Famed Backup Singers Celebrated In ’20 Feet From Stardom’ Doc
You know their voices even though you may not know their names, but now some of the most recognizable voices in popular music are finally getting their time in the spotlight thanks to a new documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom.
The documentary tells the true and mostly unknown stories of the most famous backup singers Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill, who’ve provided the sensational backing vocals to some of the most iconic songs of the ’60s and beyond.
The doc, directed by notable documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, highlights the careers of each of these “unsung singers” with supporting interviews with the music legends they’ve sang with including Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Sting and Stevie Wonder.
Love, who became the first breakout backup singer during Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” era, was a member of of the highly sought-after girl backup group The Blossoms (“He’s a Rebel,” “Monster Mash”). She has provided the supporting vocal harmonies for artists like Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
“My life has been about trying to make a success out of the gift that I have,” Love says in the trailer.
The film also highlights a particularly stunning studio session Clayton gave while recording the rousing hook on the Rolling Stones’ hit “Gimme Shelter” with an interview from Mick Jagger.
Though these women have had success as studio and background vocalists, the film explores their ambitions and hardships to breakout from the background and launch a successful solo career of their own.
“I felt like if I just gave my heart to what I was doing, I would automatically be a star,” Clayton says in the trailer.
The film opened in limited theater release on June 14th in New York and Los Angeles. Watch the complete trailer for Twenty Feet From Stardom below: