"Born to Be Wild" is a song first performed by the band Steppenwolf, written by Mars Bonfire. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style)
Mars Bonfire (who also wrote several other songs for Steppenwolf) as a ballad. Bonfire was previously a member of the Sparrows, the predecessor band to Steppenwolf, and his brother was Steppenwolf's drummer. Although he initially offered the song to other bands — The Human Expression, for one — "Born to Be Wild" was first recorded by Steppenwolf in a sped-up and rearranged version that AllMusic's Hal Horowitz described as "a roaring anthem of turbo-charged riff rock" and "a timeless radio classic as well as a slice of '60s revolt that at once defines Steppenwolf's sound and provided them with their shot at AM immortality."
"Born to Be Wild" was the band's third single off their 1968 debut album Steppenwolf and became their most successful single, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Born to Be Wild" at No. 129 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.Also in 2004, it finished at #29 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In 2009, it was named the 53rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
compilation albums and soundtracks. The first of these was the soundtrack for the movie Easy Rider, released in 1969. Unlike the album or single version, the song on this soundtrack is accompanied by the sounds of motorcycles as an introduction (another Steppenwolf song from their first album, "The Pusher", was also used in the film). When the movie was in production, "Born to Be Wild" was used simply as a placeholder, since Peter Fonda had wanted Crosby, Stills & Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the movie.
Steppenwolf's version of "Born to Be Wild" has been used in several movies, trailers, TV shows and commercials, including:
- Easy Rider (1969)
- Coming Home (1978)
- The Serial (1980)
- The Miami Vice episode "The Great McCarthy" (1984–85)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "New, Improved Simon" (1984)
- The Wild Life (1984)
- Fandango (1985)
- Lost in America (1985)
- One Crazy Summer (1986)
- Armed and Dangerous (1986)
- The Married... with Children episode "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" (1987)
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (1989–1991) episode "Toad Warriors"
- Opportunity Knocks (1990)
- Problem Child (1990)
- Dinosaurs (1991–94), episode "Nature Calls", sung by Baby Sinclair.
- The NeverEnding Story III (1994)
- Speechless (1994)
- Wild America (1997)
- Van-Pires: The Next Generation (1997–98) (theme song)
- Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie (1998) (some TV spots only)
- A Bug's Life (TV spots only) (1998)
- Home Improvement (1991–99), episode "Mow Better Blues"
- Dudley Do-Right (1999)
- Recess: School's Out (2001)
- Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
- Six Feet Under (2001–2005)
- Lizzie McGuire (2002), episode "Gordo's Video"
- Stuart Little 2 (2002) (trailer and TV spots only)
- Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
- Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
- Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (2006–2010)
- Barnyard (2006) (some advertisements only)
- Borat (2006)
- Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)
- Commercial for the 2007 Hess Monster Truck
- Alpha and Omega (2010) (trailer only)
- Animals United (2010) (trailer only)
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield (2011 TV commercial)
- Supernatural (2005–) (season 7 finale in 2011)
- Nymphomaniac Vol. I (2013–2014).
- Paddington (2015)
- Promos for the CBS show Zoo (2015)
- TV commercial for the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Roadster (aired during Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017)
"Born to be wild "with Huey Vietnam footage