Lost Treasures: Steppenwolf – “The Pusher”

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Our Lost Treasure this week became a staple of early “underground” FM rock radio.  Canadian/American group Steppenwolf released their first album in 1968 on Dunhill.  Included on it was a Hoyt Axton penned tune – “The Pusher”.  The track also appeared in the movie “Easy Rider” & on the soundtrack LP from that film.  The song was somewhat of a paradox – on one hand it was an anti-hard-drug song, while at the same time acknowledging that ‘pot’ & psychedelic substances were okay to consume.  “The Pusher” lyrics particularly took aim at those who sold hard drugs.  Some stations refused to add the cut because of it’s swearing content in the chorus.  However, many more FM stations saw this as an act of rebellion sure to champion the causes of it’s young listeners.  Steppenwolf began as a group called Sparrow, disbanded, then reformed with a name change.  They instantly hit success when 3 of the songs from this album were released as singles.  “Born To Be Wild” gave them their first #1 single, one of many to come. 

The band broke up after a farewell concert in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day, 1972.  The group reformed for a few years in the mid-70’s with ever changing personnel.  A few gigs occurred in the 1980’s but few of the original members were involved.  The band performed what they then labeled their “Farewell Concert” on October 6, 2007 In Maryland, although a few one-off concerts were performed as late as 2010.  Steppenwolf were nominated to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, but were not inducted.  Original leader John Kay led the group through one Oct. 2018 gig & declared the band finished.  Kick off your weekend with this FM radio classic!

 

 

 

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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