Listen to Classic Steppenwolf Play a Pre-Easy Rider “The Pusher” in 1968

Recorded at the Fillmore West on Aug. 28, 1968.

Music Features Steppenwolf
Listen to Classic Steppenwolf Play a Pre-Easy Rider “The Pusher” in 1968

Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!

Today in the Paste Vault, we’re reaching back 49 years years to Aug. 28, 1968, when
Steppenwolf pulled in to San Francisco for a show at the Fillmore West.

Playing the second night of a three-night run at the Fillmore (with an early, pre-signed incarnation of Santana opening, followed by The Staple Singers), Steppenwolf was just beginning to taste some commercial success thanks to the single off their debut album, “Born to Be Wild.” Also on the album was “The Pusher,” a psychedelic song originally written by Hoyt Axton about the important distinction between weed “dealers” (groovy) and heroin “pushers” (not groovy).

The song hit the mainstream a year later when it soundtracked the opening scene of the iconic film Easy Rider, with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (pictured above) orchestrating a coke deal (where would that fit on the “Pusher” spectrum?) on a tarmac and stuffing the proceeds into his stars-and-stripes motorcycle. The live Fillmore version rocks and sways like the recording, with a sweet organ and some nasty guitar squelch standing in for the opposing “Dealer” vs. “Pusher” roles.

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