20 Feet From Stardom *****

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Run Time: 91 mins        Cert: 12A

 

Synopsis: Directed by Morgan Neville, the documentary tells the story of the backing singer and features long time session vocalists Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer amongst others. 

 

Based in the USA, “20 Feet From Stardom” covers a period from the 1960s to the present day and follows the careers of three African American backing singers.

 

The documentary is both informative and entertaining. In depth interviews with Love, Clayton and Fischer provide the audience with an intimate knowledge of their careers from start to finish and explore both their musical aspirations and feelings about life in general during those times.

 

While the three women clearly love what they do, nothing is held back during interviews. The downsides to being a backing singer such as lack of recognition and issues with record labels are openly discussed and, as time passes, changes in the music industry make it increasingly difficult to secure jobs.

 

Interviews with musicians such as Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and Sting give an insight into their relationships with backing singers and what they feel they add to their music both on stage and in the studio. The film also features extensive footage of each singer performing alongside a variety of musicians which is enjoyable and will likely make the viewer want to sing and dance with the music.

 

With its great storytelling and top class soundtrack, “20 Feet From Stardom” is a gem that any music fan should watch.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

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