20 Feet from Stardom is one of the best music documentaries I’ve ever watched. A few years ago (quite a few), if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve said ‘a back up singer’.
20 Feet from Stardom is all about the back up singer experience. It follows their pursuit of a career as individuals and as the people who fill the spaces we didn’t even realise exist. Back up singers occupy a space both essential and invisible to music. They cushion and lift the vocals of the lead singer in a way that does not detract or steal from the limelight.
I’m continuously impressed by back up singers who fill this space with respect for the lead. Anyway, Merry Clayton fills that space in the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter. Here’s a little splice of the documentary. Do yourself a favour and watch it in it’s entirety.