Steppenwolf – Snowblind Friend

The last time I posted a Steppenwolf song (Sookie Sookie)…a fellow blogger obbverse reminded me of this one and it had been a long time since I heard it.

Snowblind Friend was written by Hoyt Axton, who first released it on his 1969 album My Griffin Is Gone. The song was written about one of his musician friends who died of a drug overdose. Hoyt did not glamorize drug use in this song. He had his own problems with drug addiction and did what he could to warn of the dangers

Stoned on some new potion he found upon the wall
Of some unholy bathroom in some ungodly hall

Hoyt Axton wrote so many songs…one of them was Joy To The World, he wrote it around the same time as Snowblind Friend. Steppenwolf was offered Joy To The World but they passed. It ended up going to Three Dog Night… who took it to number 1. What I wouldn’t give to hear a Steppenwolf version of Joy to the World!

Songs written by Hoyt Axton | SecondHandSongs

This song introduced the word “snowblind” to the rock music lexicon to describe addiction, specifically to cocaine. The insidiousness of the drug and its grip on the user has never been conveyed so accurately and poignantly.

Steppenwolf 7

Snowblind Friend peaked at #60 in the Billboard 100 and #37 in Canada in 1970. It was on the album Steppenwolf 7 and it peaked at #19 in the Billboard Album Charts and #14 in Canada. This would be Steppenwolf’s last top 20 album in their career. They did have a Greatest Hits album that peaked at #24 the following year.

They are not in the Hall of Fame yet but were nominated in 2017 but didn’t make it. In 2018 the Hall did pick “Born to Be Wild” as one of the first five singles that shaped rock and roll to be inducted into the hall in its history.

Altogether they had 13 studio albums, 5 live albums, and 21 singles. 8 of the albums were in the top 40 and 7 of their singles were in the top 40. In Canada they were very popular…they had two #1’s in Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride and 11 singles in the top 40.

John Kay: “That song spoke to me because I knew the person that the song was written about. That’s why I decided, as a tribute to this young man, that we would do a version of it on the Steppenwolf 7 album.”

This is a TV special on the Steppenwolf 7 album

Snowblind Friend

You say it was this morning when you last saw your good friend
Lyin’ on the pavement with a misery on his brain
Stoned on some new potion he found upon the wall
Of some unholy bathroom in some ungodly hall
He only had a dollar to live on ’til next Monday
But he spent it on some comfort for his mind
Did you say you think he’s blind?

Someone should call his parents, a sister or a brother
And they’ll come to take him back home on a bus
But he’ll always be a problem to his poor and puzzled mother
Yeah he’ll always be another one of us
He said he wanted Heaven but prayin’ was too slow
So he bought a one way ticket on an airline made of snow
Did you say you saw your good friend flyin’ low?
Flyin’ low
Dyin’ slow

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “Steppenwolf – Snowblind Friend”

    1. I had quoted you on Hoyt from yesterday and had it on here but it was too late to ask you…I didn’t think you would mind but i like to ask.
      It was a meaningful song.

      Like

      1. Thank you. 🙂

        PS I’m watching the Platinum Jubilee parade right now. They are parading the various eras of art and creativity during her 70 years reign. Right now ‘See Emily Play’ is on the loud speaker. They’ve also not ignored the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen this weekend. I appreciate how they embrace art that’s on the edge at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is great that they didn’t ignore that…I would have thought they would have…it really surprises me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I loved it. I’m always amazed at how the Brits embrace some awkward moments in their history. They don’t seem to shrink or run from things like that. I see it as a strength.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The Axton’s , momma and junior, were quite amazing and versatile writers. I agree…wouldn’t it be a hoot to hear Steppenwolf take on ‘Joy to the World’? As you point out, Steppenwolf were very big in Canada, likely because that’s where they came from originally (although they were LA based when they made it big.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea Kay lived in Toronto I believe…I thought he was from Canada at first until I found out he was German.

      Like

    1. Yes it is…I’ve known people who were weekend drug warriors who never had a problem…I’ve known some that just hit the skids.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess ‘Joy To The World’ is on the opposite side of the (l)edge from ‘Snowblind Friend,’ and perhaps that’s why Steppenwolf are not yet in the ‘Hall Of Fame.’ The sixties weren’t all peace and hippy-trippy free love flowers-in-your-hair, there was also some nasty nitty-gritty shi- stuff going down too, and Steppenwolf didn’t shrink away from speaking to the good or bad. Maybe too heavy rock/political for some more MOR minded people? No offence, but the Everly Brothers didn’t exactly turn up the volume to 11!
    ‘Snowblind’ is the perfect term.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are preaching to the choir here…They should be in.
      Anything hard like them…they seem to frown on…that and prog bands until recently.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Max, I just cast the album special up on my TV. You made my day with that. I just realized something. I don’t think there is ANYONE more hip than John Kay. Seriously. Now I just went to wiki to read about how Steppenwolf formed and see that Kay has one residence in….. Nashville! The song by Axton is one of the most profound I’ve heard on drug addiction. The lyrics are poetry. Thank you for posting this song as it is a new one. I need to do more research on Steppenwolf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes he does live here! Back a few years ago I was working part time at a Tech small company…I worked on something at a bus company and Kay’s bus was there and I did get to shake his hand…super nice guy.

      They also covered an Axton song The Pusher…that is good also. I’m glad you liked that TV program…I thought it was excellent!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow how cool is that. Did you feel any strong energy coming out of him?

        Axton wrote The Pusher?? I thought I heard him say that in the TV program. I love that song!!!!! Used to have that album many moons ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He has a big presence for sure. There is a reason they made it and it was him.
        Yes he wrote the Pusher also. He wrote a variety of songs for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Gotta love these titles that refer to drugs like SnowBlind ( Sabbath and Ace Frehley have tracks titled as such) yet Clapton comes out and calls the damn tune Cocaine! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for including the TV special, Max. Great album. I remember the day I bought the record and fell in love with every song. It was music to make you think. Snowblind Friend still brings tears. So poetic and beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

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