20 Feet From Stardom (12A) ****

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Grammy nominated music video director Morgan Neville collected this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for this rousing, feel-good portrait of some of the unknown voices behind music’s most recognisable hits.

20 Feet From Stardom celebrates the invaluable contributions of backing singers to the music industry and introduces us to a few of the talented women, whose tireless work in music studios and at concert venues is often taken for granted by the fans.

20 Feet from Stardom

20 Feet from Stardom

It’s a rich, detailed and inspiring valentine to those people behind the scenes who deserve so much credit, but rarely get it.

Those like singer Merry Clayton, who sings a key phrase in the chorus of the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter.

Divas abound of every age and background, from 70-something trailblazer Darlene Love, who worked with The Beach Boys, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley and Dionne Warwick, to relative newcomer Judith Hill, who was rejected during the live finals of the 2013 series of The Voice in America.

20 Feet From Stardom appeals to our basic human desire to champion the underdog, reminding us that behind every recording artist is a panoply of brilliant people, whose contributions are reduced to credits on an album sleeve.

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