Director/writer Morgan Neville has given us a real goodie with 20 Feet from Stardom. Bad pun notwithstanding it lives up to its claim: ‘meet the unsung heroes behind the greatest music of our time’.
There are many great singers featured but the households names that appear such as Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Mick Jagger, Sting, David Bowie, Tom Jones, Stevie wonder, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson are not the stars of this first class documentary.
That honour goes to the backup singers: Darlene Love; Merry Clayton; Lisa Fischer; Judith Hill; Tata Vega; Jo Lawry; Claudia Lennear; Oren, Maxine and Julia Waters; and more. We’ve all heard them, even if we don’t realise it.
Despite their imposing voices, most of them have not become stars in their own right. Sheryl Crow who makes a brief appearance is one of the exceptions.
It is also a nostalgia trip for baby boomers as it ranges across the post-war period of popular music. Go to a cinema with a good sound system – well worth the effort.