Tribute acts are huge business, and some of the very best are capable of filling venues of a comparable size to those played by the musicians they salute. The likes of Björn Again, The Counterfeit Stones (whose picture graces the front of this tome) and The Bootleg Beatles may be the most enduring and successful in the field, but an estimated 10,000 groups of doppelgangers are currently doing the rounds in the UK alone.
It’s an area of the music industry ripe for serious analysis, and media lecturer Gregory does an admirable job in tracing the phenomenon’s roots (remember those cheapo Top Of The Pops albums Woolworths used to sell?). What’s lacking at times, however, is a more passionate and involved appreciation of the tribute circuit from the perspective of the fans.
First-hand interviews with numerous protagonists, be they followers of the original acts or ambitious musicians opting for homages when their own material struggles to find an audience, offer insight into the scene. However, Gregory’s analysis of how these tributes tap into a collective past are a bit woolly, the academic language clouding the more feral fun of a night out down the local watching our favourite “mock stars”.