Did You Know? from MetroBlogs

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MB_didyouknow-thumb.jpgA 1994 REM song brought the phrase “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” to the mainstream. But, did you know that the hook and title of that song were actually inspired by a bizarre Manhattan street crime involving a celebrity?

In the Fall of 1986, Dan Rather was strolling along Park Avenue on his way to his apartment when he was hit from behind and knocked down. While down, the attacker continued to beat Rather and repeat the question “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” Rather escaped without major injury, and just passes off the incident as a normal street mugging, which was not at all rare at the time:

I got mugged. Who understands these things? I didn’t and I don’t now. I didn’t make a lot of it at the time and I don’t now. I wish I knew who did it and why, but I have no idea.

Michael Stipe, however, was much more inspired by the incident and penned the popular song in 1994. A few years later, there was a break in the case when a psychiatrist claimed his client William Tager had confessed to the crimes, mistaking Rather for a CBS executive. But many remain skeptical.

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