Jukebox musical

A jukebox musical is a stage or film musical that uses previously released popular songs as its musical score. Usually the songs have in common a connection with a particular popular musician or group because they were either written by, or for, the artists in question, or at least covered by them. The songs are contextualized into a dramatic plot: often the biographical story of the performer(s) whose music is featured, although in some cases the plot does not revolve around the particular group at all.

A few films described as jukebox musicals feature a rock group or performer playing a fictional version of themselves using previously unreleased new music. For example, Andrew Sarris paid a high compliment to the Beatles first film A Hard Day's Night, calling it "the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals", although all the Beatles songs in it were heard for the first time in this film. This is also true of the Beatles' second and third films, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour, although their fourth film Yellow Submarine featured mostly previously released material. Prior to the Beatles, many Elvis Presley films contained previously unreleased songs. Similarly, in the 1980s, Prince's film Purple Rain in which Prince plays a fictional musician called "The Kid", also features previously unreleased Prince songs.

Other films described as jukebox musicals take all their songs from a single concept album featuring an integrated song cycle with a story arc, sometimes labeled a rock opera. Both the movies of The Who's Tommy and of Pink Floyd's The Wall adapted the entire song cycle of a single album which already revolved around a fictional character.

Although jukebox musicals had achieved success for years (for instance Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, the musical about the life of Buddy Holly which ran in the West End for 13 years from 1989 to 2003), their recent surge in popularity was led by the success of Mamma Mia!, built around the music of ABBA.[1]

Reception of jukebox musicals has been divided, with the most common criticism being that there is too much focus on how many songs can be fit into the musical. Some jukebox musicals, like Lennon and Good Vibrations have been critical and financial flops. Others, like Jersey Boys and All Shook Up have received acclaim and have become popular with fans and critics alike.

The term "jukebox musical" dates at least to 1962,[2] following jukebox (1939), though the general genre – motion pictures consisting largely of hit recordings – dates to the 1940s and 1950s. Examples are Jam Session, An American in Paris (1951), Rock Around the Clock (1956), Juke Box Rhythm (1959), and A Hard Day's Night (1964).

List of jukebox musicals


Year Title Based on the music of
1975 The Night That Made America Famous Harry Chapin
1977 Beatlemania (revue) The Beatles
1977 Elvis Elvis Presley
1978 Ain't Misbehavin' the Harlem Renaissance/Fats Waller


Year Title Based on the music of
1983 Abbacadabra ABBA
1984 Leader of the Pack Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector
1989 Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story Buddy Holly, including many early rock "standards"
1989 Return to the Forbidden Planet 1960's rock and roll


Year Title Based on the music of
1990 Forever Plaid male vocal harmony groups of the 1950s
1990 Five Guys Named Moe Louis Jordan
1995 Smokey Joe's Cafe Leiber and Stoller
1997 Boogie Nights the 70s
1998 Saturday Night Fever Bee Gees
1999 Disco Inferno 1970s disco
1999 Mamma Mia! ABBA
1999 The Marvelous Wonderettes female vocal harmony groups of the 1950s and 1960s


Year Title Based on the music of
2001 Love, Janis Janis Joplin
2001 Shout! The Legend of The Wild One Johnny O'Keefe
2002 We Will Rock You Queen
2002 Our House Madness
2002 Movin' Out Billy Joel
2003 The Boy from Oz Peter Allen
2003 Tonight's The Night Rod Stewart
2003 Belles belles belles Claude François
2003 Winter Wonderettes holiday music, 1960s
2004 On the Record the Walt Disney Company
2004 Beyond the Sea a biopic of Bobby Darin
2005 Back to the 80's! various 80s pop artists
2005 Lennon John Lennon
2005 Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
2005 All Shook Up Elvis Presley
2005 Honky Tonk Laundry country music made famous by female country stars
2005 Jersey Boys Frankie Valli and Four Seasons
2005 Hoy no me puedo levantar Spanish group Mecano
2005 Bésame Mucho Mexican and Cuba Boleros Various Artists
2006 Dusty – The Original Pop Diva Dusty Springfield
2006 Hot Feet Earth, Wind & Fire
2006 Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical Various Artists, based on the movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
2006 Daddy Cool Boney M
2006 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
2006 Rock of Ages Glam metal of the 1980s
2006 Thriller - Live Michael Jackson
2006 The Times They Are A-Changin' Bob Dylan
2006 The Onion Cellar The Dresden Dolls
2006 Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Hits of the 1960s in various artists
2007 Desperately Seeking Susan Blondie
2007 Never Forget Take That
2007 Ich war noch niemals in New York Udo Jürgens
2007 Xanadu Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John
2007 Sunshine on Leith The Proclaimers
2007 The Slide The Beautiful South
2008 All the Fun of the Fair David Essex
2009 Dreamboats and Petticoats based on the album featuring music of the 1960s
2009 Mentiras el musical Mexican songs from 1980s era Various Artists
2009 Fela! Fela Kuti
2009 Life Could Be a Dream Doo-wop music circa 1960


Year Title Based on the music of
2010 Perfect Harmony Various Artists (ranging from The Jackson 5, to Pat Benatar)
2010 Everyday Rapture Various Artists (ranging from Judy Garland and The Supremes, to Mr. Rogers)
2010 Come Fly Away Frank Sinatra
2010 Million Dollar Quartet Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash
2010 American Idiot Green Day
2011 Waiting for a Train Jimmie Rodgers
2011 Baby It's You! The Shirelles
2011 Life in a Nutshell Barenaked Ladies
2011 Si nos dejan Mexican songs from 1930s-1950s era Various Artists
2011 Hinterm Horizont Udo Lindenberg
2012 I Dreamed a Dream various artists, songs covered by Susan Boyle
2012 Viva Forever! Spice Girls
2012 Disaster! Popular songs from the 1970s
2012 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots The Flaming Lips
2013 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Carole King
2013 After Midnight Duke Ellington
2013 Motown: The Musical Motown
2014 Holler If Ya Hear Me Tupac Shakur
2014 Cyrano De Burger Shack Various Artists (ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen, to Smash Mouth)
2015 On Your Feet! Emilio Estefan and Gloria Estefan

List of jukebox musical films

List of jukebox musical TV shows


  1. "Mamma Mia! and the Rise of the Jukebox Musical". Cheap Theater Tickets. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  2. Guide to the Performing Arts: 3460, Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1962, p. 204, "---Kanin, Garson; his jukebox musical with Phil Silvers, Nancy Walker;"

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/8/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.