Frontman John Kay escaped from East Berlin, and came to the United States to form the band. Steppenwolf rocketed to fame after their third single, "Born to Be Wild" was used in Easy Rider. The song coined the term "heavy metal". This was followed by several more hits, including "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Rock Me". Fans consider their double album "Steppenwolf Live" the best of Steppenwolf's releases.
The band broke up in 1971, and Kay went on to lead a somewhat successful solo career, while the other band members continued touring for decades.