Snowblind Friend

Album: Steppenwolf 7 (1970)
Charted: 60

Songfacts®:

  • "Snowblind Friend" was written by Hoyt Axton, who first released it on his 1969 album My Griffin Is Gone. The song is about one of his friends who succumbed to a drug overdose. Unlike the many songs that glamorize drug use as part of the rock and roll lifestyle, there is no glory in this story, as we hear about the troubled addict getting high in "some unholy bathroom in some ungodly hall," and how his friends who found him dead must now tell his family.

    Axton had his own problems with drug addiction, and did what he could to warn of the dangers.
  • Steppenwolf recorded the most popular version of this song in 1970 on their Steppenwolf 7 album. In 1968, they covered another anti-drug song written by Hoyt Axton, "The Pusher," on their debut album. Axton's songs weren't all doom and gloom: He wrote the song "Joy To The World," which Steppenwolf passed on, choosing "Snowblind Friend" instead.

    In a Songfacts interview with the group's lead singer, John Kay, he explained: "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."

    "Joy To The World" ended up going to Three Dog Night, which had a #1 hit with it.
  • This song introduced the word "snowblind" to rock music lexicon as a way to describe addiction, specifically to cocaine. Black Sabbath released their "Snowblind" in 1972; Styx used the title for a track on their 1981 Paradise Theater album.
  • Hoyt Axton's My Griffin Is Gone is one of those albums that was more appreciated long after it was released. A collection of compact, insightful songs, many with orchestral backing, it sold poorly and got Axton dropped from his label, Columbia. He soon emerged as a hit songwriter, and those who sought out his solo material were quite pleased with My Griffin Is Gone. The album got an expanded re-release in 2008.

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