This weekend, director Morgan Neville's 20 Feet From Stardom comes to The Belcourt, where it will screen for several weeks. The film — which you may have heard Neville and noted background singer Merry Clayton discussing on Fresh Air a couple weeks back — focuses on the stories of the under-sung singers who have backed our beloved superstars over the years. Contributor Craig D. Lindsey provided a review of 20 Feet for this week's dead-tree edition of the Scene. Here's a little excerpt:
A favorite at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Stardom is cinematic nirvana for people who love to see the unsung heroes who helped define American pop music finally tell their story. Most of these women came straight from the church — gospel-singing pastors' daughters whose joyful noise-making tendencies began slipping into pop songs, in unorthodox contrast to how white backup singers (referred to in the movie as "the readers") stiffly did their jobs. According to the movie, it all began with West Coast trio the Blossoms, led by a teenage Darlene Love, whose wagging hips and soulful vocals made them in-demand singers. They sang on everything from Frank Sinatra tunes to that novelty hit "Monster Mash."
For three consecutive Sundays — June 30, July 7 and July 14 — The Belcourt will feature Q&As with some Music City backup singers after the 5:25 p.m. show. Follow me after the jump to see the lineup for those, and get your tickets right here.
Sunday, June 30:
A discussion with singers who sang on the road with Wynonna Judd, among others: Vicki Hampton, Bob Bailey, Kim Fleming and Wendy Moten.
Sunday, July 7:
A discussion featuring Marcia Ware (Alison Krauss, Chaka Khan, Hall and Oates); Shaun Murphy (Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, Meat Loaf); and Carmella Ramsey (Kid Rock, James Taylor, Carly Simon).
Sunday, July 14:
A discussion featuring Kim Parent (Brooks & Dunn, Lionel Richie, Faith Hill); Marcia Ramirez (Rodney Crowell, Tanya Tucker, Lee Ann Womack); and Britt Savage (Garth Brooks, Tony Bennett, Donna Summer).