This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2021)
|Single by Steppenwolf|
|from the album Steppenwolf|
|B-side||"Your Wall's Too High"|
|Genre||Blues rock, psychedelic rock|
|Steppenwolf singles chronology|
The lyrics of the song distinguish between a dealer in drugs such as marijuana—who "will sell you lots of sweet dreams"—and a pusher of hard drugs such as heroin—a "monster" who doesn't care "if you live or if you die".
Organist Goldy McJohn, who recorded the original Steppenwolf version, said the version that appears on Early Steppenwolf performed by The Sparrows, a predecessor band to Steppenwolf in 1967 at the Matrix came about when singer John Kay and Jerry Edmonton were late for a performance:
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2020)
- Songwriter Hoyt Axton did not place "The Pusher" on one of his albums until he included it on his 1971 Capitol LP Joy To The World. His version of the song was originally released in May 1969 on a various-artists mail-order album called First Vibration.
- Nina Simone included a soulful version of this song on her 1974 album It Is Finished and on the RCA "Novus Series 70" titled "Nina Simone ~~ The Blues." Originally recorded June 1971.
- Blind Melon released a version of "The Pusher" on their album "Nico", released 1996.
- The Flaming Lips & Deap Vally's collaboration dubbed Deap Lips released a cover of "The Pusher" on their 2020 self-titled album, Deap Lips. It included slightly different lyrics from the Steppenwolf version.
- The song has also been covered by Monkeywrench, Young Flowers, Black League, The Substitutes, UFO, Helix, Negative Space, Emerson Parris, and Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned.
- "Favorite song Jerry sang". GoldyMcJohn.com. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- Kreps, Daniel (2020-03-13). "Deap Lips Drop Colorful Video for Steppenwolf's 'The Pusher' Cover". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-12-30.