Born to Be Wild
|"Born to Be Wild"|
|Single by Steppenwolf|
|from the album Steppenwolf|
|B-side||"Everybody's Next One"|
RCA / #D-4138
|Steppenwolf singles chronology|
"Born to Be Wild" is a song first performed by the band Steppenwolf, written by Mars Bonfire. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. 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).
"Born to Be Wild" was written by Mars Bonfire (who also wrote several other songs for Steppenwolf) as a ballad. Writer 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 in 1967 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."
Release and reception
"Born to Be Wild" was the band's third single off their 1968 debut album Steppenwolf and became their most successful single, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Born to Be Wild" at No. 129 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. In 2009, it was named the 53rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
"Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan
|Canadian CHUM number-one single
July 15, 1968 (1 week)
"Hello, I Love You" by The Doors
"People Got to Be Free" by The Rascals
|Canadian RPM number-one single
September 2, 1968 (1 week)
"Light My Fire" by José Feliciano
The song was initially released in 1968, but it was subsequently included in many compilation albums and soundtracks. The first of these was the soundtrack for the movie Easy Rider, released in 1969. Unlike the album or single version, the song on this soundtrack is accompanied by the sounds of motorcycles as an introduction (another Steppenwolf song from their first album, "The Pusher", was also used in the film). When the movie was in production, "Born to Be Wild" was used simply as a placeholder, since Peter Fonda had wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the movie.
Steppenwolf's version of "Born to Be Wild" has been used in several movies, trailers, TV shows and commercials, including:
- Easy Rider (1969)
- Coming Home (1978)
- The Serial (1980)
- The Miami Vice episode "The Great McCarthy" (1984–1985)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "New, Improved Simon" (1984)
- Lost in America (1985)
- One Crazy Summer (1986)
- Armed and Dangerous (1986)
- The Married... with Children episode "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" (1987)
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (1989–1991) episode "Toad Warriors"
- Opportunity Knocks (1990)
- Problem Child (1990)
- Rock n' Roll Racing, a Sega Mega Drive game from 1993.
- Speechless (1994)
- The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1994) (parody)
- Duke Nukem 3D (1996) (karaoke)
- Wild America (1997)
- Van-Pires: The Next Generation (1997–1998) (theme song)
- Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie (1998) (some TV spots only)
- A Bug's Life (TV spots only) (1998)
- Dudley Do-Right (1999)
- Recess: School's Out (2001)
- Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
- Six Feet Under (2001–2005)
- Stuart Little 2 (2002) (trailer and TV spots only)
- Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
- Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
- Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (2006–2010)
- Barnyard (2006) (some advertisements only)
- Borat (2006)
- Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)
- Commercial for the 2007 Hess Monster Truck
- Alpha and Omega (2010) (trailer only)
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield (2011 TV commercial)
- Supernatural (2005–) (season 7 finale in 2011)
- Rise of the Guardians (2012) (teaser trailer)
- Skylanders: Swap Force (2013 video game) Character features catchphrase "Burn to Be Wild," a spinoff of "Born to Be Wild."
- Home Improvement (1991–1999) Season 1 episode 2.
|"Born to Be Wild"|
|Single by Kim Wilde|
|B-side||"All About Me"|
|Released||October 14, 2002|
|Length||3:23 (Radio Mix)|
|Kim Wilde singles chronology|
|"Born to Be Wild"|
|Single by Hinder|
|from the album Extreme Behavior (re-release)
Was the NASCAR on TNT theme song from 2007–2008
|Hinder singles chronology|
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. It 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 Etta James, Adam Lambert, Green Jellÿ, Link Wray, The Mooney Suzuki, Slade, Riot, The Cult, INXS, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Tomoyasu Hotei, Raven with Udo Dirkschneider, Ozzy Osbourne and Miss Piggy, Bruce Springsteen, Slayer, X Japan, Blue Öyster Cult, Status Quo, Kirka, Fanfare Ciocărlia, Lizzy Borden, The Residents, Hampton String Quartet, Krokus, Wilson Pickett and La Renga
Tanja Dexter version