20 Feet From Stardom

"Extraordinary"

20 Feet From Stardom Review


Entertaining and uplifting, this Oscar-winning documentary tells the unknown story of the back-up singers who made classic records so memorable. Packed with lively, engaging people and fantastic music, the film also offers a sharp look at the music industry over the past 60 years in parallel with the fight for civil rights in America.

In the 1950s, background singers were usually white girls who read sheet-music perfectly. But they were quickly replaced with black artists who learned their craft in churches and could improvise harmonies with the lead singers. Suddenly, pop songs were infused with passion and life, as a handful of unknown singers performed backing vocals on virtually every classic hit since then. With their powerhouse voices and larger-than-life personalities, most have also tried to find success as solo artists. Others prefer to stay in the shadows.

For example, even though established stars acknowledge that she has more talent than any of them, Lisa Fischer prefers the quiet life out of the spotlight. Other belters like Merry Clayton, Tata Vega and Claudia Lennear can be heard on hundreds of timeless classics and are known throughout the industry, but never managed to get their solo careers off the ground. Judith Hill is a young artist who does soaring backing work while waiting for her own music to take off. And Darlene Love is the exception who managed both long background and solo careers.

These gifted singers are also terrific storytellers, taking us on a tour of their work over the decades with anecdotes that are hilarious, jaw-droppingly revelatory and sometimes deeply moving. And the artists they've worked for (including Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger) have superb stories to recount as well. Along with behind-the-scenes glimpses of hits from Young Americans to Sweet Home Alabama, the film fluidly explores the larger issues both in the music industry and in society at large. So by the end of the film, we're in love with these women whose voices we already knew so well.

Watch '20 Feet From Stardom' Trailer


 



Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

In Theaters: Tuesday 25th June 2013

Budget: $1000 thousand

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers

Starring: as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, as Himself, Stevvi Alexander as Herself, as Herself, as Himself, as Herself, Lisa Fischer as Herself

Also starring:

Contactmusic


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