John Kay (musician)
Kay performing at at Lillehammer Rock Weekend, in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway, 26 May 2007
|Birth name||Joachim Fritz Krauledat|
12 April 1944 |
Tilsit, then Germany today Russia
|Origin||Waterloo, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Rock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, folk|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, harmonica|
|Labels||Dunhill, Mums, Epic, MCA, Mercury, Attic, Qwil, I.R.S., K-tel, Winter Harvest, CMC International, Cannonball, Rainman|
|Associated acts||The Sparrows, Steppenwolf, The John Kay Band,|
John Kay (born Joachim Fritz Krauledat, 12 April 1944, in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany, now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia) is a German-Canadian-American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist known as the frontman of Steppenwolf.
In the Evacuation of East Prussia in early 1945, in harsh winter conditions, his mother first had to flee with the baby boy from the advancing Soviet troops. In 1948, the two also fled from Arnstadt in the East German Soviet occupation zone to resettle in Hanover, West Germany (as recounted in his song "Renegade" on the album Steppenwolf 7). Located in the British occupation zone, teen aged Joachim, suffering from eyesight problems, listened to music broadcast by the British Forces Broadcasting Service before his family moved to Canada in 1958.
Kay joined a blues rock and folk music group known as The Sparrows in 1965, which had moderate success in Canada before moving to California in the USA, augmenting its line-up and changing its name to Steppenwolf in 1967. With music that pioneered hard rock and heavy metal, Kay's Steppenwolf had international success with songs such as "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride", "Monster", "The Pusher", and "Rock Me". This was multiplied by the use of "Born to Be Wild" and "The Pusher" in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.
Kay recorded both as a solo artist and with Steppenwolf during the late 1970s, and wrapped up Steppenwolf's 40th year of touring with what was to be a final gig in October 2007. However, Kay and Steppenwolf appeared July 24, 2010, at the three-day HullabaLOU music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
Awards and recognition
In 2004, although never becoming a Canadian citizen, Kay was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in recognition of the beginning of his musical career in Toronto. Kay was present at the induction ceremony in Toronto, and reiterated his strong affection for Canada.
Kay suffers from increased sensitivity to light, so he wears sunglasses regardless of time of day, and during his concerts. In addition, he was born with a congenital disorder called achromatopsia; complete color blindness; a defect of the cone cells in the eyes which causes him to see in black and white, and resulted in qualifying him as being legally blind. Despite this condition, he is an avid videographer.
Studio albums (Steppenwolf and solo)
|1969||At Your Birthday Party||12||7|
|1971||For Ladies Only||—||54|
|1972||Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes (Solo debut)||50||113|
|1973||My Sportin' Life (2nd Solo album)||—||200|
|1975||Hour of the Wolf||—||155|
|1978||All in Good Time (3rd solo album)||—||—|
|1987||Rock & Roll Rebels||—||171|
|1990||Rise and Shine||—||—|
|1996||Feed the Fire (4th solo album)||—||—|
|1997||The Lost Heritage Tapes (5th solo album)||—||—|
|2001||Heretics and Privateers (6th solo album)||—||—|
|2004||Live in Louisville||—||—|
|2006||Live in London||—||—|
|CAN||CAN AC||CAN Country||US|
|1972||"I'm Movin' On"||45||—||—||52||Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes|
|1973||"Moonshine (Friend of Mine)"||26||19||44||105||My Sportin' Life|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Kay.|
- Edwardson, Ryan. Canuck Rock: A History of Canadian Popular Music. University of Toronto Press, 2009. Pg.268
- Prato, Greg. "Biography: John Kay". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "HullabaLOU Line-up". Churchill Downs Entertainment Group. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "John Kay". Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2010-11-03.[dead link]
- John Kay and Steppenwolf Interview on the Grabow agency website, retrieved May 3rd 2011
- Steppenwolf's official website
- Kay's Biography
- John Kay & Company - The Lost Heritage Tapes (CD 1997; recorded 1976, but previously unreleased)
- (German) Matthias Greffrath, ZEITmagazin LEBEN, Nr. 8, 14.02.2008 (report from a childhood friend)