The first, self-titled Steppenwolf album of 1968 is the one that fast-tracked them to fame and fortune, fuelled by the anthemic ‘Born To Be Wild.’ It was gold by November that year, but in chart terms, there was even better to come. Within nine months of the debut album came ‘The Second,’ and this time it was gold in just four months. That RIAA certification was 46 years ago today, on February 12, 1969.
‘The Second’ had an anthem of its own, in the form of John Kay’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride,’ which after ‘Born To Be Wild’ had hit No. 2 in America, followed it to No. 3.
The sophomore album also included such titles of their time as ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Life,’ ‘Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam’ and ‘Hodge, Podge, Strained Through A Leslie.’
The album opened on the Billboard chart in October 1968 and, where their eponymous release had peaked at No. 6, the new one went as high as No. 3 in the first week of the new year. The Beatles continued to top the listing at the time with the ‘White Album.’
In the incredibly fast-moving album scene of the day, when bands were expected to release two LPs a year, ‘The Second’ was soon succeeded by ‘At Your Birthday Party.’ That made it three top ten albums out of three, peaking at No. 7. After the opportunistic No. 17 success ‘Early Steppenwolf,’ which contained recordings made in 1967 when the Los Angeles band was known as Sparrow, they returned to the album chart one more time, in 1970, with ‘Steppenwolf Live.’