How the Music Industry Utilized Film to Help Create the Image of Rock Star Icons

How the Music Industry Utilized Film to Help Create the Image of Rock Star Icons

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With all the social, political and cultural changes occurring in the 1960s, youth culture was embracing the ideologies of rebellion and counterculture. The Folk music of the sixties was giving way to the new Rock revolution and with this came the iconic Rock Rebel. The Rock Rebel is a romanticized existential figure who revolts against social conventions in a quest to find value or a sense of freedom beyond the pre-existing conforms of society. (Camus; 1967) Through analysing, in a sociological context, the way the music industry utilized film to help create or reinvent star image of Rock icons The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, we can see how the signifier of the Rock Rebel has evolved with the developing Rock culture. (Dyer; 1979:1)

Even before first staring in the 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night (HDN), The Beatles had already become acclaimed on a global scale and it was this initial film, made purely for soundtrack marketability, which proved instrumental in evolving The Beatles from teen idols into more complex figures worthy of acceptance into “the pantheon of family favourites.” (Neaverson; 1997:11-12) Emulating aspects of The French New Wave, this kitchen sink, mock-documentary film revolted against the classic dramatized jukebox film which previously standardized the British pop film. (Medhurst; 1995: 61) The two main factors in this film which helped reinvent the band’s image were Alun Owen’s script and Richard Lester’s control over the bands reflective working-class provincial image. (Neaverson; 1997: 21-22) The script, which was infused with colloquialisms and Liverpool slang, not only rejected the overly paternalistic moral code evident in previous pop culture films, but also helped develop the individual personalitie...

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...ure, pp. 94-105

Medhurst, A. 1995, “It Sort of Happened Here: The Strange Brief Life of the British Pop Film,” Celluloid jukebox: popular music and the movies since the 50s, pp. 60-71

Neaverson, B. 1997, “You Can Do That! A Hard Day’s Night,” The Beatles Movies, pp. 15-30

Schowalter, D. 2000, “Remembering the Dangers of Rock and Roll: Towards a Historical Narrative of the Rock Festival,” Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 86-101

Sinyard, N. 1985, “2. Swingin’ Sixties.” The Films of Richard Lester, pp 19-38

A Hard Day's Night. 1964. [film] England: Lester, R.; United Artist.

Cocksucker Blues. n.p. [film] England: Frank, R.

Gimme Shelter. 1970. [film] England: Maysles A. & D. & Zwerin, C.; Maysles Films.

Help!. 1965. [film] England: Lester, R.; United Artist.

Yellow Submarine. 1968. [film] England: Dunning, D.; United Artist.

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