The Portable Recording Studio: Documentary Filmmaking and Live Album Recording, 1967-1969


  • Landon Palmer Indiana University-Bloomington


live music, performance, sound recording, documentary cinema, fidelity


While live performance and rock authenticity are topics widely investigated across popular music studies, cultural studies, and performance studies, the particular media practices that constitute “liveness” in rock music have been treated without rigorous historical specificity. Utilizing the concept of “fidelity” as it has developed within sound media scholarship as a means for historicizing the technological and cultural practices of sound recording, this article examines the construction of liveness through media objects produced via intersecting practices of documentary filmmaking and live album recording. By exploring the operations of filmmaking and sound recording in four live albums produced from North American rock music festivals between 1967 and 1969, this article not only highlights an overlooked history of the relationship between cinema and popular music recording, but also demonstrates how liveness as an experiential category is constituted through media practices not always exclusive to the conventional parameters of popular music industries.

Author Biography

Landon Palmer, Indiana University-Bloomington

Landon Palmer is a PhD Candidate studying Film and Media in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is currently completing his dissertation, Rock Cinema: A New Media History, 1956-1986, which examines the history of cross-industrial practices and transmedial star labor that produced images of popular musicians onscreen. He has published on popular music stardom and the relations between music and film industries for Music, Sound and the Moving Image and Celebrity Studies.



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