Monday, June 24, 2013

20 Feet From Stardom (Film)

There is a terrific movie about another great hidden mystery in music.  I hope that all my readers understand that the Monkees played their own instruments (see especially "Headquarters") and that they sang their songs, backed up by session musicians called The Wrecking Crew (who backed up EVERYONE in the late 60's).

The recent movie, 20 Feet From Stardom, is about backup singers.  It exposes people like Phil Spector, who took Darlene Love's voice and put it on a record by "The Crystals".  They were out touring and hadn't even heard the song they were credited with singing.  (Not that I'm bitter, but the Monkees still get talked about in the same breath as Milli Vanilli).

The film features the woman who sing with British groups who want soul (Rolling Stones) and even on a controversial song like "Sweet Home Alabama".  The hippest protest in the late 1960's, "sing the shit out of that song AND do it better than the lead".  The south re-enacting its own history and the white men being clueless about who's doing all the heavy lifting.  Amazing stuff.

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