Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf song)

"Magic Carpet Ride" is a rock song written by John Kay and Rushton Moreve from the Canadian-American hard rock band Steppenwolf. The song was initially released in 1968 on the album The Second. It was the lead single from that album, peaking at number three in the US, and staying in the charts for 16 weeks, longer than any other Steppenwolf song.[3]

"Magic Carpet Ride"
Magic Carpet Ride.png
Cover of the 1968 Netherlands single
Single by Steppenwolf
from the album The Second
B-side"Sookie Sookie"
ReleasedSeptember 1968 (1968-09)
Length4:30 (album)
2:55 (single)
LabelABC Dunhill
Producer(s)Gabriel Mekler
Steppenwolf singles chronology
"The Pusher"
"Magic Carpet Ride"
"Rock Me"
Music video
"Magic Carpet Ride" on YouTube

The 45 rpm version is not only an edit of the album version, but contains a different vocal take on the first verse. Despite the single's popularity, the album version enjoyed heavy airplay on FM radio and is still the preferred version on most classic rock stations, as well as the one most commonly included on compilations and in popular media.

Writing and recordingEdit

When preparing to record the band's second album, The Second, bassist Rushton Moreve came up with a "bouncy riff". Band member Jerry Edmonton's brother, Mars Bonfire, started playing guitar, and the band developed the riff. For the introduction, guitarist Michael Monarch created feedback which was spliced on to the beginning of the band's recording. John Kay had recently bought a new top-quality hi-fi system, and started writing lyrics "about how great our new stereo system sounded," adding imagery about making a wish. After completing the lyrics and recording the vocal track, Kay overdubbed a falsetto, and sound engineer Bill Cooper spliced an extra chorus at the end of the track.[4] While denying that the song was about drug experiences, Kay did admit to the Wall Street Journal in 2016 that "I may have smoked a joint" the night he and Monarch got the idea for the song.[5] Kay also alleged the lyrics went beyond referencing the quality of the new stereo and were also a reference to his relationship with his wife Jutta and envisioning that he had made a wish with Aladdin's lamp.[5]

Billboard described the single as a "pulsating rocker" with similar sales potential to Steppenwolf's earlier single, "Born to Be Wild".[6]

Chart historyEdit

Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Gary Littman (1 October 2012). In Love. AuthorHouse. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-4772-7660-0. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  2. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf the Second Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic". allmusic. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  3. ^ Steppenwolf - Chart history, Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  4. ^ Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song. Grove Press. pp. 133–140. ISBN 978-1-61185-525-8.
  5. ^ a b Myers, Marc (July 12, 2016). "The Story Behind Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  6. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. September 28, 1968. p. 84. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  7. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  8. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, December 7, 1968". Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1968/Top 100 Songs of 1968". Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1968". Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 22 November 2020.

External linksEdit