Song of the Day: REM – “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”

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Captain Quirk Recalls: This was always an oddly-titled song, but the incident that inspired the title happened on this day in 1986. News anchor Dan Rather was mugged by two men, with one of them repeatedly asking “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” Rather had no idea what the men were talking about, but the saying went on to inspire the title of this song, which isn’t about Rather but instead, as REM singer Michael Stipe put it, is about a “protagonist as a guy who’s desperately trying to understand what motivates the younger generation, who has gone to great lengths to try and figure them out, and at the end of the song it’s completely fucking bogus. He got nowhere.”

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