Steppenwolf

Magic Carpet Ride

Composed by Dave Grusin

Song Review by

"Born to Be Wild" is Steppenwolf's best-known song, and possibly its best, but there are some that argue that "Magic Carpet Ride" is every bit as good, if not better, than that biker anthem. Why? Well, it's a funkier ride, with a real deep guitar-organ groove and a great singalong chorus. If you doubt whether it's actually funky, check out the reworking on the soundtrack to Doug Liman's 1999 film Go, where it sounds as contemporary as anything else on the electronica-laden soundtrack. The great thing is, it doesn't really depart from the original all that much. Steppenwolf's original recording was a wonderful, spare but dirty, groove. The lyrics may have been nothing more than a hippie fantasia, but John Kay did write some evocative lines ("Last night I held Aladdin's lamp," etc.). More importantly, he wrote a great three-chord riff that just gained depth and strength as it was fleshed out by bass, organ, and drums. It probably grew out of a jam, but Kay wound up with an actual song, not just a collection of hooks -- the original recording is terrific, but it also works as a cover. Not as well, of course, but it still sounds good in the hands of a local bar band, which is one the true tests of a good rock & roll song.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Steppenwolf the Second 1968 MCA 4:30
Live [BGO] 1970 Beat Goes On 4:15
Live [MCA] 1971 Geffen / MCA / UMC (Universal Catalogue) 4:15
Rock On! [Columbia] 1972
Various Artists
Columbia
16 Greatest Hits 1973 Interscope / MCA 4:26
Cruisin' 1968 1977
Various Artists
Savoy Jazz 2:46
No Image 1980
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Magic Carpet Ride 1985 MCA
Classic Rock: 1968 - The Beat Goes On 1989
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:26
No Image 198?
Various Artists
Rhino 4:27
No Image 1990
Various Artists
MCA
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Priority Records
No Image 1991 MCA / Universal 4:20
Born to Be Wild 1992 Ariola Express
Good Morning, Vietnam, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Disky 4:25
Psychedelic Mind Trip 1993
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:30
No Image 1994
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels
Vintage Collectibles, Vol.  1: 1962-1969 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 4:32
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande
WARW: All Rock Classics, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Varese 4:20
Psychedelia: Long Strange Trip 1995
Various Artists
Life Times & Music 4:21
Psychedelia [AAD] 1995
Various Artists
AAD 4:20
The Greatest Tour Bands Ever Recorded 1996
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 4:20
Platinum Rock, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:20
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Phantom
Only Rock 'N Roll 1965-1969: 20 Pop Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 4:27
ABC Monday Night Football: Official Party Album 1996
Various Artists
Hollywood 4:29
Ultimate Rock 'N' Roll Collection [EMI] 1996
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1997 Experience / Mozaic
Best of Disco Rock Classics 1997
Various Artists
ZYX Music
Wild America 1997
Original Soundtrack
Edel America Records / Edeltone 4:28
Electrifying 60's 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 4:21
No Image 1997 Music Club International Records 4:25
Easyriders, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Thump Records 4:22
Silver 1997 Repertoire 4:26
Champions of Rock-n-Roll, Vol. 3: Stud Rock - Wild Ride 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 4:21
Psychedelia [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
No Image 1998 BCD / Mpg 4:22
Orlando Magic Greatest Hits 1998
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 4:09
Harley Davidson Road Songs, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
Capitol 4:27
The Summer of Peace, Love and Music 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:25
Steppenwolf/Steppenwolf the Second 1999 Beat Goes On 4:31
Good Morning Saigon 1999
Various Artists
Bcd
More Music from the Motion Picture Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me 1999
Original Soundtrack
Maverick 4:20
Guitar Rock: Guitar Power 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:28
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Image Entertainment
Greatest Hits and More Live 2000 Disky 5:55
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Various Artists 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Jukebox Hits of 1968, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Jukebox Records 4:18
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 2001
Original Soundtrack
Universal Distribution 2:39
All Music Guide: Classic Rock 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 4:28
Summer of Peace, Love and Music [3 CD] 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:25
Steppenwolf 2002 Polydor / Universal Music 4:30
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars 4:20
Chartbusters USA, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Ace 4:25
Born to Be Wild [Music Club] 2002
Various Artists
Bcd
Universal Masters Collection 2003 MCA 4:28
Collection 2003 Spectrum Music 4:26
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: 60's Rock 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 4:25
Rock Heroes [Eurotrend] 2003
Various Artists
Eurotrend 4:17
Gold 2005 Geffen 4:30
Legends of Rock [Time Life] 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:22
The '60s Rock Experience 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 4:26
Sahara 2005
Original Soundtrack
Ryko Distribution / Rykodisc 4:21
Ultimate 16: Power of Rock 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 4:25
No Image 2005
Original Soundtrack
V2 4:21
70's Classic Rock 2006
Various Artists
Sterling
Colour Collection 2006 Universal Distribution / UMVD 4:30
The Greatest Classic Rock Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 4:26
Rock Charts 2007
Various Artists
Immortal
Die Ultimative Rock Box 2007
Various Artists
Brunswick 4:25
Flower Power [Time Life Box] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:24
Rock Charts Live 2007
Various Artists
Leader Vision/Top Tape
No Image 2008 Euro Trend / MCP
Playlist Plus: Classic Rock 2008
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:27
Rock Me/The Early Years 2008 World of Blueline 4:22
Legends of Rock 2009 Strategic Marketing 4:31
Flower Power: The Music of the Love Generation 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:25
The Music Never Stopped 2011
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Rhino 4:22
'60s Music Revolution 2012
Various Artists
Time / Time/Life Music 4:27
Party Rock 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:27
The Old Grey Whistle Test: The Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Rhino 4:22
The  ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection 2015 Real Gone / Real Gone Music 2:55
'60s Music Revolution: Magic Carpet Ride
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:27
No Image
Various Artists
MCA
Good Morning, Vietnam
Various Artists
Disky
Groovin': Hits From the 60s
Various Artists
EMI 4:24
Magic Bus: Summer of Love
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:31
Party Rock: Magic Carpet Ride
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:27
Rock 'N Roll All Nite
Various Artists
Somerset Entertainment 4:24
Rock Heroes, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eurotrend 4:17
No Image
Various Artists
Bulletproof / Fontana North 4:21
No Image
Various Artists
WSM
blue highlight denotes editor's pick