Music Video Of The Day: What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? by R.E.M. (1994, directed by Peter Care)


On October 4th, 1986, CBS News anchor Dan Rather was attacked on the streets of New York by a man who, as he pummeled Rather, repeatedly shouted, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?!”  When a doorman intervened to protect Rather, the man took off running.  (Some accounts say that there were actually two men attacking Rather.)

Though he wouldn’t be identified for another 11 years, the attacker’s name was William Tager.  Tager believed that the television networks were beaming signals into his brain.  In 1994, he killed a stagehand while trying to force his way into NBC studios.  In 1997, while Tager was serving a 25-year prison sentence, he was identified as the man who had attacked Rather.  Tager was subsequently paroled in 2010.

The same year that Tager was arrested, R.E.M. released a song called What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?  Though the song was clearly inspired by the attack on Rather, lead singer Michael Stipe has also said that the song was about an older man trying to understand the younger generation.

The video for What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? was directed by frequent R.E.M. collaborator Peter Care and features the band performing the song.  The jacket worn by bassist Mike Mills once belonged to the legendary Gram Parsons.

Rumors that R.E.M. stands for “Rather’s Ear Muffs” were once popular but have been denied by the band.  Instead, Michael Stipe selected the name after randomly coming across “Rapid Eye Movement” in the dictionary.

One response to “Music Video Of The Day: What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? by R.E.M. (1994, directed by Peter Care)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 12/3/18 — 12/9/18 | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.