John Kay (musician)

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John Kay
John Kay.JPG
Kay performing at at Lillehammer Rock Weekend, in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway, 26 May 2007
Background information
Birth nameJoachim Fritz Krauledat
Born(1944-04-12) 12 April 1944 (age 69)
Tilsit, then East Prussia, today in Russia
OriginWaterloo, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, folk
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1964–present
LabelsDunhill, Mums, Epic, MCA, Mercury, Attic, Qwil, I.R.S., K-tel, Winter Harvest, CMC International, Cannonball, Rainman
Associated actsThe Sparrows, Steppenwolf, The John Kay Band,
Websitewww.steppenwolf.com
Notable instruments
Rickenbacker 381
 
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John Kay
John Kay.JPG
Kay performing at at Lillehammer Rock Weekend, in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway, 26 May 2007
Background information
Birth nameJoachim Fritz Krauledat
Born(1944-04-12) 12 April 1944 (age 69)
Tilsit, then East Prussia, today in Russia
OriginWaterloo, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, folk
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1964–present
LabelsDunhill, Mums, Epic, MCA, Mercury, Attic, Qwil, I.R.S., K-tel, Winter Harvest, CMC International, Cannonball, Rainman
Associated actsThe Sparrows, Steppenwolf, The John Kay Band,
Websitewww.steppenwolf.com
Notable instruments
Rickenbacker 381

John Kay (born Joachim Fritz Krauledat, 12 April 1944, in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany, now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia)[1] is a German-Canadian-American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist known as the frontman of Steppenwolf.[2]

Early life[edit]

In the Evacuation of East Prussia in early 1945, in harsh winter conditions, his mother first had to flee with the baby boy from the advancing Soviet troops. In 1948, the two also fled from Arnstadt in the East German Soviet occupation zone to resettle in Hanover, West Germany (as recounted in his song "Renegade" on the album Steppenwolf 7). Located in the British occupation zone, teen aged Joachim, suffering from eyesight problems, listened to music broadcast by the British Forces Broadcasting Service before his family moved to Canada in 1958.

Musical career[edit]

Kay in a performance in South Carolina on January 1, 1971

Kay joined a blues rock and folk music group known as The Sparrows in 1965, which had moderate success in Canada before moving to California in the USA, augmenting its line-up and changing its name to Steppenwolf in 1967. With music that pioneered hard rock and heavy metal, Kay's Steppenwolf had international success with songs such as "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride", "Monster", "The Pusher", and "Rock Me". This was multiplied by the use of "Born to Be Wild" and "The Pusher" in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

Kay recorded both as a solo artist and with Steppenwolf during the late 1970s, and wrapped up Steppenwolf's 40th year of touring with what was to be a final gig in October 2007. However, Kay and Steppenwolf appeared July 24, 2010, at the three-day HullabaLOU music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.[3]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Kay's star on Canada's Walk of Fame.)

In 2004, although never becoming a Canadian citizen,[1] Kay was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in recognition of the beginning of his musical career in Toronto. Kay was present at the induction ceremony in Toronto, and reiterated his strong affection for Canada.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Kay suffers from increased sensitivity to light, so he wears sunglasses regardless of time of day, and during his concerts. However, he was seen without glasses on the PBS show "The Best of the 60's (My Music Archives). In addition, he was born with a congenital disorder called achromatopsia; complete color blindness; a defect of the cone cells in the eyes which causes him to see in black and white, and resulted in qualifying him as being legally blind.[5] Despite this condition, he is an avid videographer.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums (Steppenwolf and solo)[edit]

YearAlbumChart positions
CANUS
1968Steppenwolf16
1968The Second23
1969At Your Birthday Party127
1969Monster1117
1970Steppenwolf 71419
1971For Ladies Only54
1972Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes (Solo debut)50113
1973My Sportin' Life (2nd Solo album)200
1974Slow Flux47
1975Hour of the Wolf155
1976Skullduggery
1978All in Good Time (3rd solo album)
1982Wolftracks
1984Paradox
1987Rock & Roll Rebels171
1987Lone Steppenwolf
1990Rise and Shine
1996Feed the Fire (4th solo album)
1997The Lost Heritage Tapes (5th solo album)
2001Heretics and Privateers (6th solo album)
2004Live in Louisville
2006Live in London

Solo singles[edit]

YearSingleChart positionsAlbum
CANCAN ACCAN CountryUS
1972"I'm Movin' On"4552Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes
1973"Moonshine (Friend of Mine)"261944105My Sportin' Life
"Easy Evil"82102

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Edwardson, Ryan. Canuck Rock: A History of Canadian Popular Music. University of Toronto Press, 2009. Pg.268
  2. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: John Kay". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "HullabaLOU Line-up". Churchill Downs Entertainment Group. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "John Kay". Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2010-11-03. [dead link]
  5. ^ John Kay and Steppenwolf Interview on the Grabow agency website, retrieved May 3rd 2011

External links[edit]