20 Feet from Stardom
Morgan Neville’s richly entertaining documentary celebrates the female backup singers who made crucial contributions to classic rock music in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. As such, 20 Feet from Stardom is a kind of behind-the-scenes look at a particularly interesting aspect of the pop-music industry. But its most powerful point is that, while they were not quite in the spotlight (hence that “20 Feet”), the best of the backup singers were right at the very lively heart of some great music. Neville makes sure that they get some spotlight time here via a combination of archival footage, performance excerpts, recent interviews with the singers themselves (Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, etc.), and commentary from the rock stars they worked with (Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, among others). Pageant Theatre. Rated PG-13.