How The Music Industry Utilized Film To Help Create The Image Of Rock Star Icons

1279 words - 6 pages

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 personalities of each of the band members as well as highlight their sense of humour. (1997:23). While all the members had the longer mop-top hairstyles, that had become a symbol of rebellion and youth counterculture, it was this individualism that helped expand their audience base; for each member proved their Rock rebel status beyond the group and were marketable to different factions of the audience. (1997:24) For example, George shows his rebel streak against traditional fashion when he speaks against the choices of ‘professional trendsetter,’ stating: “You mean that posh bird who gets everything wrong?” Ringo in an interview refuses to be defined and as such when asked “Are you a Mod or a Rocker?” he replies “I’m a mocker.” Similarly John also makes quick witted remarks to reporters such as: “How did you find America?” “Turned left at Greenland.” While Paul’s rebellious side is evident in the train scene when a fellow passenger tries to take away their music, “Yeah, but we want to hear it, and there's more of us than you. We're a community, like, a majority vote. Up the workers and all that stuff!”
While it was HDN that helped merge The Beatles’ youth audience with a more adult crowd, thanks to the mature verite style...

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