Live Music Exchange Resources

Alien invasions: the British Musicians’ Union and foreign musicians – Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan (2013)


Author(s): Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan
Organisation / Affiliation: Popular Music 32(2)
Date: May 2013

Abstract: This article examines the policies of the British Musicians’ Union towards the employment of musicians who were not UK citizens in the period from the 1920s to the 1950s, with particular emphasis on an alleged ban on American musicians entering the country. Drawing on a number of hitherto largely ignored and/or unavailable sources, it argues that many previous accounts of these policies have simplified a more complex picture. We illustrate that complexity and suggest that the issues surrounding the ban are ones which continue to resonate.

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