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Rock 'N' FilmCinema's Dance With Popular Music$
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David E. James

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199387595

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199387595.001.0001

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Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide Film

Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide Film

(p.367) 18 Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide Film
Rock 'N' Film

David E. James

Oxford University Press

By the early 1970s in the United Kingdom, the utopian hopes of biracial, Anglo‐American rock ’n’ roll were in disarray, and British studios of the glam rock era marketed narratives of rock ’n’ roll’s dystopian integration with corrupt business and political interests. Anticipated by Privilege (1967), Peter Watkins’s portrayal of rock culture as quasi‐fascist, these included two films starring David Essex that narrated the emergence and decline of English rock ’n’ roll: That’ll Be the Day (1973) and Stardust (1974). Meanwhile, D. A. Pennebaker made a documentary about the era’s most enigmatic performer, David Bowie; Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973) seemed to exploit all the dire predictions about rock ’n’roll’s suicide, while paradoxically reasserting the communitarian bonds between performer and fans.

Keywords:   glam rock, Privilege, Peter Watkins, David Essex, That’ll Be the Day, Stardust, D. A. Pennebaker, David Bowie

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