Live to Tell: Remediating Historical Performance in the Popular Music Biopic

Maurizio Corbella

Abstract


This article explores some of the procedures through which popular music biopics remediate, reactivate, authenticate and in some cases newly create the aura of key performances in the history of popular music. Biopics are not intended as mere story-tellers but as sensory remediators of musical performance. Historical musical events are “re-performed” for a new composite audience, part of which is familiar with the music, and part experiencing it for the first time. For the performative potential of a past musical event to be reactivated, its affordance is updated using current production values. In order to accomplish this, biopics deploy an array of constructive devices. Though the focus is on the contemporary renaissance of the biopic genre, with two recent cases analysed in detail—Walk the Line (2005) and Get On Up (2014)—the starting point for this survey is a less recent example, The Buddy Holly Story (1978).
10.5429/2079-3871(2017)v7i1.4en

Keywords


popular music biopic; popular music performance; remediation; authenticity and authentication; mediatization; performance in film

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References


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