Star Personae and Authenticity in the Country Music Biopic

Bruce Babington

in Film's Musical Moments

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651115 | DOI:
Star Personae and Authenticity in the Country Music Biopic

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With the decline of the classical song and dance musical in the 1960s the genre's most persistant mode of survival has been the biopic. This survival is, however, embodied less in accounts of the lives of the performers or composers of the traditional mainstream popular music of the U.S. musical than of stars of alternative forms, such as rock, jazz and country music. Focusing on a range of country music films, from theatrically released productions such as Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), to the wave of made-for-television biopics that appeared in the 1980s and 1990s, this chapter explores the ways in which they all emphasise the discursive tropes of authenticity and sincerity in their narratives of stars' lives. It shows that the country music film works to negotiate the relationship between these concerns and the celebration of country's increasingly mainstream appeal by insisting on the ‘lived’ nature of country lyrics about heartbreak, divorce and loss.

Keywords: Coal Miner's Daughter; country music; films; biopics; authenticity; stars; sincerity; heartbreak; divorce; loss

Chapter.  6199 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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