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Kay performing at Lillehammer Rock Weekend, in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway, 26 May 2007
|Birth name||Joachim Fritz Krauledat|
|Born||12 April 1944|
Tilsit, East Prussia, German Reich (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad, Russia)
|Origin||Waterloo, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Rock, hard rock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, folk|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, harmonica|
|Labels||Dunhill, Mums, Epic, MCA, Mercury, Attic, Qwil, I.R.S., K-tel, Atlantic, Winter Harvest, CMC International, Cannonball, Rainman|
|Associated acts||The Sparrows, Steppenwolf, The John Kay Band,|
Kay was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia). His father Fritz, born 13 June 1913 in Absteinen (Opstainys in Pagėgiai Municipality), near Pleskau was killed a month before Kay was born. In early 1945, his mother fled with him from the advancing Soviet troops during the Evacuation of East Prussia in harsh winter conditions. Their train got stuck near Arnstadt, which was first occupied by Americans, but then became part of the East German Soviet occupation zone. In 1949, they crossed the already fortified border to resettle in Hanover, West Germany (as recounted in his song "Renegade" on the album Steppenwolf 7). Now living in the British occupation zone, the young Joachim, who suffered from eye problems, listened to broadcasts by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, like the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany. He also saw a news reel about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, shot and smuggled out by László Kovács of later Easy Rider fame. Kay and his family moved to Toronto in 1958. Five years later, they moved to Buffalo, New York.
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, 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".
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 on 24 July 2010 at the three-day HullabaLOU music festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
Awards and recognition
In 2004, although never becoming a Canadian citizen, 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. He was also nominated as part of Steppenwolf for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
Kay is married to Jutta Maue, whom he met in 1965 in Canada while she was working in a coffeehouse where Kay's band, The Sparrows, was playing. They have one daughter, Shawn. The couple founded the Maue-Kay Foundation, which supports human rights and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
Studio albums (Steppenwolf and solo)
|1969||At Your Birthday Party||12||7|
|1971||For Ladies Only||—||54|
|1972||Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes (Solo debut)||50||113|
|1973||My Sportin' Life (2nd Solo album)||—||200|
|1975||Hour of the Wolf||—||155|
|1978||All in Good Time (3rd solo album)||—||—|
|1980||Live In London (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|1982||Wolftracks (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|1984||Paradox (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|1987||Rock & Roll Rebels (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||171|
|1987||Lone Steppenwolf (compilation of previously released solo material)||—||—|
|1990||Rise & Shine (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|1996||Feed the Fire (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|1997||The Lost Heritage Tapes (5th solo album)||—||—|
|2001||Heretics and Privateers (6th solo album)||—||—|
|2004||Live in Louisville (John Kay and Steppenwolf album)||—||—|
|CAN||CAN AC||CAN Country||US|
|1972||"I'm Movin' On"||45||—||—||52||Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes|
|1973||"Moonshine (Friend of Mine)"||26||19||44||105||My Sportin' Life|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Kay.|
- Edwardson, Ryan. Canuck Rock: A History of Canadian Popular Music. University of Toronto Press, 2009. p. 268
- Greg Prato (12 April 1944). "John Kay | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- Prato, Greg. "Biography: John Kay". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- "Detailansicht". Volksbund.de. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "Empowerment of Music: guest John Kay of Steppenwolf". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- "HullabaLOU Line-up". Churchill Downs Entertainment Group. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "John Kay". Canada's Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
- "Steppenwolf Frontman John Kay on Rock Hall of Fame Nomination: 'It's a Surprise'". Billboard.com. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- * Kay, John and Jutta Maue. "John Kay & Jutta Maue-Kay Bios". Mauekay.org. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
- Steppenwolf's official website
- Kay's Biography
- John Kay & Company - The Lost Heritage Tapes (CD 1997; recorded 1976, but previously unreleased)
- (in German) Matthias Greffrath, ZEITmagazin LEBEN, Nr. 8, 14.02.2008 (report from a childhood friend)
- John Kay Interview - NAMM Oral History Library (2016)