When Easy Rider became a successful film upon release, a decision was made to release a soundtrack album, and most labels agreed to license their tracks to Dunhill/ABC. Only Capitol Records held out, so the Band's version of "The Weight" was replaced by a near-copy recorded by Dunhill act Smith. The soundtrack album also featured some dialogue and sound effects from the film. The result was a commercial bonanza: The album reached the Top Ten and went gold, becoming the second most successful soundtrack LP of the year, after the Nino Rota score to Romeo and Juliet. Just as the film transformed values in Hollywood, the soundtrack album helped give birth to a new business in which soundtrack albums became collections of various pop songs that sometimes out-grossed the films with which they were associated.
Its very success ironically doomed the availability of the Easy Rider soundtrack album, however. By the CD era, the various labels that controlled the songs were no longer happy to license their material, and the album went out of print, although a CD was issued overseas in 1993. Finally, on June 13, 2000, MCA managed to bring the Easy Rider soundtrack album back into print in the U.S. Thirty-one years later, it still sounded like a good thematic collection, reflecting the film's values of drug use and open-road freedom. Songs like "Born to Be Wild" and "The Weight" had long-since been enshrined as rock classics, and the lighter material continued to amuse, confirming Easy Rider as both a historical document and an entertaining listen, especially to those who knew the film.
"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"