Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf song)
|"Magic Carpet Ride"|
|Single by Steppenwolf|
|from the album The Second|
|Steppenwolf singles chronology|
|"Magic Carpet Ride" on YouTube|
"Magic Carpet Ride" is a rock song written by John Kay and Rushton Moreve from the Canadian-American hard rock band Steppenwolf. The song was initially released in 1968 on the album The Second. It was the lead single from that album, peaking at number three in the US, and staying in the charts for 16 weeks, longer than any other Steppenwolf song.
The 45 rpm version is not only an edit of the album version, but contains a different vocal take on the first verse. Despite the single's popularity, the album version enjoyed heavy airplay on FM radio and is still the preferred version on most classic rock stations, as well as the one most commonly included on compilations and in popular media.
Writing and recording
When preparing to record the band's second album, The Second, bassist Rushton Moreve came up with a "bouncy riff". Band member Jerry Edmonton's brother, Mars Bonfire, started playing guitar, and the band developed the riff. For the introduction, guitarist Michael Monarch created feedback which was spliced on to the beginning of the band's recording. John Kay had recently bought a new top-quality hi-fi system, and started writing lyrics "about how great our new stereo system sounded," adding imagery about making a wish. After completing the lyrics and recording the vocal track, Kay overdubbed a falsetto, and sound engineer Bill Cooper spliced an extra chorus at the end of the track. While denying that the song was about drug experiences, Kay did admit to the Wall Street Journal in 2016 that "I may have smoked a joint" the night he and Monarch got the idea for the song. Kay also alleged the lyrics went beyond referencing the quality of the new stereo and were also a reference to his relationship with his wife Jutta and envisioning that he had made a wish with Aladdin's lamp.
Billboard described the single as a "pulsating rocker" with similar sales potential to Steppenwolf's earlier single, "Born to Be Wild". Record World predicted that "the young set will flip for [the song]."
- A 1978 version by the South African group Buffalo spent 12 weeks on the Springbok Radio charts, peaking at number five.
- Billy Paul on his 1971 album Going East covered the song.
- Creative Source on their eponymous album covered the song.
- Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, on the 1988 album, On the Strength.
- Bedlam version for the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack in 1992.
- Edgar Winter version for the Star Kid soundtrack in 1998.
- KSM version for the Wizards of Waverly Place soundtrack in 2009.
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- ^ Steppenwolf - Chart history, Billboard.com. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- ^ Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song. Grove Press. pp. 133–140. ISBN 978-1-61185-525-8.
- ^ a b Myers, Marc (July 12, 2016). "The Story Behind Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
- ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. September 28, 1968. p. 84. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
- ^ "Single Picks of the Week" (PDF). Record World. September 28, 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-05-30.
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- ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca.
- ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1968/Top 100 Songs of 1968". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1968". Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 22 November 2020.