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20 Feet from Stardom - Music From The Motion Picture

4.4 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

20 Feet From Stardom: Music From The Motion Picture is the soundtrack from the compelling new film from award-winning director Morgan Neville.

Among the songs included on the album is a new recording of the classic song "Lean On Me," featuring Darleen Love, as well as an original song, "Desperation" performed by The Voice finalist Judith Hill. The iconic Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter," is performed by Merry Clayton, a rare recording from her 1971 debut album of the same name. Also highlighted on the soundtrack are two time-honored backup singer tracks, "Young Americans" performed by David Bowie and "Walk On the Wild Side," performed by Lou Reed.

20 Feet From Stardom shines the spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of a life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 Feet From Stardom boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film.

Although these singers are usually relegated to the margins, and few, if any, become household names, their work has defined countless songs that remain in our hearts and collective consciousness. 20 Feet from Stardom juxtaposes the interviews with industry legends and the relative unknowns who support them like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill as they illuminate the art of melding their own distinct voices with lead vocals and reveal their desires for careers as solo artists. It is a celebration of the voices from the edge, which brought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: June 18, 2013
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 49 minutes
  • ASIN: B00CTCI2UM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,084 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Just this weekend I saw the documentary "20 Feet From Stardom" (more on that later) and I immediately had to check out the soundtrack of it.

"20 Feet From Stardom - Music from the Motion Picture" (13 tracks; 49 min.) brings a fine collection of the songs that we see and hear in the movie, starting with Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" (who can forget that famous "do-dodo-dodo" outro at the end of that song. I'm very happy that the Talking Heads song is also included, please note that this is the live version of "Slippery People" from "Stop Making Sense" (as seen in this documentary), just a great moment. "He's a Rebel" by the Crystals is another key moment in the documentary. Merry Clayton, one of the main singers featured in the movie, gets two songs here, including the Stones cover "Gimme Shelter" from an early 70s solo album, and the Neil Young cover "Southern Man". David Bowie's "Young Americans" is another key moment in the movie, and very happy that it's included. Judith Hill, another featured singer, brings an original track, a pointed piano ballad "Desperation". The album closes with a new cover of "Lean on Me", featuring the afore-mentioned Clayton and Hill and also Darlene Love and Jo Lawry. In all, this is quite the album!

As to the movie itself, I am surprised that Amazon does not have a listing for it yet as a future DVD release, as it usually does for movies currently in the theatre. "20 Feet From Stardom" (2013 release; 91 min.), director Morgan Neville brings a great look into the importance of the backup singers in rock and roll and R&B.
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The CD sounds great and the new Darlene Love performance of "Lean on Me" is the best track. Also enjoyed the studio chatter between Darlene and Phil Spector before "Fine Fine Boy".

However, asuming you have seen the movie, you may find it ironic that the CD booklet was slapped together and once again the background singers do not get any credit! Who sang background on "Slippery People" by the Talking Heads or "Young Americans" by David Bowie? You will not find out in the booklet!! None of the photos are tagged too. Just a bunch of pictures of nameless background singers.

Disc Grade: 5 Stars.
Booklet Grade: 1 star.
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I love this CD. Darlene Love is my favorite on it, though all are very good. He's A Rebel is a wonderful sparkling version of the 1962 hit. A Fine, Fine Boy has some interesting studio chatter where Darlene is learning the phrasing the producer wants her to use. The new track Lean On Me is wonderful. You can hear the church in Darlene's voice on this one. Finally got to see this in the theatre when it got to my town. Don't miss this film. T'ata Vega will thrill you with the soul in her voice. The best music documentary that I have ever seen.
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This CD is great! Of course, the movie is awesome...I laughed, boogied and sadly even cried at times. The CD captures the essence of the film...these incredible women providing the "soul" for these white male singers, the women's background in gospel being so important to their sound, Darlene Love and the Blossoms' version of "He's a Rebel" being lipsynched by the Crystals, another creepy Phil Spector reference I suppose making Darlene Love get it just right that "he's a fine, fine boy" and a nice song by Judith Hill (The Voice finalist) who we'll be hearing more from I'm sure. The only thing I miss is Lisa Fischer and her incredible range when in the studio with Sting.
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What company would issue a CD with a subtitle "Music from the motion picture" and then substitute one-third of the recordings (that's 4 out of 12) with a small asterisk stating "different version than used in film"? To add further insult, this is a soundtrack to a movie about backup singers. None (NONE!) of the backup singers are credited on the songs included. Who's the backup on "Walk on the Wild Side" or "Slippery People" or "Young Americans?" I guess they count on you to buy the DVD to find that information. The music is uniformly excellent but Columbia's low-budget issue is an insult to these fine artists and everyone involved in this release should be ashamed. Is it a wonder people don't buy CDs anymore?
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If you loved the motion picture, "20 Feet from Stardom", you'll love the CD. It spotlights the music that was featured in the movie and is a great way to relive those times and those epic tunes.
After hearing Lisa Fisher's voice in the movie, I only wish that one of her complete songs was included on the CD. She is indeed special. This is a "feel-good" CD that I will play over and over again.
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My only criticism of this soundtrack is that it's not bigger, more inclusive, but I can understand why it isn't; the actual soundtrack to this documentary would be multiple discs worth of music. This soundtrack at least manages to hit the high points, and I enjoy every minute.
If you loved the film, as I did, you should enjoy this music.
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