20 Feet from Stardom

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.24.20 PMNow that I see that “20 Feet from Stardom” is back in NYC theaters, I have to say it was the best movie that I saw in 2013. A charming documentary on back-up singers, it features great interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, et al. It was a great way to see footage from fantastic concerts without having to wait in line or stay up late! I liked it so much that I sat through it twice last July (granted, it was one of those 100-plus degree afternoons)! It may not be around for long, so go quickly. Even though it is now out in DVD (and I’ve bought three copies), it’s worth seeing in a large theater.

Lisa Cashin


Previous posts:

Posted: 07/25/13 by Ken Roman:

Rock and Roll is not exactly my music, and backup singers is an unlikely subject for a film, but this one works. There are glimpses of the stars they worked with — Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Mick Jagger, Sting, David Bowie, Elton John – but the stars here are the backups, with their incredible voices.


Roxanne Bok:
July 26th, 2013 at 11:56 am
I liked this, too, and will never NOT pay attention to ”back-up’ vocalists again. The off-stage interviews with Springsteen and Jagger are fun, and the discussion of ego and the part it plays in stardom raises some ideas worth pondering.


Posted: 07/04/13 by Khamasea Hoa Bristol

I just saw “Twenty Feet From Stardom” a documentary film about the great backup singers behind musical legends (Ray Charles, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, etc.). It was such a moving and inspirational (and at times sad) film about having talent and dreams and making history. And there is some amazing music, too! Go see it!


Posted: 07/11/13 by Martin McKerrow
This film opened some time ago in New York, but if you haven’t seen it and like music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, you’ll enjoy the soundtrack if nothing else. The documentary tells the story of the singers (largely women) who provide the backup to the lead singer or singers. The singers featured include members of the Raelettes and the Ikettes. The story told is one of singers trained to sing gospel who moved to a different venue. One of them became and remains the only female voice of The Rolling Stones. It is also a story of singers who almost had it, but not enough to become a star. Another tale is of a singer who was managed by Phil Spector, he recorded her performing and then issued it in the name of another performer — who lip-synched it.

What was truly striking about this surprisingly moving film was the elegance of these women, largely black and today largely in their ’70s. We also met Judith Hill whose career was launched when she sang at Michael Jackson’s funeral. She was in the audience and sang for us after the film.

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