Before Beatles: ‘illustrated songs’ and ‘soundies’

Eddie Cantor was one of the most famous “illustrated song” artists. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

While it’s generally accepted that the Beatles’ short “promotional films” from 1966 (“Rain” and “Paperback Writer”) were the first rock music videos, the genre has much earlier beginnings. For you music and film historians, I suggest checking out these fascinating Wikipedia articles on the “illustrated song,” which has its roots in 19th-century magic-lantern shows, and “soundies.”

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