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Magic Carpet Ride

by

Steppenwolf



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The group wrote this based on the bass line their bass player, Rushton Moreve, came up with. The only words he had written for it were, "I like my job, I like my baby." Lead singer John Kay wrote the rest of the lyrics. He got inspired when he put the demo tape in a home stereo system he bought with the royalties from their first album. That's where he came up with the line, "I like to dream, right between my sound machine."
This was the second big hit for Steppenwolf. "Born To Be Wild" was released a few months earlier. They were on different albums, with "Born To Be Wild" on their first and this on their second, although this was released well before their second album came out.
John Kay of Steppenwolf teamed up with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to do a 1988 Rap/Rock remake of this song. It was similar to the Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith mash-up of "Walk This Way," which was released in 1986.
This song first appeared in a 1968 movie called Candy by the French director Christian Marquand. It starred Ewa Aulin, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr and Charles Aznavour. It's an extremely strange movie, definitely of it's time and kind of gives context to the song, intended or not. The movie was based on a popular counterculture novel. (thanks, Hugh - Dunstable)
In 2004, this was used in the "America Revolution" series of Chevy car commercials. (thanks, Joe - Los Angeles, CA)
Steppenwolf
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Comments (49):

I, being a member of LXA, John Kay visited our Chapter at Ohio State in 1972. The LXA headquaters only want to dissociate themselves from the drugs, sex, etc. He was there at our initiation time, and never debunked the association between the song and the ritual.
- Randy, West Milton, OH
Yeah, back in 1968 I bought the single "Magic Carpet Ride" and the album it came from, "Steppenwolf, The Second." In 1968, it was a wild ride in the music world! There was psychedelic rock, folk rock, hard rock, pop-rock, acid rock, R&B, and more. Steppenwolf, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa, Iron Butterfly, The Beatles and others. were pushing into new areas of rock music. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll were the reality of young America in many areas. The new music reflected the counter-culture changes of the hippie culture, the drug scene, and the avant-garde rock song lyricists. In 1968, Steppenwolf & John Kay were at the forefront of the new rock music scene. I remember it first-hand. It was my generation. John Kay wrote many cutting-edge songs about drugs and the consequences of drug abuse, along with his biting social commentaries (Monster, Power Play, Move Over, Don't Step On the Grass, Sam!, etc.). I've read he comments of others on this site who believe this song is about or is related to a college fraternity. Rubbish! Knowing Steppenwolf's history, influences, discography, and commentaries about their song-writing process & song influences, I tend to give the "frat" influence no validity. If you want to find out more about "Magic Carpet Ride" and the meaning of the song, research further with valid sources. John Kay & Steppenwolf still perform in 2013 and you should contact them on their Internet website at www.steppenwolf.com to get "all the funky details" about this fantastic song. Rock on, Steppenwolf!
- Elmer H, Westville, OK
If it's a drug song, what do the loss of Aladdin's lamp and finding a candle have to do with it?
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
This song is about a drug trip. Everyone knows anyone who "turned on, tuned in, and dropped out" in the 60's wouldn't join a frat! However; since I became aware that some frat boys were using this song it makes it difficult to listen to without thinking of a bunch of spoiled drunk rich kids!
- Bear, Bowling Green, KY
If you have the single version, you not only have the typically shorter but also a rerecording, as became more typical [and one thinks this a more MODERN phenonemon.] Dunhill ABC Paramount, the label [Mamas & Papas, Three Dog Night, Richard Harris, Grass Roots, Barry McGuire and others were in that stable], had a habit of doing different takes [Motown/Rare Earth/Tamla was antoher]. The open vocal fades up in the open in the LP, like in Rare Earth's [Rare Earth rcords] 1970 "I Know". The singing is different too. In addition to the mix and the usual difference in length.
- Steve, Whittier, CA
"wont you come with me lil girl".....love it!
- Betty, Dayton, OH
The version used in the movie "Go" was done by Philip Steir according to http://www.discogs.com/Various-Go-Music-From-The-Motion-Picture/release/263408 you can also sample this version on Amazon.com
- Rikk, Nashville, Tajikistan
The whole fraternity idea is absolutly ignorant, the song was not written for a bunch of panty raiding, daddy's boys IT'S ABOUT DRUGS. For Being college students they dont know s--t!!!!!!!!!
- danielle, tulsa, OK
I am an LCA alumni and can put my two cents in to the myth. I find it hard to believe the band knew about or investigated the rituals of LCA. There is not a chapter in the world that would let a foreigner discover the secret rituals of the fraternity; however, it is pretty impressive how some of the song's lyrics describe a major event that happens in the "hell week" ritual. I think it is just pure coincidence that the artist expressed his lyrics in the way that he did, and the fraternity probably adopted it as a meaningful way of pumping up its members. I will tell you that this song is listened to as if it were written for LCA. When anyone from LCA hears this song they know what it means and will probably start jumping up and down in a frenzy on the first played note :>P Sorry, I cannot go into any further detail than that.
- Brian, Birmingham, AL
LOVE this song! i had it on CD...and i would jam to it everyday!
- Ashley, Moravia, NY
For Your Information , "Magic Carpet Ride" is a slang word for the halluciation caused by the drugs ( barbituates , marijuana , pcp , poppers , and heroin )on the mind and body . .. It has nothing to do with SEX. ..Back when the song came out ( in the mid - late 60s ), alot of Hippies and Flower Children were experiencing with illegal drugs . .. "Magic Carpet Ride" was a term for the effect caused by the drugs !!!
- Chomper, Franjkin County, PA
To me, it's the effect of really getting into a song, listening to it, letting the song take your mind places. An excellent song works better than any drug, if you have a modicum of imagination. ("On a cloud of sound" "let the sound take you away") Geesh...why does everything have to be about either drugs or sex?
- Karen, Manchester, NH
When the singer says the words , "You don't know what we can find ; So won't you come with me little girl , on a magic capet ride . You don't know what we can see ; Why don't you tell your dream to me , fantasy will set you free " , he's saying to the girl that she won't know what she's missing until she tries the drugs and experience the effects for herself .
- Chomper, Franjkin County, PA
Let me first explain that the lyrics have nothing whatsoever to do with sex ; but have to do with the effects of a illegal drugs , like Marajuana ( canabis ) and Amphetamines ( drugs to causes hallucinations ). This song is basically a Psychadelic rock song about the effects of the drugs . The word "Magic carpet Ride" relates to what the drug user feels when he or she is on these illegal drugs : flying as high as a kite ; or more likely , a carpet ride while being stoned .
- Chomper, Franjkin County, PA
the song isnt about sex and CARPET isnt referring to pubic hair on a vagina its referring to riding on a floating carpet through the air geez u people
- Tony, Connellsville, PA
My brother is a LXA member, and he claimed this was about the initiation ritual, but he could have been misled, just as the other bloke, who pointed out all the idiots who synchronize "Dark Side of the Moon" with "The Wizard of Oz."
- oldpink, New Castle, IN
Enlighten us, won't you, on the Lambda Chi symbolism? Otherwise, I'm liable to think that it's retconned and would be an experience somewhat like playing Dark Side of the Moon behind The Wizard of Oz... an interesting syncretism, but not what the music was originally created for.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
Some of the lyrics in Magic Carpet Ride definately have a Lambda Chi connection. It would be a one in a billion coinkydink to suggest otherwise. It comes as no surprise that the Lambda Chi website would attempt to debunk the facts and by their attempt confirms the overwhelming probability of a LXA connection. Dean EZ609
- Dean, Custer, SD
I'm not sure if this song is about lambda chi, but after seeing the original music video, if it's not, there certainly are some interesting coincidinces. Either way, it's fun for us to just ignorantly believe it is and get crazy and out of control when we hear it, that's what frat guys are supposed to do... right?
- Bill, Atlanta, GA
This song is NOT about Lambda Chi. Neither John Kay (born Joachim Fritz Krauledat in East Germany) nor Rushton Moreve were fraternity members.

Lambda Chi's website has a page devoted to debunking of that myth. ( http://www.crossandcrescent.com/2006/07/carpet-ride-unraveled/ )

John Kay swears that Moreve wrote the music, but with very minimal lyrics. He (Kay) then took the demo tape and listened to it on his new "hi-fi" system as the SongFacts state. He then wrote the lyrics (in about 20 minutes) about a ride on the magic carpet of the music: "Let the Sound Take You Away."

There may have been several ways of interpreting the lyrics, but the original concept was based on the magic of music.
- Ray, Bonneville salt flats, UT
To precise Brandon's comment, first song you can hear when Austin Powers travels back to the sixties and his psychedelic mini skids to a stop in the middle of his London pad (means something right?), but then his eyes meet Heather Graham's at the exact second it switches to the Guess Who's American, aren't these just perfect song choices?
- P.A., Paris, France
Lmao... what a dumb ass. Obviously Bubba Zanetti is not a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, or he would know that it has everything to do with our fraternity. The song is a compilation of everything important to John Kay... Pussy, Drugs, and his fraternity. Not necessarily in that order. But, I can personally attest as a member of LCA that it is definitely about us.

LXZ #646
- Josiah, Pittsburgk, KS
This song is definitely written by/about Lambda Chi Alpha. Anyone who is educated in LXA or is a brother will know exactly what I am talking about. If you watch the original music video from the 60's it makes it blatantly obvious.

Oh, and btw the facts on here are from the LXA national newsletter (who wiped their records from being the fraternity because they f--ked up big time and were deactivated).

There is rumors also of a final verse that was edited out. The (rather blank) "jam session" is where the supposed verse was originally at. The rumor is that LXA Nationals threatened to sue because it was too specific in describing its rituals
- John, Chicago, IL
I had heard that this song was written by a couple of Lambda Chi's, and that the lyrics had all sorts of cryptic references to their initiation ceremony. The frat brothers at my college sure seemed to think so, and where always saying stuff like "Whoa man, if you only knew what they were REALLY referring to!" They would always get all rowdy and dance to it like it was their anthem. Turns out it's got nothing to do with Lambda Chi, and those idiots had no clue what they were talking about. Tools.
- Bubba Zanetti, Austin, TX
In Brad Barkley's 2003 novel "Alison's Automotive Repair Manual", which is one of my favorites, there is a mention of "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppinwolf on Page 180 in a section in which the narrator describes Alison driving her dilapidated silver 1976 Corvette (not a particularly valuable car) that she tries in vain to fix up by night with the T-tops off, the radio playing "Magic Carpet Ride" and the Corvette having no license plates and basically no exhaust system.
- Darrell, Eugene
hey i know there was a female singer that did a cover of this song anyone know who it was?
- Damion, kingston, NY
The Big Lebowski, a J, and a white russian are a good trio with this song
- Damon, Beverly Hills, CA
This song was used in Austin Powers 2 when he's dancing in his pad and meets Felicity Shagwell.
- Brandon, Peoria, IL
This song is completly about an Acid trip and bringing a girl along on it. Nothing more.
- Lambda Chi Alpha, Miami, FL
Isnt the song about eatin' p***y. "Magic CARPET ride", come on! It cant be more obvious! "Tell your dreams to me, fantasy will set you free". He wants to (bleep) a chick. And maybe while on acid.....
- jim, new york, NY
Check out the video for the song!!! That answers more questions about what they were thinking about when the song was written and really shows what was happening in the late '60's!!! One place you can see this video is on "Hard Rock & Hard Times" available thru their website!!! When I saw it, looked like a great acid trip to me!!!
- KIM, Orlando, FL
As far as I can recall, the song was written for Candy. Given the nature of the movie, and it's era, it would suggest that feet were well and truly off the ground.
- Hugh, Dunstable, England
Are you sure there are no drug relations in this song? It appears like the whole song is based on the effects of drugs.
- unknown, New York, NY
This song was also covered by a group called Creative Source(Don Wyatt, Barbara Lewis, Steve Flanagan, Celeste Rose, Barbara Berryman) in 1973, their version is very funky.
- Kevin, New York, NY
There are so many stereo types about drugs and of course some people may compare a "Magic Carpet Ride" to an acid trip or something, but I don't think this is SPECIFICALLY about drugs. I think it's about trying something new and trying to convince someone that it's fun.
- Dan, Lee, NH
This is the only song in the movie "Team America: World Police" that wasn't written by Trey Parker.
- David, pepperell, MA
This fab psychedelic song is featured in the mega-hit movie "Apollo 13." When Kevin Bacon gets news over the phone from NASA that he's gonna be one of the spaceship's crew members, he yells "WHAA-OOOOO!" as the song is being played on the radio or tape machine at home in the background. In the scene, he's just been interrupted by the call during sex in the shower with a hot playmate. No doubt that the music was chosen by the film's director Ron Howard to mark the character of the young and hip astronaut Jack Swigert portrayed by Bacon and to help represent a little feeling of swingin' 1970 when the real-life drama occured. BADDA BING!!!
- Leya Qwest, Anchorage, AK
i was told this song is about drugs hence the aladins lamp "wink wink" and all he could find was a candle ":o" shocking
- moose, scocha, NY
Covered by Bedlam. The cover version is played in Reservoir Dogs.
- Amit, Fair Lawn, NJ
It sounds like hes trying to pick up a girl (Underaged) "Come withme little girl" ..and get her high
- Jacquie, Somewhere, Canada
The version by Fatboy Slim was released under the alias The Mighty Dub Katz, and is not strictly a cover of the Steppenwolf tack, although it is loosely based around it.
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
Brett... "Uh"... That "magical trip" is called acid my friend...
- Mariah, Miami, FL
I think the remix for the film "Go" was done by Fatboy Slim
- Cody, new york city, NY
the remix in "go" (i think by crystal method) totally butchered this song
- Taal, Brisbane, Australia
it was also used in star trek:first contact
- jason, wylie, TX
a techno remix of this song was made not to long ago it was featured in the movie go i believe another version was used in the movie coneheads
- jason, wylie, TX
This was in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
- Jonny, Leicster , England
I always think of this as being about a sort of "Captain Jack" character (see the Billy Joel song) who takes you away on a magical, uh, trip.
- Brett, Edmonton, Canada
The SINGLE version is a completly DIFFERENT track than the stereo lp version. The 45 is much more dense sounding, yet sounds muffled a bit.. I actually like the single better.. Dick Bartley has a copy of it on one of his CD's..out of print I think.
- Axel, Toms River, NJ
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