Friday, November 28, 2014

My review of 20 feet from Stardom

(not so) Glib Reviews of (not so) recent DVD releases

Directed By Morgan Neville

I finally got around to watching “20 Feet From Stardom,” as it was suggested as ‘homework’ for the choir I sing in. And it was a great bit of homework. You can’t help but gain a real appreciation of what it means to sing back up vocals. A wide range of singers, almost all of whom started in choirs, are interviewed pretty thoroughly about the whole of their careers, a few front-folk like Mick, the Boss, and so on offer their own appreciation for the art and how much the backing singers bring to their songs.

Some of the people have had okay lead vocal careers, but mostly, they have just kept singing behind the big stars. Pretty much everyone though is pretty humble about just getting to sing. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and so many others, may be familiar names that maybe should or could have been household names. Phil Spector may have given a lot of these gals their breaks, but he also ripped them off, and ruined their careers by strangling when and where they could sing. He should be in jail for that as well as his later crimes. 

Have some tissues handy, as the stories these folks have to share might be sad, but more than that, they are relatable, and poignant for anyone who has had any kind of dream that is as elusive as Musical “success.” Many of the singers, like Lisa Fischer have had some real critical and small solo success, but have come to prefer being part of the group, part of the sound. There really isn’t anything negative to say about this doc. Not at all. I wouldn’t have minded a few more performances really, but the whole thing was very well crafted and lovingly presented.

Youtube I will be checking out girl groups, and great songs by these (mostly) women for ages to come. Inspirational and wonderful, the whole movie. Happy tears.


9.5 times you got up in the middle of the night pregnant, hair in curlers, and sang a hit song or two, that you got very little credit for outta 10