How Tribute Bands Preserve the Soundtrack of the Past

Back in the ‘70s, cover bands were the purview of tiny clubs and bars, and only known to the hometown crowd out for a night of live music. That has all changed in recent years. These days, tribute bands have become an important part of the live music scene throughout the country and have been a fixture of many music festivals for years.

The idea behind tribute bands involves recreating the songs, sound composition, and performance of a particular band or artist as a way of honoring their musical talent and their contributions to the music world. Over the past several decades, an entire industry has been based around tribute bands, and many bands even have their own fanbases.

Tribute bands first came into the spotlight in the 1960’s, the very first tribute acts or bands being Elvis impersonators. However, it was the Beatles that paved the way for the creation of “bona fide” tribute bands, ones in which each group member was responsible for “playing” one of the Fab Four. 

The Buggs, a Beatles tribute band, started performing in the mid-1960’s and was most likely the world’s first recognized tribute band. The group even went on to release an album, The Beetle Beat, with some original songs as well as cover versions of She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand.

However, it was the Broadway rockumentary, Beatlemania, which ran from 1977 to 1979 that is most likely responsible for the popularity of the tribute band. What was unusual about this show was that the producers hired local performers at each venue to play the Beatles and their music so that, by the time the show ended in 1979, many Beatles tribute bands had sprung up around the country.

An interesting side note in the history of the tribute band: many of the world’s best tribute bands hail from Australia. Why? Many well-known bands and acts were reluctant to put the country on their tour itineraries which led to a significant rise in homegrown Aussie tribute bands.

By the beginning of the 21st century, tribute bands had become an important part of the live music industry, and they remain hugely popular today, so much so that some of the country’s biggest live tribute bands find themselves working all the time!  

What’s the reason behind the popularity of tribute bands? For most people, tribute bands provide the opportunity to hear the music of their favorite bands without having to shell out the money for expensive tickets. Also, tribute bands are most often playing the music of bands that were popular in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, many of which are no longer performing. Tribute bands keep their music alive for fans of all ages.

Finally, tribute bands faithfully recreate the versions best known to listeners, whereas the original bands have either dropped some of the hits from their set lists, or changed them up so as to make them more interesting to the performers.

If you love the experience of seeing live music, tribute bands provide the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy an authentic concert experience by your favorite band…..well, almost!

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