Steppenwolf and The Byrds honoring 'Easy Rider'

A newly remastered version of the 1969 film classic Easy Rider will be screened at Radio City Music Hall on September 20th, with its soundtrack performed live and in sync with the film.

The first-of-its-kind performance will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie’s July 14th, 1969 theatrical release.

John Kay of Steppenwolf and Byrds founding member Roger McGuinn will perform the songs accompanied by musicians directed by T-Bone Burnett.

The film’s star, co-writer and producer Peter Fonda is co-producing the event. He tells us about how he and co-star and director Dennis Hopperput together the film's groundbreaking soundtrack, which featured such classic songs as “Born To Be Wild,” “The Weight,” and “Ballad of Easy Rider."

Peter Fonda talked about the Easy Rider soundtrack: “That was the first time a soundtrack of already-released and hit tunes, in their own genres, had ever been put to a movie and it cost me $1,000 for every person on the cuts. Bob Dylan got a thousand and the people backing him up each got a thousand – that’s how I did it. Today, you couldn’t pull it off.”

Fonda explains that in the end, due to Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, they were unable to have any of Dylan’s performances in the film, and it was left to McGuinn to write “Ballad of Easy Rider,” with uncredited input from Bob.

Peter Fonda: “We couldn’t use his recording because of Albert, but he said, ‘Have McGuinn do it’ and it was great.” 

As for his famous line at the conclusion of the movie, Fonda has this to say:

“In the end of Easy Rider when I say, ‘We blew it,’ I look out today and I’m saying, ‘Have things gotten better?’ I don’t think so.” 

 
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