Follow-up albums arrived fast in the late 1960s. On 5 October 1968, just nine months after the release of Steppenwolf’s gold-selling, self-titled debut — the one containing ‘Born To Be Wild’ — the Los Angeles rockers were back on the US album chart with The Second.
Listen to The Second right now.
Not only did it repeat the gold certification of its predecessor, their sophomore set became the highest-charting of their career in their home country. It made its first appearance on the Billboard 200 at No. 139, even as the first album continued in the top ten, holding at No. 9. Then the follow-up record started to soar, helped no end by another major singles success in ‘Magic Carpet Ride,’ released as a 45 the month before.
The Second, produced like Steppenwolf’s debut by Gabriel Mekler (also to become known for his work with Three Dog Night and Janis Joplin) zoomed 139-50 in its second week. Another seven days on, and it was standing at No. 28, then 23, 15, 7 and 5. After holding its place in the top five for the rest of 1968, it edged up to No. 3 in the first chart of the new year.
‘Magic Carpet Ride,’ written by frontman John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve, fuelled the success, peaking at No. 3 at the end of November 1968. These were glory days for Steppenwolf, and they were far from over, with a third top ten album, At Your Birthday Party, to come in 1969 and four more gold albums still in store, then a platinum-selling compilation in 1973.
As visiting enthusiast Pete Townshend told the New York Times on a US tour just before The Second was released: “Rock ‘n’ roll is happening in America like it always did. We love it here. The Byrds, Steppenwolf, Booker T., Moby Grape, that’s rock ‘n’ roll.”
The Second can be bought here.
Follow the official Steppenwolf Best Of playlist.