The Pusher

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"The Pusher"
The Pusher.png
Single by Steppenwolf
from the album Steppenwolf
B-side"Your Wall's Too High"
Format7-inch single
GenreBlues rock, psychedelic rock
LabelABC Dunhill
Songwriter(s)Hoyt Axton
Producer(s)Gabriel Mekler
Steppenwolf singles chronology
"Born to Be Wild"
"The Pusher"
"Magic Carpet Ride"

"The Pusher" is a rock song written by Hoyt Axton, made popular by the 1969 movie Easy Rider which used Steppenwolf's version to accompany the opening scenes showing drug trafficking.

The lyrics of the song distinguish between a dealer in drugs such as marijuana—who "will sell you lots of sweet dreams"—and a pusher of hard drugs such as heroin—a "monster" who doesn't care "if you live or if you die".

Steppenwolf version[edit]

The song was made popular when rock band Steppenwolf released the song on their 1968 album Steppenwolf.

Organist Goldy McJohn, who recorded the original Steppenwolf version, said the version that appears on Early Steppenwolf performed by "Sparrow" (pre-Steppenwolf moniker) in 1967 at the Matrix came about when singer John Kay and Jerry Edmonton were late for a performance:

Nick and Mars and me started that long version of the Pusher. John and Jerry's flight was late one night at the Avalon Ballroom, so we started and then we perfected it at the "Arc" in Sausalito on New Year's Eve in 1966.[1]

Other versions[edit]

  • Songwriter Hoyt Axton did not place "The Pusher" on one of his albums until he included it on his 1971 album Joy to the World but his version of the song was released in May of 1969 on a various-artists mail-order album called First Vibration.
  • Nina Simone included a soulful version of this song on her 1974 album It Is Finished and on the RCA "Novus Series 70" titled "Nina Simone ~~ The Blues. Originally recorded June 1971.
  • Blind Melon recorded a version that was the opening track on their 1996 album Nico although the lyrics were heavily rewritten by the band's frontman Shannon Hoon.
  • Young Flowers DR Sessions, recorded July 22, 1969
  • Left Lane Cruiser, in album "Beck in Black", 2016

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "Favorite song Jerry sang" (HTML). Retrieved 2007-12-06.

External links[edit]