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Steppenwolf launch previously unreleased track Labor Of Love

With a 50-year career under his belt, Steppenwolf leader John Kay is behind a career-spanning box set that includes several unreleased songs

Steppenwolf have released a stream of the previously unreleased song Labor Of Love. The track was originally recorded in the early 1970s, but finally sees the light of day on Steppenwolf At 50, a 4-CD, 31 song collection that covers the band's entire career. The box set is released on March 16.

"I wrote this song when our daughter was four or five years old," says Steppenwolf leader John Kay. "While writing the lyrics I was thinking about her future but I also thought of my own childhood. My father was killed in WWII, before I was born, and so I only knew of him through my mother's recollections. That's why the lyrics of this song reflect on my past and our daughter's future legacy."

Steppenwolf At 50 was compiled by Kay and longtime manager Ron Rainey from the 13 studio albums released by both Steppenwolf and John Kay & Steppenwolf, and includes classic like Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride and The Pusher.

Steppenwolf previously premiered another track from the album - a driving version of Gene McDaniels' classic protest anthem Compared To What - at Guitarworld.

"A couple of tracks on this collection were never released before now, and hearing them after all these years brought back lots of memories," writes Kay in the album's liner notes. "Compared to What is perhaps my favourite ‘new’ track, particularly because of its relevance in the here and now."

"In the summer of 1967 we were five young guys working on some tunes in a garage in Hollywood, California," writes Kay. "Despite the constant interruptions by the LAPD due to noise complaints, our band -- soon to be named Steppenwolf -- was steadily improving. Before summer’s end, enough progress had been made that Gabriel Mekler, who became our first producer, brought us into a budget studio and quickly recorded every song we knew.

"The resulting demos led to a record deal with ABC Dunhill Records and the cutting of our first album at American Studios with Richard Podolor and Bill Cooper, who had built the studio as recording engineers. After four days and nine thousand dollars in recording costs, we emerged with a finished album simply entitled Steppenwolf and after its release in 1968, we were off to the races.

"That was 50 years ago as of this writing and much transpired during that time of course. In between seemingly endless tours at home and abroad, we somehow managed to write, rehearse and record numerous subsequent albums, but the hectic pace sometimes took its toll; not only on the band but also on our home lives and families…

"It is particularly dedicated to those who never stopped being there when we needed their support the most. Every band member past and present, who is heard on these recordings, played an important role as musician, fellow singer or songwriter in the Wolf’s recording history and is accordingly acknowledged in the credits.”

Order Steppenwolf At 50 online.

Steppenwolf At 50 Tracklist

Disc #1

  1. Screaming Night Hog
  2. From Here To There Eventually (alternate version)
  3. Angel Drawers*
  4. For Ladies Only
  5. You Win Again
  6. My Sportin' Life
  7. Drift Away
  8. Straight Shootin' Woman
  9. Caroline (Are You Ready For The Outlaw World)
  10. Skullduggery
  11. Hold Your Head Up
  12. Hot Night In A Cold Town
  13. Give Me News I Can Use
  14. Ain't Nothin' Like It Used To Be
  15. Magic Carpet Ride (Performed With Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five)

Disc #2:

  1. Hold On (Never Give Up Never Give In)
  2. Rock & Roll Rebels
  3. Give Me Life
  4. Rise & Shine
  5. The Wall
  6. Rock & Roll War
  7. Feed The Fire
  8. Rock Steady
  9. Down In New Orleans
  10. Business Is Business
  11. Compared To What
  12. Labor Of Love
  13. For The Women In My Life

Disc #3 (All Tracks Recorded Live: 1992-1995)

  • Move Over
  • Rock Me
  • I'm Movin' On
  • Sookie Sookie
  • I'm Your Hootchie Cootchie Man
  • Hey Lawdy Mama
  • Hey Lawdy Mama
  • Desperation
  • Ride With Me
  • Snowblind Friend
  • Monster/Suicide/America
  • Magic Carpet Ride
  • Born To Be Wild
  • The Pusher

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