popular in the late sixties to the early seventies, the Canadian-American band Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” is a infamous song. It has been described as the first ever heavy metal song, and the in the second verse the lyric “heavy metal thunder” marks the first time the term “heavy metal” was used in music.
Written by Mars Bonfire as a ballad, (Bonfire was originally a member of The Sparrows, and his brother was the Steppenwolf’s drummer). The track ended up being recorded as a very upbeat and heavy song, and became even more famous as it was chosen as the theme tune of the 1969 road movie: “Easy Rider”. The track essentially talks about riding on the open road and the freedom that comes with it, searching for adventure and embracing nature.
While it does not have a music video, a scene from Easy Rider film was uploaded with the track playing and has over 41 million views since its upload by a user on Youtube eleven years ago. In conjunction with the meaning of the song, it is two bikers driving along the highway. The track has been ranked #129 on Rolling Stone’s magazine “500 Greatest Songs of All Time List”. It has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been named the 53rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
Release Date: 1968
Songwriter/s: Mars Bonfire
Producer/s: Gabriel Mekler
Label/s: Dunhill, RCA
Chart Rankings: Upon its release, it reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #1 in Canada, #20 in Germany, #16 in Belgium, #30 in the UK, #32 in the Netherlands and #20 in Austria.