Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Motorcycles/Music in Easy Rider.

Easy Rider(1969). Written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It tells the story of two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South. The film Easy Rider helped start the New Hollywood phase of film making during the sixties. The film was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998.

A landmark film that "captured the national imagination", Easy Rider is about the issues in the United States during the 1960s, such as the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, and communal lifestyle. Easy Rider is famous for its use of real drugs.

The motorcycles in the film, were based on hardtail frames and Panhead engines, were designed and built by chopper builders Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, following ideas of Peter Fonda. Four former police officer bikes were used in the film. The 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide bikes were purchased at an auction. Each bike had a backup to make sure that shooting could continue in case one of the old machines failed or got wrecked accidentally. One "Captain America" was demolished in the final scene, while the other three were stolen. The demolished bike was rebuilt by Dan Haggerty and shown in a museum. He sold it at an auction in 2001.

Hopper and Fonda hosted a wrap party for the movie and then realized they hadn't shot the final campfire scene. Shot after the bikes had already been stolen, is why they are not in the background as in the other campfire scenes.

Fun Fact:

Stephen Stills wrote the song "Find the Cost of Freedom" at Dennis Hopper's request, for use with the final scene. Hopper ended up not using it, and the song was eventually released as the B-side to Crosby Stills Nash & Young's single "Ohio". CSNandY often used it to close their concerts.

Sound tracks used in the film:

"The Pusher"
Performed by Steppenwolf
Composed by Hoyt Axton

"Born to Be Wild"
Performed by Steppenwolf
Composed by Mars Bonfire

"I Wasn't Born to Follow"
Performed by The Byrds
Composed by Gerry Goffin & Carole King

"The Weight"
Performed by The Band
Composed by Robbie Robertson (as Jaime Robbie Robertson)

"If You Want to Be a Bird"
Performed by The Holy Modal Rounders
Composed by Antonia Duren

"Don't Bogart Me"
Performed by Fraternity of Man
Composed by Elliot Ingber (as Elliott Ingber) & Larry Wagner

"If Six Was Nine"
Performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Composed by Jimi Hendrix

"Let's Turkey Trot"
Performed by Little Eva
Composed by Gerry Goffin & Jack Keller

"Kyrie Eleison"
Performed by The Electric Prunes
Composed by David A. Axelrod (as David Axelrod)

"Flash, Bam, Pow"
Performed by Electric Flag (as The Electric Flag), An American Music Band
Composed by Mike Bloomfield

"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"
Performed by Roger McGuinn
Composed by Bob Dylan

"Ballad of Easy Rider"
Performed by Roger McGuinn
Composed by Roger McGuinn

"When the Saints Go Marching In"
Heard at the Mardi Gras

"She'll be coming around the Mountain"
Heard at the commune

"Do your ears hang low?"
Heard at the commune

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