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.

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