Do you remember President Nixon. Or the bills you have to pay?
We finally watched Twenty Feet from Stardom, the documentary about backup singers that was a must-see hit a couple of years ago. It’s pretty delightful, and also sad, as the women who learned to sing in church eventually see their bigger dreams of solo success fizzle.
The movie finally settles on Darlene Love’s compelling story for its big emotional finish, and that’s fine, but it also downplays the success story of Luther Van Dross, who can be seen in this video from New Years—as 1974 turns into 1975—backing up David Bowie on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve. Vandross is the chubby fellow on the left.
Vandross successfully escaped the gravity of the background singer role and had a successful solo career as a singer and producer, unlike the stories featured in the movie. That’s a sign that the movie is more a charming story than truth telling, but it’s worth seeing just to spend time with Love, the Blossoms, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega and many others. Their stories are really interesting, and inevitably tell a richer story than the one the movie chooses to focus on.
This clip is for Luther Vandross and yesterday, the day after David Bowie’s birthday. It is cool, a synonym for awesome.