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  1. #1
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    BackTrack Spotlight: "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf



    Each week we showcase an existing song from our extensive Rocksmith song library on the weekly Twitch stream, in addition to the current week's offerings. We’ll announce the BackTrack here each Wednesday and offer some thoughts about the featured song.


    This week's BackTrack Spotlight comes from notetracker Anthony Martinez.


    Steppenwolf -- "Born to Be Wild"
    Originally released as Rocksmith DLC on January 23, 2013
    Notetracked by Anthony Martinez
    All arrangements in E Standard Tuning


    The 1968 hit “Born to be Wild” was originally written as a ballad by Dennis Edmonton, brother of Steppenwolf drummer, Jerry Edmonton. The band ultimately decided to spice things up with flashy guitar work, gritty vocals, and a pounding backbeat that drives the song across psychedelic bridges. But what makes this song particularly memorable is the vocal hook “Born to be Wild,” not to mention all of the catchy instrumental phrases that occur before and around it. Thanks to Edmonton’s clever songwriting, Steppenwolf recorded one of the most iconic songs in rock history.

    Inspired by classic blues progressions in E, “Born to be Wild” opens with a guitar hook that consists of the following two-note intervals:

    E5 – E6 – E7

    Or, in terms of intervallic definition:

    Perfect fifth – Major sixth – minor seventh

    Notice how each interval is rooted in E and that the only thing that changes is the upper voice – i.e. 5 to 6, and 6 to 7. While this idea may be simple, the writer used it to craft a guitar phrase that became an immediately identifiable part of the song.

    The same instrumental hook is showcased in the verses, and supports a call and response sequence between the guitarist and vocalist. Call and response describes a succession of two unique phrases, where one is answered by another. In this context, the vocalist sings a lyric and then the guitarist answers with a portion of the same riff he played in the introduction. This display of call and response demonstrates how a simple idea can carry a song and make it interesting. The guitar work and vocals are not particularly flashy in the verses, but each player serves the song tastefully with phrases that hook the listener.

    The most prominent hooks occur just after the second and third choruses, where the vocalist chants “Born to be wild” on top of a modest E – D chord progression. In an effort to provide the front man with room to shine, the rest of the band performs conservatively, playing whole-notes (pitches that are held for a total of four beats) on each downbeat. Additionally, the keyboardist reinforces the famous vocal hook by echoing the same melody, thus initiating another call and response sequence.

    Amidst all of the vocal and instrumental hooks, “Born to be Wild” features groovy basslines and fast minor pentatonic guitar licks. This song is fun to play, and it will challenge any guitarist to transition from barre chords to single-note melodies at a moment’s notice. Give “Born to be Wild” a shot on lead guitar and see if you can identify the hooks discussed in this article.

    What are some of your other favorite hooks in guitar rock classics? Do you have suggestions for future BackTrack Spotlight articles? Chime in below!
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  2. #2
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    BackTrack Spotlight: "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf



    Each week we showcase an existing song from our extensive Rocksmith song library on the weekly Twitch stream, in addition to the current week's offerings. We’ll announce the BackTrack here each Wednesday and offer some thoughts about the featured song.


    This week's BackTrack Spotlight comes from notetracker Anthony Martinez.


    Steppenwolf -- "Born to Be Wild"
    Originally released as Rocksmith DLC on January 23, 2013
    Notetracked by Anthony Martinez
    All arrangements in E Standard Tuning


    The 1968 hit “Born to be Wild” was originally written as a ballad by Dennis Edmonton, brother of Steppenwolf drummer, Jerry Edmonton. The band ultimately decided to spice things up with flashy guitar work, gritty vocals, and a pounding backbeat that drives the song across psychedelic bridges. But what makes this song particularly memorable is the vocal hook “Born to be Wild,” not to mention all of the catchy instrumental phrases that occur before and around it. Thanks to Edmonton’s clever songwriting, Steppenwolf recorded one of the most iconic songs in rock history.

    Inspired by classic blues progressions in E, “Born to be Wild” opens with a guitar hook that consists of the following two-note intervals:

    E5 – E6 – E7

    Or, in terms of intervallic definition:

    Perfect fifth – Major sixth – minor seventh

    Notice how each interval is rooted in E and that the only thing that changes is the upper voice – i.e. 5 to 6, and 6 to 7. While this idea may be simple, the writer used it to craft a guitar phrase that became an immediately identifiable part of the song.

    The same instrumental hook is showcased in the verses, and supports a call and response sequence between the guitarist and vocalist. Call and response describes a succession of two unique phrases, where one is answered by another. In this context, the vocalist sings a lyric and then the guitarist answers with a portion of the same riff he played in the introduction. This display of call and response demonstrates how a simple idea can carry a song and make it interesting. The guitar work and vocals are not particularly flashy in the verses, but each player serves the song tastefully with phrases that hook the listener.

    The most prominent hooks occur just after the second and third choruses, where the vocalist chants “Born to be wild” on top of a modest E – D chord progression. In an effort to provide the front man with room to shine, the rest of the band performs conservatively, playing whole-notes (pitches that are held for a total of four beats) on each downbeat. Additionally, the keyboardist reinforces the famous vocal hook by echoing the same melody, thus initiating another call and response sequence.

    Amidst all of the vocal and instrumental hooks, “Born to be Wild” features groovy basslines and fast minor pentatonic guitar licks. This song is fun to play, and it will challenge any guitarist to transition from barre chords to single-note melodies at a moment’s notice. Give “Born to be Wild” a shot on lead guitar and see if you can identify the hooks discussed in this article.

    What are some of your other favorite hooks in guitar rock classics? Do you have suggestions for future BackTrack Spotlight articles? Chime in below!
    Share this post

  3. #3
    stray75's Avatar Senior Member
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    Whoa Dan - A foray into theory! If I'm not mistaken, this is the first BTS with your name on it...awesome & looking forward to seeing the songs you note-track next! Broad scope of expertise!!!
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  4. #4
    thoman23's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by DanAmrich Go to original post
    This week's BackTrack Spotlight comes from notetracker Anthony Martinez.
    Originally Posted by stray75 Go to original post
    Whoa Dan - A foray into theory! If I'm not mistaken, this is the first BTS with your name on it...awesome & looking forward to seeing the songs you note-track next! Broad scope of expertise!!!
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  5. #5
    BazzTard61's Avatar Banned
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    what part of This week's BackTrack Spotlight comes from notetracker Anthony Martinez. did you miss? lol
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  6. #6
    I think he means the post. It's usually posted by Jarred McAdams.
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  7. #7
    Silly stray75, everyone knows that Dan is the community manager; he doesn't really take charge of notetracking or other super-technical video gamey nonsense.

    On a side note, I've always wanted to see a Backtrack Spotlight on Blackbird by Alter Bridge. It's finally time to dissect that song's unusual chords and rockin' solo.
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  8. #8
    I am really having trouble picturing "Born to be Wild" as a ballad....
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  9. #9
    stray75's Avatar Senior Member
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    Uh...yeah...my bad ...I was thrown off by Dan's picture on the side...feel $tupid
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  10. #10
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    No worries. Jarred was on vacation, and I actually used to post these before he took over the reins. Like you guys, I am but a student when it comes to the Backtrack articles -- I am the internal test for these and I often say things like "Nope, dumb it down some more for me please."
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  11. #11
    DanAmrich's Avatar Rocksmith Dev Team
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    No worries. Jarred was on vacation, and I actually used to post these before he took over the reins. Like you guys, I am but a student when it comes to the Backtrack articles -- I am the internal test for these and I often say things like "Nope, dumb it down some more for me please."
    Share this post