20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

Bette Midler,Spike Lee,Tom Jones,David Crosby
The careers of some of the most well known - at least in the business - back-up singers in pop music from the 1960s to today are presented. Most of the back-up singers featured are those that can be traced back to the girl groups of the 1960s or that vein, most who came out of the realm of gospel church choirs where the need to blend as a background sound and to be able to harmonize matches the needs of back-up singing. Some of the biggest names in pop and rock music speak of the contributions of their back-up singers to their overall sound - the back-up singers often transforming the sound to something the front person or group could not achieve on his/her/their own - and the sheer vocal talent that most of them possess. The back-up singers themselves talk about their own careers, some who did or are still striving for a successful solo career, while others are content in their background role in the specialized work that goes along with it. Those interviewed discuss what it takes to succeed as a solo artist, and the the factors that have prevented those in the former category from reaching that desired stardom. The special situation of Darlene Love is presented, she who sang the lead vocals for some of the most well known songs of the 1960s for which she was never publicly credited, and the control of her early career by powerful producer Phil Spector who was content to leave her where she was in the business which led to her dropping out of the business altogether, needing to work as a house cleaner to make ends meet before being rediscovered in her forties to go on to a moderately successful pop music career as a soloist.—Huggo
  • 17 Jan 2013 Released:
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  • Morgan Neville Director:
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