'20 Feet From Stardom' Shines A Light On Prolific Background Singers

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Do the names Darlene Love and Lisa Fischer ring a bell? How about Merry Clayton and Claudia Lennear? Judith Hill and Tata Vega? Well, you might not know their faces or even recognize their names, but you do know their voices.

20 Feet From Stardom is the extremely fascinating documentary that puts faces and names with the voices you have heard, but didn't quite know. Directed by Morgan Neville and featuring 'singing' praises from noted artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, and Mick Jagger, 20 Feet will not only explore the lives, careers, and songs of these prolific background singers, but also uncover the hard truths about the rocky road to stardom. All the singing ladies involved in this doc, at one time or another, all ventured out as solo artists. Some found marginal success while others struggled to get from the background into the spotlight. Even so, their journeys are truly inspiring and from the look of the trailer this is one documentary you do not want to miss.

20 Feet From Stardom will be released in select theaters this Friday.

Oh, and if you like reading...
  • New York Times has an very interesting write-up about Lisa Fischer and her struggle to stay in the spotlight after she scored a Grammy in 1991 for her amazing single, "How Can I Ease The Pain". I often felt Fischer was kinda robbed of a huge solo career, but this Times piece puts into perspective that for Fischer, her passion to sing was her triumph. 
  • Buzzfeed conducted this gem interview with Darlene Love that discusses her (rightful) entry into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, her work with The Crystals and Phil Spector, and her venture into acting (yes, she played Danny Glover's wife in all four Lethal Weapon movies...totally forgot about that!).
  • Merry Clayton's story about recording The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" is a tear-jerker, but still a fascinating slice of music history, and one of the reasons why "Gimme Shelter" will always be my all-time favorite Stones song. If you thought she killed it on the original, her blistering stand-alone 1970 version is equally potent. 

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