A tribute band (or act, or group) is a band that plays covers specifically from one band (or act or group). This is often easily confused with a cover band. Cover bands play music from a variety of acts, rather than playing music from just one musical project.
It is very common for popular acts to have fans who decide to play their music. Some of the biggest acts have multiple tribute acts that perform in their honuor. The most well-known tribute acts are Elvis impersonators. It is estimated there are thousands all over the world.
Tribute acts will usually choose a name that is based on the original act’s name, but with a twist. The Iron Maidens, for example, is an all-female tribute act that plays the music of Iron Maiden. The Buggs was one of the first tribute bands to emerge, when they started dressing as and performing songs by The Beatles. They went on to perform their own music and had a successful career of their own.
Some tribute acts go on to become very popular and grow a loyal following on their own – enough to make the band a full time career. See for instance The Musical Box, who are known for their extremely detailed recreations of Genesis’ concerts.
Here are some of the most popular tribute acts who are living out their dreams:
- The Bootleg Beatles are one of the longest running Beatles tribute bands. They have performed together over 4000 times, twice at the acoustic stage at Glastonbury.
- While there are many Nirvana tribute bands, there aren’t many with a frontman who can channel the spirit of Kurt Cobain. Jon O’ Connor of Nervana is one of the lucky few.
- A tribute band isn’t just for older acts. Only One Direct – the One Direction London-based tribute act – have been together since 2012. They have gone from London’s West End to performing to hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide.