The popular music industry has become completely interlinked with the film industry. The majority of mainstream films come with ready-attached songs that may or may not appear in the film but nevertheless will be used for publicity purposes and appear on a soundtrack album. In many cases, popular music in films has made for some of the most striking moments in films and the most dramatic aesthetic action in cinema, like Ben relaxing in the pool to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ in The Graduate (1967), and the potter’s wheel sequence with the Righteous Brothers’ ‘Unchained Melody’ in Ghost (1990). Yet, to date, there have only been patchy attempts to deal with popular music’s relationship with film. Indeed, it is startling that there is so little written on subject that is so popular as a consumer item and thus has a significant cultural profile.
Magical Musical Tour is the first sustained and focused survey to engage the intersection of the two on both an aesthetic and industrial level. The chapters are historically-inspired reviews, discussing many films and musicians, while others will be more concentrated and detailed case studies of single films. Including an accompanying website and a timeline giving a useful snapshot around which readers can orient the book, Kevin Donnelly explores the history of the intimate bond between film and music, from the upheaval that rock’n’roll caused in the mid-1950s to the more technical aspects regarding ‘tracking’ and ‘scoring’.
“By syncing ‘1, 2, 3, 4!’ with ‘Lights, Camera, Action!,’ Donnelly offers an illuminating recontextualization of cinema’s pop aspirations and pop imagination – from the classics to the curate’s eggs. Magical Musical Tour is one of the precious few studies to venture out into that contested interzone of vinyl and celluloid, and film criticism and liner notes, and across paralleled galaxies of star systems. Donnelly mediates deftly between the projected visualities of pop music soundscapes, and the bootleg mixtapes embedded in feature films.” ―Benjamin Halligan, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies for the College of Arts and Social Science, University of Salford, UK and author of Desires for Reality: Radicalism and Revolution in Western European Film
“The relationship between music and film has been an emerging field of study in recent decades. In Magical Musical Tour, K.J. Donnelly expands the niche that focuses on rock-influenced popular music in film, and the subsequent musical outgrowths of that style such as hip hop and rap. Scoring eclecticism was spawned in the 1950’s and 60’s and has its roots partially from the increased use of popular music in film. The 1970’s and 80’s were witness to the increasing transmutation of rock and pop musicians as films composers that continues to this day. Donnelly examines how pop and rock scores not only enhanced and replaced traditional scoring, but generated their own genre of film, the rock documentary. With Magical Musical Tour, Donnelly provides academics and enthusiasts alike an in-depth discussion exclusively dedicated to the contributions that rock and popular music bring to the evolution of film-scoring.” ―Elizabeth Morrow, Retired Professor of Music, University of Texas at Arlington, USA
Engages with rock and pop music’s use in films both on an aesthetic and industrial level, embracing historical context and close analysis.