Film Friday: 20 Feet from Stardom


Twenty_Feet_From_Stardom_poster Poster, 20 Feet From Stardom. Image from The Cocoa Diaries

Strip out the backing vocals from rock, pop and R&B music and you lose much of its depth and richness. And yet, how many of us can name the singers (mainly women) who perform on our favourite songs?

20 Feet From Stardom is a 2013 documentary that explores the lives and careers of some of the music industry’s most prolific backing-singers. We may not recognise the names — Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer (who’ve both sung Gimme Shelter with Mick Jagger), Judith HillClaudia Lennear, or Darlene Love — but we recognise their voices, and when the spotlight is upon them, we understand their genius.

I love this movie. It doesn’t flinch from the harsh realities of what it means to be in the background — vital to, but often unacknowledged in — moments of musical magic and history-making…

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