Born to Be Wild
|"Born to Be Wild"|
|Single by Steppenwolf|
|from the album Steppenwolf|
|B-side||"Everybody's Next One"|
|Genre||Hard rock, Proto-metal|
RCA / #D-4138
"Born to Be Wild" is a rock song written by Mars Bonfire. It is often used in popular 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). However, the claim may be false as bands such as Blue Cheer had recorded songs with a heavier rock sound while "Born to Be Wild" incorporated elements of classic rock music.
"Born to Be Wild" was written by Mars Bonfire (who also wrote several other songs for Steppenwolf) as a slow 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 the All Music Guide'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 debut album 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.
Cultural references 
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 and Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the movie.
Other movies that have used the Steppenwolf version of Born to Be Wild include Problem Child, Coming Home, One Crazy Summer, The Serial, Opportunity Knocks, Dr. Dolittle 2, Speechless, Armed and Dangerous, Mr Bean's Holiday, Wild America, and many others.
"Born to Be Wild" has been used in several movies, trailers, TV shows and advertisings, including:
- The Miami Vice episode "The Great McCarthy"
- The Married... with Children episode "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?"
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Toad Warriors"
- Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie (some TV spots only)
- A Bug's Life (TV spots only)
- Rugrats Go Wild
- Six Feet Under
- Dudley Do-Right
- The NeverEnding Story III (parody)
- Barnyard (some advertisements only)
- Commercial for the 2007 Hess Monster Truck
- Van Pires: The Next Generation (Theme Song)
- FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman
- Herbie: Fully Loaded
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield (2011 TV commercial)
- Rise of the Guardians (teaser trailer)
- Supernatural (Season 7 finale)
- Rock n' Roll Racing, a Sega Mega Drive game from 1993.
- Recess: School's Out
- Stuart Little 2 (trailer and TV spots only)
- Easy Rider
Cover versions 
|"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 2007–08
|Genre||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Hinder singles chronology|
In 2002, the song was covered by Kim Wilde and released as a non-album single. It reached No. 84 in Germany and No. 71 in Switzerland. In 2007, it was covered by Hinder on the Deluxe Edition of the album Extreme Behavior, and released as a single.
Other artists that covered this song include Etta James, Adam Lambert, Link Wray, The Mooney Suzuki, Slade, Rose Tattoo, Riot, The Cult, INXS, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Tomoyasu Hotei, Raven with Udo Dirkschneider, Ozzy Osbourne and Miss Piggy, Slayer, X Japan, Blue Öyster Cult, Status Quo, Kirka, Fanfare Ciocărlia, Lizzy Borden, Tanja Dexters, The Residents, Hampton String Quartet, Krokus, Wilson Pickett, Kuroyume, Hinder, Juliet Simms with Cee Lo Green, and Puppet Cream.
- http://www.prefixmag.com/news/vh1s-100-greatest-hard-rock-songs-list-only-slight/24504/ 53 Steppenwolf - "Born To Be Wild"
- http://www.allmusic.com/album/hit-parader-salutes-20-years-of-metal-mw0000627032 "It starts off alright with some fine proto-metal cuts from Steppenwolf (the mighty "Born to Be Wild") and Blue Cheer ("Summertime Blues")"
- http://books.google.fr/books?id=UH_EOUR4tmkC&pg=PT634&lpg=PT634&dq=%22steppenwolf%22+%22born+to+be+wild%22+%22proto-metal%22&source=bl&ots=5VzUyu6Oel&sig=zcRYDI5vmJDvbfL5jUYEcNdaaMA&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=7_WdUYuVJfOT0QX7jIGYCA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwADgU "unlike Steppenwolf's proto-metal “Born to Be Wild,” heard over the opening credits of Easy Rider, which made U.S. No. 2 for three weeks"
- Robert Walser, Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (1993)
- Hal Horowitz. "Born To Be Wild". All Music Guide.
- Liner notes, The Human Expression: Love at Psychedelic Velocity, Collectables Records (1994).
- "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 7, 2009.
- "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- "Kim Wilde – Born To Be Wild – hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch. Retrieved January 15, 2012.