In 1984, MTV had a show titled “Rock Influences,” and it was taped in a concert setting at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic. The June 9, 1984 concert/taping was devoted to folk-rock and featured R.E.M., Roger McGuinn (formerly of The Byrds), John Sebastian, The Band, Richie Havens and Jesse Colin Young. R.E.M., which had only been around for a few years at that point, played a complete set that included collaborations with McGuinn and Sebastian.
The Byrds, obviously, had a huge influence on R.E.M.’s sound, and it sounded completely natural when McGuinn sang and played the ’67 Byrds hit “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” with them. It worked well, too, because the song is written from the point of view of someone talking to a potential rock ‘n’ roll star, so it almost seems as if McGuinn is warily giving the younger musicians advice.
It was R.E.M.’s first appearance at The Capitol, but they were back four months later, headlining their own concert, with support from The dB’s.
Check it out below.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.