Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Jones, Mark. “‘Going Through the Motions’: The Tribute Band Phenomenon.” Genre 34 (2001): 265–78.

Tributism, describing the continuing phenomenon of tribute bands, does not engage historically with its musical sources, but instead presents them atemporally, challenging our ability to locate and validate music. Beginning in Australia during the 1970s, tributism is primarily a “live” phenomenon rather than recorded one, springing from the absence of the original or real musical act. This is different from cover or cabaret bands who perform music by other artists in the presentation of a tribute band as a surrogate for the original without a performing identity of their own. Tribute bands are most successful when emulating the recorded material of their source, creating new “live” versions of a recording. Consequently, bands like The Rolling Stones, who are more famous for their concerts than their albums, do not get as many tribute band as groups like The Beatles, who are most famous for their albums and did not tour for much of their career. Tributism can affect the way an audience views a “real” act as well. Large music festivals, where guests are not inclined to participate with the performance as intimately, can cause re-formed and comeback bands to be received as effectively their own tribute band. Even original bands like Oasis, who co-opt the position and image of The Beatles rather than their music, get mired in tributism. Ultimately, tributism is not self-referential but rather representational, challenging traditional postmodern reading of the phenomenon. The audience of a tribute band effectively becomes more important to the performance than the performers themselves.

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Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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