Question About Music in Easy Rider

There’s a point in Easy Rider where they’re going through, I think, Colorado or something and there’s this very 60’s song about sunlight through leaves. Does anyone else remember this?

What was the name of the song?

I remember liking it, but I’ve never been able to find it.

“I Was Not Born to Follow,” written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, performed by the Byrds.

Wow - excellent!

Should have asked that here years ago - I’m always amazed at how fast I can find music by asking here.

To be totally anally nitpicking, it’s actually ‘Wasn’t Born To Follow’.

Well, if it wasn’t “Born to Follow”, then what was the song, then?


What’s on second.

True, that’s the title on the Byrds’ recording. It was also recorded the same year by the Lemon Pipers, and their version used the title as I gave it.

The name of the song is called “Haddock’s Eyes.”

Well what’s the song called?

Go Ask Alice. (I Think She’ll Know.)

If she doesn’t, the rabbit does.

Yes, you’re right - and two other groups called it that: The City and Roots66.

Apart from the Byrds, the following used the ‘Wasn’t’ title:

Les Fradkin
The Gordons
Verdant Mile
Tracy Grammer
Carole King
Carol Laula
Roger McGuinn
The Sadies
Dusty Springfield

I’m surprised that there aren’t more versions: it is a beautiful song.

Now that the OP has been answered, I wonder if I can piggyback on this thread with a question I’ve always had about Born To Be Wild.

From the first verse: “Get your motor runnin’/Head out on the highway/Looking for adventure/In whatever comes our way…”
It seems to me like “my way” would have tracked much better following “highway” than “our way” does.

Then, later on: “Like a true nature’s child/We were born, born to be wild/We can climb so high/**I **never wanna die.”
Kind of a clumsy mix if singular and plural in this verse, IMO.

According to Wikipedia, Steppenwolf did release the single before it was used in Easy Rider. But is it at all possible that some sort of deal was made before they recorded it, and thus it was hastily edited from being about a rebellious loner to working as a theme song for two bikers?

Or am I crazy?

Here’s the song on YouTube. Love it! I saw this movie in the theater and owned the soundtrack. My dad was really into motorcycle movies, such as American International films, and I saw them all as a kid. He took us to this not knowing anything about it and was appalled, I think starting right around the time the words “Goddamn, the Pusher Man” started wafting from the screen. He tried to get my brother and I to leave but we wouldn’t. He couldn’t force us without making a huge scene in the crowded theater, so he had to sit through the whole thing. Bro and I got into a lot of trouble, but it was worth it. We’d never seen ANYTHING like it and were giddy with discovery. I wore that soundtrack out. In retrospect I was destined for a life of appreciating weird music because “If You Wanna Be A Bird” was just about my favorite song.

Seems unlikely to me. FWIW, I never thought of the song as being about a loner. I always vaguely assumed it was about a gang, or even bikers in general. Note that it begins by addressing the listener: “Get your motor running.” That sounds to me like an invitation to join the singer’s way of life.

Easy Rider used nothing but existing songs. Which makes sense – Hopper’s budget didn’t allow him to commission anyone. “Born to be Wild” was released in 1968; the movie came out in 1969. The song was unchanged for the movie.

The soundtrack album used the same songs but one – “The Weight” by the Band. The Band refused permission for the record, so a version by Smith was used.

I just saw this movie for the first time this last Saturday - my husband couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before. The whole soundtrack is excellent. The movie? Meh. It was ok, I guess. I guess I don’t really “get it”. That’s what the husband says, anyway.

Then we watched Boondock Saints, my new favorite movie of all time! And that’s how Missy spent her weekend!

It makes sense if you imagine he’s hitting the road with someone else.

What about the Ballad of Easy Rider?

I was always under the impression that it was the only song written for the film.

If you ever want to know the songs that are heard in a movie, look up the movie in the IMDb, then click on “Soundtrack” in the left column.