‘Knowledge of Beatles songs and McCartney parts essential’

Tribute acts, the music industries and the value of heritage

Authored by: Shane Homan

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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The tribute act – musicians who perform the songs of a well-known artist, or a distinctive musical era – successfully invoke combinations of prior generational experiences and cultural memories, acting as sites of consecration within national, regional or global live music circuits. This chapter examines the changing understandings of popular music heritage in relation to tributes across legal, ethical, cultural and commercial landscapes. Packaged tours of tribute acts celebrating particular pop eras or decades have increased, along with the number of ‘iconic’ artists crafting shows designed to fortify their heritage status. Examining the contemporary practices of key British rock stars from the 1960s, it is argued that the heritage rock performance now stands closer to the tribute in the construction of particular sounds and histories, where this interdependence of past and present has become a staple of music industry capitalism.

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