Book Chapter

Music / Industry / Politics: Alan Price's Roles in O Lucky Man!



Izod J, Magee K, MacKenzie K & Gourdin-Sangouard I (2010) Music / Industry / Politics: Alan Price's Roles in O Lucky Man!. In: Forster L & Harper S (eds.) British Culture and Society in the 1970s: The Lost Decade. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 201-212.

Prior to directing his 1973 film O Lucky Man!, Lindsay Anderson had been planning to shoot an 'on-the-road' documentary about Alan Price and his band. When this fell through he decided to use them instead in the feature, which is now a neglected critique of British society in the early 1970s. Anderson’s correspondence contains abundant material relating to Price’s work in the film. The music features heavily in these letters, mostly concerned with publicity and promotion. There were, for example, disputes over Alan Price's tour in the US and delays in the album’s release as Warner Bros and Anderson saw both (correctly as it turned out) as important publicity for the film. And indeed the album enjoyed favourable reviews, even more so in the USA where the film too was better received than in Britain. Whilst in marketing O Lucky Man! the band were working in the mainstream, their second function ran counter to dominant culture. Anderson had been influenced by Brecht’s dramatic principles and practice ever since Mother Courage had played in London in 1956. O Lucky Man! was constructed broadly in harmony with those principles and their purpose of casting a new, hard-edged light on contemporary society. So the band participate as characters in the narrative. However, they also comment as if from outside it, functioning through songs written for the production as an all-knowing chorus and providing the moral context that frames the protagonists’ self-seeking behaviour. Our paper investigates the various roles that Alan Price’s band played in O Lucky Man!

Alan Price; Soundtrack; Lindsay Anderson; British films of the 1970s; Anderson, Lindsay, 1923-1994 Criticism and interpretation; Price, Alan, 1941- Criticism and interpretation; O'Lucky Man (Motiona picture : 1973); Motion picture music

Publication date31/12/2010
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Publisher URL…-4438-1734-1.htm
Place of publicationNewcastle upon Tyne

People (2)


Professor John Izod

Professor John Izod

Professor Emeritus, Communications, Media and Culture

Mr Karl Magee

Mr Karl Magee

University Archivist, Library and Archives Research Support