Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

A must read film music book this Autumn

Published: 10 November 2015
Magical Music Tour

Dr Kevin Donnelly, Reader in Film Studies at the University of Southampton and a film music historian/theoretician, has just published a new book, Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks. Wow 24/7, an online entertainment portal under the multimedia company Johnston Press, lists this book as one of the fourteen books every music lover should read this autumn.

Magical Musical Tour is the first sustained and focused survey to engage the intersection of film and music on both an aesthetic and industrial level. The chapters include historically-inspired reviews, discussing many films and musicians, while others will be more concentrated and detailed case studies of single films. There is an accompanying website and a timeline giving a useful snapshot around which readers can orient the book. Kevin explores the history of the intimate bond between film and music, from the upheaval that rock’n’roll caused in the mid-1950s to the more technical aspects regarding ‘tracking’ and ‘scoring’, running from David Bowie’s ‘score that never was’ for The Man Who Fell to Earth to censored rap music in Bad Lieutenant.

The book is highly regarded among film academics:

‘By syncing “1, 2, 3, 4!” with “Lights, Camera, Action!”, Donnelly offers an illuminating recontextualization of cinema’s pop aspirations and pop imagination – from the classics to the curate’s eggs. Magical Musical Tour is one of the precious few studies to venture out into that contested interzone of vinyl and celluloid, and film criticism and liner notes, and across paralleled galaxies of star systems. Donnelly mediates deftly between the projected visualities of pop music soundscapes, and the bootleg mixtapes embedded in feature films.’ – Benjamin Halligan, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies for the College of Arts and Social Science, University of Salford, UK and author of Desires for Reality: Radicalism and Revolution in Western European Film

‘The relationship between music and film has been an emerging field of study in recent decades. In Magical Musical Tour, K.J. Donnelly expands the niche that focuses on rock-influenced popular music in film, and the subsequent musical outgrowths of that style such as hip hop and rap. Scoring eclecticism was spawned in the 1950’s and 60’s and has its roots partially from the increased use of popular music in film. The 1970’s and 80’s were witness to the increasing transmutation of rock and pop musicians as films composers that continues to this day. Donnelly examines how pop and rock scores not only enhanced and replaced traditional scoring, but generated their own genre of film, the rock documentary. With Magical Musical Tour, Donnelly provides academics and enthusiasts alike an in-depth discussion exclusively dedicated to the contributions that rock and popular music bring to the evolution of film-scoring.’ – Elizabeth Morrow, Retired Professor of Music, University of Texas at Arlington, USA

* Kevin Donnelly’s Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks (New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015) <

The book is available on Amazon (UK) now:

* Wow 24/7


Privacy Settings