John Kay (musician)

John Kay (born Joachim Fritz Krauledat, 12 April 1944) is a German-born Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist known as the frontman of Steppenwolf.[3]

John Kay
Kay performing at Lillehammer Rock Weekend, in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway, 26 May 2007
Kay performing 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 76)
Tilsit, East Prussia, German Reich (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad, Russia)[1]
OriginWaterloo, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, hard rock,[2] psychedelic rock, heavy metal, blues, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1964–present
LabelsDunhill, Mums, Epic, MCA, Mercury, Attic, Qwil, I.R.S., K-tel, Atlantic, Winter Harvest, CMC International, Cannonball, Rainman
Associated actsThe Sparrows, Steppenwolf, The John Kay Band,

Early lifeEdit

Kay was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia).[1] His father Fritz, born 13 June 1913 in Absteinen (Opstainys in Pagėgiai Municipality), near Pleskau[4] was killed a month[5] 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.

Musical careerEdit

Kay in a performance in South Carolina, USA on 1 January 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, 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.[6]

Awards and recognitionEdit

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.[7] He was also nominated as part of Steppenwolf for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

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.[9]


Studio albums (Steppenwolf and solo)Edit

Year Album Chart positions
1968 Steppenwolf 1 6
1968 The Second 2 3
1969 At Your Birthday Party 12 7
1969 Monster 11 17
1970 Steppenwolf 7 14 19
1971 For Ladies Only 54
1972 Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes (Solo debut) 50 113
1973 My Sportin' Life (2nd Solo album) 200
1974 Slow Flux 47
1975 Hour of the Wolf 155
1976 Skullduggery
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)

Solo singlesEdit

Year Single Chart positions Album
1972 "I'm Movin' On" 45 52 Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes
1973 "Moonshine (Friend of Mine)" 26 19 44 105 My Sportin' Life
"Easy Evil" 82 102


  1. ^ a b c Edwardson, Ryan. Canuck Rock: A History of Canadian Popular Music. University of Toronto Press, 2009. p. 268
  2. ^ Greg Prato (12 April 1944). "John Kay | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  3. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: John Kay". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Detailansicht". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Empowerment of Music: guest John Kay of Steppenwolf". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  6. ^ "HullabaLOU Line-up". Churchill Downs Entertainment Group. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  7. ^ "John Kay". Canada's Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Steppenwolf Frontman John Kay on Rock Hall of Fame Nomination: 'It's a Surprise'". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  9. ^ * Kay, John and Jutta Maue. "John Kay & Jutta Maue-Kay Bios". Retrieved 25 December 2016.

External linksEdit