STEPPENWOLF, 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 Hopper put 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 on the Easy Rider soundtrack:

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:

  • Albert Grossman was famous for rarely allowing his artists performances to appear in movies, which is why The Band andJ anis Joplin weren't in Woodstock and why Dylan and The Band's songs are sung by McGuinn and the group Smith on the Easy Ridersound track album, although The Band's version of "The Weight" does appear in the movie.
  • Fonda has a long friendship with Steppenwolf frontman John Kay and famously appeared in a Mercedes Benz ad featuring "Born to Be Wild" that ran during the Super Bowl in 2017.


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