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Today's ear X-tacy: R.E.M. "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?"

Today's ear X-tacy features a classic track or deep-cut from the Alternative era every weekday at 10:10

Taken from their ninth studio album, Monster, R.E.M.'s “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” was released as a single on September 5, 1994. The song's title refers to an incident in New York City in 1986, when two assailants attacked journalist Dan Rather, while repeating "Kenneth, what is the frequency?"

Lead singer Michael Stipe says the song is an attack on the media, who over-analyze things they don't understand. Bassist Mike Mills called it, "one of my favorite rockers in our canon, touching on pop culture and yet with balls."

Guitarist Peter Buck recalled this experience in the liner notes for In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003: "I like Dan Rather. He's a fine newsman, an interesting person to talk to, and quite a bit nuttier than most of those media types (I consider that a good thing). That said, nothing in my rich and varied life prepared me for the experience of performing behind him as he 'danced' and 'sang' 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?'"

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK. Email John at jtimmons@lpm.org