Album Details

October 28, 2008
World of Blueline
Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll, Psychedelic, Heavy Metal, Acid Rock, Pop-Metal, Garage Rock, Hard Rock

Album Review

Sometimes the record business is just plain crazy. More often than not, generic-looking and badly titled compilations like this one carry re-recordings of classic tunes, horrible-sounding live versions, or feature recordings before any given band was actually ready to record. Not this time. Rock Me/The Early Years contains the original versions of Steppenwolf hits pulled together from their recordings between 1968 and 1974. Given how long this band soldiered on in one form or another (bandleader John Kay was still touring it in the early 21st century), the tracks here do indeed represent Steppenwolf in its early years. A solid listen to the least obvious of these tracks -- in other words, leave "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride" out of the mix for a moment because of their cinematic and TV commercial baggage -- such as the cover of Don Covay's "Sookie Sookie," Hoyt Axton's "The Pusher," or "Snow Blind Friend," reveal the band's real roots: in tough R&B, folk, country, and blues. Add the originals to the mix, such as "Move Over," "Screaming Night Hog," and the Mars Bonfire tracks such as "Born to Be Wild," and "Ride with Me" and one can see where all of these disparate elements begin to bridge the dawn of the hard rock era. One can even argue that "Born to Be Wild" is the first heavy metal tune (though many claim these cats were merely another biker band). If the latter is so, they were able to do what only one other biker band -- the Doobie Brothers in their early years with Tom Johnston -- were able to accomplish: write megahit singles. Steppenwolf's vision of the world was hard, fast, and if you listen to "Monster" and "Jupiter's Child," dark and menacing at the same time. This is highly recommended as a fitting intro or as a killer sampler. The only track missing from this batch is "Power Play."
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Born to Be Wild
  2. Magic Carpet Ride
  3. Rock Me
  4. Its Never Too Late
  5. Move Over
  6. Monster
  7. Hey Lawdy Mama
  8. Screaming Night Hog
  9. Who Needs Ya
  10. Snow Blind Friend
  11. Ride with Me
  12. For Ladies Only
  13. The Pusher
  14. Sookie Sookie
  15. Jupiters Child
  16. Tenderness