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Twenty Feet From Stardom

(DVD)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Twenty Feet From Stardom
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They are the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, vintage live performances, and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, and Bette Midler.
Title: Twenty feet from stardom
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (91 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in
Statement of Responsibility: a Gil Friesen and Tremolo production ; a Morgan Neville film ; produced by Caitrin Rogers, Gil Friesen ; directed by Morgan Neville
Notes: Originally released as a motion picture in 2013
Special features: deleted scenes; The buddy system (short film); Q&A with Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Morgan Neville
Number of discs, special features, and language options may vary by copy
Summary: They are the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, vintage live performances, and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, and Bette Midler.
Branch Call Number: DVD 782.42166 TWENTY
Distributor: Beverly Hills, CA :, Anchor Bay Entertainment,, [2014]
Credits: Directors of photography, Nicola Marsh, Graham Willoughby ; editors, Kevin Klauber, Jason Zeldes.
Performers: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill.
System Details: DVD; region 1; anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1; Dolby Digital 5.1
Other Language: In English, with optional Spanish subtitles and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH)
Subject Headings: Love, Darlene Clayton, Merry Fischer, Lisa, 1958- Hill, Judith (Vocalist) Women singers United States Biography
Genre/Form: Documentary films
Biographical films
Video recordings for the hearing impaired
Nonfiction films
Topical Term: Women singers
Publisher No: WC60904 Anchor Bay Entertainment
ZWC60904 Anchor Bay Entertainment
MARC Display»

Opinion

From Library Staff

The background singers may have the best voices on stage, but they are never the stars. Includes interviews with Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Mabel John, and many more.

They are the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fische... Read More »

They are the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fische... Read More »


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Jul 29, 2014
  • salsabrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Today's pop divas have NOTHING on these ladies! A compelling documentary that's not only about backup singers, but African American history and the civil rights movement. A must see.

Jul 16, 2014
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A moving documentary about the amazingly talented back-up singers that were the real stars behind our favourite songs, I can understand why this doc rocked the Oscars. I'd heard of Darlene Love and Merry Clayton because of their inclusion on the HOME ALONE and DIRTY DANCING soundtracks, respectively, but not Lisa Fischer or any of the other mega-talents who never got recognized. These singers deserve credit but they'll never really receive it. To be that close to the real thing and yet stuck in the quicksand that is the background vocals business is a horrible paradox. Crammed with interviews from famous faces testifying to the greatness of their back-up singers, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM is eye-opening without being controversial. For anyone interested in music, this doc is a must-see that I'd easily recommend.

Jun 30, 2014
  • nickeldime rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Amazing to hear the stories of these super talented backup singers. Some of whom tried to have a solo career of their own and for a multitude of reasons. Very entertaining!

May 21, 2014
  • rufus_red4 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This film is a must see for any music fans. The talent displayed in this film is through the roof. Very emotional, entertaining and engaging.

Apr 13, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

"Like background singers they all come in threes."
This year's winner for best doc is absorbing and inspiring, if not exactly Oscar-worthy ("Act of Killing" should've won). But they seem to be into uplifting music docs, as "Searching for Sugar Man" won the previous year. This film takes as its subject the life of the back up singer and in particular focuses on Darlene Love, who got her start with Phil Spector, Merry Clayton, who sang (while pregnant) on "Gimme Shelter," and Judith Hill, who was on "The Voice." The majority of those interviewed are female, middle-aged and African-American and all are tough, talented and really cool women, some of whom stayed away from the spotlight intentionally and some of whom never got the break they deserved. The doc. itself isn't very creative, but the subjects are great, as is the archival footage. Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Sting, who says something typically pretentious, all give their two cents. If I have one quibble, it's that Hill, who was no doubt included because she's young and attractive, has hardly earned the right to be put next to these legends. I'm not saying she isn't talented, but this women have lived and she's still just a kid. You might also like "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" and "Only the Strong Survive."

Apr 11, 2014
  • Old_Toto rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Every aspiring entertainer should take notes from this movie! Long overdue, it focuses the spotlight on the backup singers with known stars such as Mick Jagger acting as the Greek Chorus moving through the social and technical evolution of these vanishing contributors to our pleasure. From the 100% segregated days of black and white television with no appearance on the networks for black singers through to - everyone wants them - in the recent past. When the demand created the illusion that stardom for some was imminent, new electronics technology made it possible to massage and overlay voices to the degree that one singer can be recorded and rerecorded three more times singing different parts of harmony thus eliminating three paychecks. Or worse! Taking one person's voice and giving credit to another. All this happening under the mentorship of often evil uber-producers like Phil Spector (now serving 19 years to life for physical murder - not brought out in the movie) who repeatedly lied to singers to exploit their talents for big gains for him and great losses for the singers' careers with impunity. It was sad for me to watch a great backup singer cleaning homes (hard work because Old_Toto has done that) in order to survive financially. What I found annoying about about the movie is that there were too many scenes with little if any character development and it was difficult for me as a viewer to keep up. This should be reedited as a series for greater benefit. Having said that, I am glad that I saw this movie.

Apr 04, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I think this film won the Oscar because it is a very safe and very difficult film to hate. This, I think, is especially so considering TV culture's obsession with reality shows - specifically talent shows. Famous people talk about how awesome their back up singers are. Back up singers talk about their ambitions, or lack thereof, of going for their own careers. Both sides say that it's basically a crapshoot. You do get to hear some great singing though - including the female singer from one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs.

So, yes, definitely a crowd pleaser, this.

Mar 05, 2014
  • catinthehat17 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Ever listen to music over the years and wondered who sang the backup vocals? In this doc they finally get some much deserved recognition! Especially Darlene Love. It just so happens that these singers are mostly black and have better voices than the white artists they support which saddened me a bit.

Mar 04, 2014
  • Saint_Mirin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Superb. You must see this film and once you do you should have a greater appreciation for singers and musicians that have "ghosted" for the famous who require autotune and resort to lipsynching.

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