Remembering Popular Music, Documentary Style:Tony Palmer's History in All You Need Is Love
Over the past forty years, a growing number of television documentaries have attempted to produce a history of Anglo-American popular music for a wide audience. This article represents an attempt to come to terms with the particularity of the popular music documentary form and the different ways in which these documentaries present themselves as authoritative public texts that circulate understandings about popular music's past. The argument is inspired by the landmark mid-1970s installment in this tradition: Tony Palmer's epic seventeen-part narrative, All You Need Is Love. While this series makes strong historical claims-in Palmer's words, it sets out to tell "nothing less than the entire history and development of popular music"-the author argues that the series is, in fact, based on the tropes and discourses of memory. Through an analysis of some of the particular formal and aesthetic characteristics of the series, this article reveals the ways in which talking and thinking about the past of popular music and its culture necessarily call on an experience of the senses that is simultaneously replayed and refracted as memory.
Television & New Media
Screen and Media Culture
Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified