I loved the documentary, “20 Feet From Stardom” a music and reminiscence filled ode to the back-up singer released last year on DVD. Some added their voices to those early Phil Spector songs (“Da Do Run, Run”) and Rock & Roll tunes featuring great vocals by Darlene Love and Patti Austen. They also did back ground for Elvis and rockers like the Rolling Stones. Anonymous trios and quartets still sing a few feet behind the main acts of today like Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder.
You may not know these singers by name or by sight, but you will know them by ear. A talented bunch, back in the day they sang everything, from “do wop, du wahs”, to the now classic line, “rape, murder, it’s just a shot away” (Merry Clayton on “Gimme Shelter” – called to the session late at night, she did 3 takes while dressed in night gown, fur coat & curlers).
2014 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary, “20 Feet From Stardom”, directed by Morgan Neville, never showed up at my local movie theater, thank goodness for the DVD, I would have missed a thoroughly entertaining chance to fit the names and faces to the background voices on some of my favorite songs. Included in the documentary are old concert footage, interviews with singers (those that tried to move 20 feet forward and those that enjoyed singing backup) and stars that hired the voices with great stories about the music biz – a lot of fun, a lot of memories. Watched it twice 🙂
Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, Patti Austen, Claudia Lennear, Táta Vega, the Waters, the Ikettes and many more.
FYI: “Da Do Run, Run” The Crystals, 1963