20 Feet from Stardom (2013) Movie Script

[cars passing by]
MAN: It... It's a bit
of a walk, you know,
from, you know,
back by the drummer over here.
That walk to the front
is... is complicated.
[elevator rattles]
MAN: Singing background remains a
somewhat unheralded
position, you know.
- So people make that leap.
- [piano playing]
[singers harmonizing]
WOMAN: So, what you guys
do on that part?
I'll help you carry on
[vocalizing]
MAN: It's almost more
of a mental leap than...
...than just the
physical act of singing.
It's the conceptual leap,
and if you can comfortably
come up with it, you know,
then you may
find a spot out there.
Carry on for...
MAN: But I know tremendous
backup singers
who just aren't comfortable
in that position.
You gotta have that narcissism,
you gotta have that ego.
- [singing indistinctly]
- MAN 2: So shall we do it?
MAN: It can be
a pretty long walk.
- One, two, three!
- [audience cheering]
[inhales breath]
[ Lou Reed:
"Walk on the Wild Side"]
Sugar plum fairy came
and hit the streets
Lookin' for soul food
and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should've seen 'em go go go
They said, "Hey, babe
Take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey, honey
Take a walk on the wild side"
And the colored girls say
Do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
WOMEN: Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do-do
Do-do-do-do-do
- Do...
- [saxophone solo]
WOMAN: There's a power
to what it is that we do.
No one till right now has
publicly acknowledged it,
but people love to see
the background singers.
I mean, when you think about, um,
Lou Reed, "Walk On The Wild Side,"
you know, that iconic song with the line
that makes a lot of people uncomfortable
because it says "colored girls." But
what is he... what is he referencing
when he says, "And the colored
girls say do-do-do-do-do?"
The fact that there's
a power to these women
that stand on stage
and sing with these guys.
[ "Slippery People"]
Backup singers just bring so
much more life to the situation.
When a voice opens up,
there comes the life.
That's when it's a
person-to-person connection.
What about the time
you were rolling over?
You fall on your face
and you must be having fun
Backsliding
How do you do?
You don't hold on necessarily to
your individual vocal persona.
- God help us
- 'Cause you're trying to get your persona
to blend and mesh with the other voices.
That's awesome.
- What's the matter with him?
- He's all right
- How do you know?
- The Lord won't mind
- Don't play no games
- He's all right
Love from the bottom
to the top
- Turn like a wheel
- He's all right
See for yourself
WOMAN: There's
something that happens
when you lock in with somebody
and all the harmonics ping,
and, I mean,
if you don't like that,
what do you like? [laughs]
Cool down
Stop acting crazy
They're gonna leave
and we'll be on our own
I could... I could be different
people, a chameleon, you know.
It's just like you could change up.
You're never bored. [laughs]
[music continues]
I'm a part of the sisterhood.
I got to earn this.
It wasn't just, oh,
a dream that I had.
I actually got to sing
these songs and sing on key.
- Like a wheel
- He's all right
- See for yourself
- The Lord won't mind
- We're gonna move
- Right now
Turn like a wheel...
MAN: As a background singer,
they would like you to come in,
make things sound great,
take very little credit...
[laughs] ...and go home quickly.
It's all right
The Lord won't mind
Right now
Turn like a wheel
- Inside a wheel
- [audience cheering]
- [piano playing]
- WOMAN: Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you, Father.
I will enter His gates
With thanksgiving
in my heart
I will enter His courts
with grace
God gave us the ability
to create, didn't he?
- CONGREGATION: Yes, he did.
- OK.
Today we're gonna pin
this down to music.
He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice
for He has made me glad
I see these kids doing this
slide, I said, "Oh, child."
He think he got that
from, uh... James Brown.
I said, "Oh, that came
from one of my pastors."
[laughter]
He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice
for He has made me glad
- My father was a minister.
- My father was a...
- My father was a...
- Pastor's daughter.
- Isn't that clich?
- That's how I was actually
- introduced to music.
- WOMAN: I started as a four-year-old.
WOMAN 2: All
through grammar school.
I will say this is the day
You come up learning the part
that your voice actually fits in.
Nobody tells you that's how singers
learn how to do background.
Hallelujah, glory, glory.
- [applause]
- Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, Lord.
God gave me this talent
and I intend to use it. [laughs]
And that's what my life
has really been all about,
trying to make a success
of the gift that I have.
WOMAN: Darlene Love is the one
that's the cause of all of this.
Darlene Love and Fanita James,
The Blossoms.
They were the first black
background singers
- working in the studios.
- [music plays]
Silver and gold
Silver and gold
Everyone's searching
for silver and gold
When we first got into recordings,
it was totally white.
You'll never find comfort
in silver and gold
WOMAN: They were all white girls,
and they were very tasteful.
They could do arm movements
and they could, you know,
get in and go...
go to the microphone
and come out of the microphone,
but that was about it.
Silver and gold Everyone
says Suppose silver and gold
LOVE: Because it was white singers.
We call them the readers.
They couldn't do nothing without that
music sitting right in their face.
- [music plays]
- People would see us walk in.
They wondered what we were doing
there. They handed us our music
and we took it
like we was pros too,
like we're gonna really
read this. [laughs]
MAN: Then as you got
more into the music,
people would want background
singers that were free enough
to put feeling in what
they were singing.
Not saying that
those singers back then
didn't have feeling,
but they were
committed to what
they saw on the paper.
In silver and gold
[audience cheering]
- Shimmy, shimmy to and fro
- Oh, yeah
Shimmy, shimmy to and fro
WOMAN: The song that was coming
from them was so raw.
That's what it...
it was so raw, and so real,
that it was hard to deny it.
Shimmy shimmy
It's the dance of the day
Shimmy shimmy
It's new this day
Shimmy shimmy's
gonna help us too
XXX
Shimmy shimmy in my soul
Shimmy shimmy
We'll never grow old
LOVE: Now this is a surprise!
This is history.
None of us have sung together
in 30, 40 years.
I was 15 when I first met them.
- Ain't that something? Fifteen.
- That's not funny.
- [laughing]
- That's not funny.
But we were really white
before you got in,
- and then you added it...
- We had a sweet sound.
She brought guts and...
...that bottom gospel thing
and it made it perfect.
Shimmy shimmy
Oh, yeah
WRIGHT: They made
that platform theirs.
The Blossoms made it theirs,
and when they came in,
every producer in California
and everywhere else,
that's the sound they wanted.
That was from The Blossoms.
- [audience cheering]
- [music continues]
All you had to do is tell them in
what direction you were headed,
and they took you there.
- [ "Monster Mash"]
- [laughter]
- See when we had to sound white?
- Yeah, uh-huh.
- [ "That's Life"]
- That's life
Uh-oh.
That's what all
the people say
- [ "The Shoop Shoop Song"]
- It's in his kiss
That's where it is
Oh, yeah
- Or is it in his face?
- Oh, no...
I met him on a Monday
and my heart my stood still
Da-do-ron-ron-ron
Da-do-ron-ron
WOMAN 1: What was unique about The
Blossoms, we could change our sound.
WOMAN 2: We worked with people
from Buck Owens to James Brown.
Yes, my heart stood still
Yes, his name was Bill
And when he walked me home
Da-do-ron-ron-ron
Da-do-ron-ron
[laughing] -That was perfect,
without even rehearsing.
WRIGHT: The amazing thing about
Darlene and Fanita and Jean
is that they weren't afraid of
anybody else that did what they did.
And if that producer
asked for a particular person
that could do something,
Darlene would say, "That's not what I
do, but I know a girl that can do it."
And that's how she'll get in,
and that's how Merry got in.
- [music plays on radio]
- WOMAN: Can you turn off the radio?
There...
I mean, how could you not have music
on, Morgan, in the Merry Clayton car?
WOMAN: I know, right? -That's
just... That's not even logical to me.
MAN: See, it's much better
for us to add the music later.
I know it, but I'm just saying,
Morgan, how could you...
How could you logically not
have a diva have her music on?
I don't get that.
[piano music plays]
MAN: Merry Clayton was always
the lead background singer,
but she was always a little
set apart from that group.
Well, I am a sister
- Who can sing
- [crowd responding]
I am a sister who can sing
Oh, but if I die
And my soul be lost
Nobody's fault but mine
WRIGHT: I started going
to summer school with Merry,
and she'd start singing down
the street, and I'd go like,
"This girl is amazing."
Nobody's fault but mine
Said nobody's fault
Nobody's fault but mine
I said that no one's fault
If I die... -WRIGHT: She had no,
uh, no hidden agendas about it.
She just, "That's what I do."
Oh, if I die
And my soul be lost, yeah
Nobody's fault
But mine
Nobody's fault
CLAYTON: Ray Charles.
He was the only artist
that my father would
allow us to go and see,
and I'd stand at the end of the
stage with my hand under my chin.
I'd say, "Mm-hmm, I could do this.
I'm gonna be a Raelette one day."
I willed myself
to be a Raelette.
Now here are the Raelettes to
help us from this portion on.
- [playing piano]
- Mm!
CLAYTON: So I was sitting
at home one day,
and I got a call
from Billy Preston.
"This Bill,
what are you doing?"
"Putting some clothes away."
"You gotta drop it and you
have to come and sing for Ray."
Oh
When you see me in misery
Come on, baby
See about me now
No, it don't matter
CLAYTON: And, of course, you know, I
was totally full of myself by then.
I knew the whole spectrum of what you
were supposed to do as a singer.
See the girl
with the red dress on
She can filly dog
all night long
CLAYTON: But I
didn't know anything
about being an entertainer.
- Hey
- Hey
- Ho
- Ho
- Hey, ho
- Hey, ho
- Hey, ho
- Hey, ho
Oh, it's all right
You know it's
all right, baby
CLAYTON: He said,
"Yes, you're a lead singer,
but you're singing with
three other ladies, Sister Mary.
So we're gonna teach you
how to sing
- with three other people."
- You know it's all right
It's all right
MAN: He's the minister.
The Raelettes are the choir.
He brings that same
church format
to playing popular music.
Yet he's singing about sex.
- Shake that thing
- Shake that thing
- Hey, baby
- Shake that thing
WONDER: Can you imagine "What'd
I Say" that I said already,
without kind of an answer
to that?
Mmm
Oooh
Uhh... uhh... [laughs]
- Shake that thing
- Shake it, baby
- Shake that thing
- Shake that thing
He did a song called
"Together Again."
Oh, Lord, I could not
find the second part.
I couldn't hear it.
I did not hit the note,
he took his finger
and banged out my note
on the piano,
and 5,000 people
were in the audience,
five... huge show in
Madison Square Garden somewhere.
Bang, bang, bang, bang.
He banged out this note.
After that,
I remembered everything.
I was not gonna be made
to look like a fool. [laughs]
- Baby, let's go home
- Yeah, let's go home
- Baby, let's go home
- Go home, baby
- Baby, let's go home
Oh!
[song ends]
WOMAN: A lot of background singers
are just background singers.
They don't wanna do all the drama that
accompanies trying to be a solo artist.
Actually, very interesting, if you're
talking about background singers,
because Lisa made recordings
as a solo artist
and she's a brilliant entertainer.
She's really funny.
Sings her butt off.
Could sing alone all day long,
but doesn't particularly
want to.
[cell phone alarm rings]
[sighs] Hola.
I don't wanna go to school.
[laughs]
[singing scat]
FISCHER: I remember when my mom
took me to kindergarten.
I told the teacher, it's like,
"I wrote a song," right?
"I wanna sing it for the class."
She's like, "Oh, yay, good."
I just wouldn't stop.
She had to stop me.
Now she's like, "That was fun."
[continues singing scat]
LAWRY: Being with Lisa
is really inspiring,
because she's a monster musician. She
just doesn't really talk about it.
I mean,
she's as good as it gets.
[singing scat]
MAN: Everyone knew
who Lisa Fischer was.
She was the talk of the town
at the time.
[continues scat]
BOTTI: It was strange
for me to actually see her
standing next
to two other singers.
I... it was weird for me.
She's an incredible artist that
stands in front of that room,
in front of everyone, and demands their
attention in a really graceful way.
[scat continues]
FISCHER: I love melodies.
I'm... I'm in love with the...
...the sound vibration and...
...and what it
does with other people.
It's familiar, but it's so special and
you're just so happy when you get there.
And you try to stay there
for as long as you can.
[continues scat]
AUSTIN: She's the
empress of that world,
and, you know, it might not
look like she's ego'd out,
but it takes a lot of ego to decide
you're gonna take that position.
'Cause there's a lot of
background singers out there,
and she's held... she's held
that fort down for a long time.
[scat continues]
FISCHER: For me,
singing is about a sharing.
It's never a competition. But
there's this other energy sometimes
that I see going on that just
makes me insane, you know.
Gee, who can I call to introduce me to so
and so and such and such, but it just...
I don't know, something about that
feels slimy to me. I don't know why.
[Fischer vocalizing softly]
Yeah
- [song ends]
- [chuckles]
To me, there's no more heavenly
instrument than the voice.
You can be a great player and you can
play things that really move people,
but the voice is the one thing
that we all are born with.
I mean, there's so many great singers
who are such a massive presence
on so many rock records, people that
we don't necessarily know their names,
but that had a huge impact.
I remember, um, yeah, there
was a Phil Spector special on.
Um, maybe '65-ish.
Every evening
when the sun goes down
- Whoo
- SPECTOR: Hold it. Cut.
LASLEY: And Darlene Love and The
Blossoms were doing this, uh, song
that Phil was playing piano on.
Every morning
when the sun goes down
- Whoo
- Whoo
I lay my head
on the pillow down
And I was like 16 maybe.
It just went, like, pow!
[laughs]
That's what you're gonna do.
- MAN: Here we go.
- Hey.
- Hi, Darlene.
- Robert.
How about, uh, "Christmas
(Baby Please Come Home)."
- Christmas
- Snow coming down
- Christmas
- I'm watching it fall
Christmas
LOVE: Phil Spector
was the one that started
with the Wall of Sound.
He wanted everybody to know
it was a Phil Spector session,
not a Darlene Love session
or a Crystals session.
It was a Phil Spector session.
They're ringing a song
- Christmas
- What a happy sound
They sound so young. Well, they are.
I was 18. I am now 70. [laughs]
MAN: The Spector records... and it's
funny, 'cause though that was a sound
we tried to capture ourselves
for many, many years.
And did not, because we didn't
realize it was the sound of youth,
of very young people.
And here Darlene not only had
the incredible personality,
but she was a vocal powerhouse.
She captures...
Whatever it is, she captures
that particular sound, you know.
Amazing, isn't it?
[laughs] I was talented
and didn't know it.
When we went in to do "He's a
Rebel" I knew it was gonna be
for a group he had in New York.
And I went, "This song ain't
gonna do nothin' no way."
Let's just go in,
take the money."
And it was my first lead voice.
- [ "He's A Rebel"]
- See the way he walks down the street
Watch the way
he shuffles his feet
My, he holds
his head up high
When he goes walking by
Darlene did a of ghosting
for records that came
out with other people's names on them.
Not just one of the crowd
My baby always...
LOVE: The Crystals were out
on the road with Gene Pitney,
and the record was climbing
the charts, going to number one
and they had never
heard the song before.
He's a rebel
and he'll never be any good
He's a rebel 'cause he never
ever does what he should
But just because he doesn't
do what everybody else does
That's no reason why
I can't give him all my love
It's pretty debilitating
to the spirit, I think,
to sit at home and watch
the song that you sang,
and there's someone else lip-synching
and no one knows that you did it.
That's no reason why
we can't share a love
He is always good to me...
LOVE: What hurt is when people
hear it on the radio
and they go, "Wow, The Crystals.
That's a great song."
And they sitting there telling
me that, not knowing I did it.
After the success
of "He's A Rebel,"
that's when I said, "OK..."
He knows how to make hit songs,
so now I need
to sign with him."
First of all he changed my name
from Darlene Wright
to Darlene Love,
and my first record
was supposed to be
"He's Sure The Boy I Love."
So we go into the studio.
I'm signed with him now.
Everything is legal. We record
"He's Sure The Boy I Love,"
and I'm tootling down the
street couple of months later
and I hear the disc jockey say, "Well,
the new record by The Crystals."
And I'm going, "Crystals? What'd he do?
Fly them in?" He didn't tell us.
No, it was my voice on "He's Sure The
Boy I Love." So I was really pissed.
MAN: You couldn't fit two stars
in the room at the same time,
so Phil Spector really
kept her in a box.
The best material that
she was putting out
wasn't even coming out under her name.
SANTOS: What did you think
after this song became a hit?
Mad. [laughs]
'Cause this was
a Darlene Love record.
I'm always amazed at how many
backup vocalists I've heard
and I've encountered who kill
me, who I hear 'em and I think,
"Man, you're as good as Chaka
Khan." There's a lot of them.
You won't believe it, man.
Like, um...
Tata Vega, who is an
unbelievably great vocalist
and is up there with Aretha. I mean,
and... and I'm looking at that,
and I'm thinking to myself,
"What're you doing?"
Speak, Lord
Speak to me
Oh, speak Lord
Won't you speak to me?
WOMAN: I just loved music,
is all.
It's all I wanted to do.
I was so lost
I was 16 and I said,
"I wanna go to California.
I don't wanna go to school. I wanna
be a famous singer." Very selfish.
And my dad said, "All right."
[harmonizing vocals]
You had more of a opportunity
on the west coast.
You had exposure.
- Us growing up here in LA...
- Mm-hmm.
...was really... -Hollywood
always right down the street.
So we had serious advantage.
Especially
with the Motown people.
- With the Motown...
- Yes.
Oh, my God. But I remember
too coming up, uh,
we would do the long sessions
and we would be going
home in the morning.
- That's right.
- And people would be just going to work.
[harmonizing vocals continue]
Oh, my gosh, Stevie Wonder.
He was it for me.
Tata Vega, uh...
incredible voice.
Somebody introduced me,
you know, "This is Tata Vega."
"Mm-hmm. Nice to meet you."
And he kept going. I went,
"OK, I gotta do something.
There's a piano."
The only four little teeny
chords I know.
And I heard this girl
doing all these riffs and like,
I said, "Oh, my God," you know.
He came back.
He said, "You sound like me."
Is that her? Is that the
same person? It's like...
Yeah!
I just loved music is all.
It's all I wanted to do.
Oh, listen
The world we know
was built on skill
That alone don't count
[chuckles] Ah, you know
without the sweat
And toil of mind
it wouldn't be worth a dime
SPRINGSTEEN: It goes back, like I
say, to the church call and response.
Pull a fish from the water
to the people from the water
To the river to the bank
to the happy to the sad
Through the first
through the last
There's that guy out front,
testifying,
and then there's sorta the community
behind him, you know, amen'ing.
Everybody, let's sing
Sing, sing
Well, everybody
Let's sing sing, sing, sing
SPRINGSTEEN: That was
sort of the backup sound
that came straight out of gospel
and the church
and was secularized.
That was a sound
of worldly knowledge. [laughs]
[soul music plays]
WOMAN: Ike Turner, oh my
goodness. Ike and Tina Turner.
I just... I couldn't believe
he asked me if I wanted to start
working right away.
And I said,
"Well, yes, of course."
But little did I know
he meant that week.
[soul music continues]
LENNEAR: I think we were the
first action figures of R&B,
[laughs] The Ikettes,
the Ike and Tina Turner Review.
MIDLER: The girls were
absolutely sensational.
Tina was a force of nature,
of course,
but they were
no slouches either.
They were fantastic.
It was what, peace, love
and happiness and, you know,
women burning their bras,
you know, women's lib,
and the timing was just right for
that way to present yourself.
[soul music plays]
Oh!
Oh, no
BOYD: Ike Turner saw himself
as a pimp,
and he saw his backup singers,
even his wife...
- I do what I wanna do
- ...as the women
who worked for him, his hos.
Do what you wanna
When you wanna
Now do your thing
Soul sister
LENNEAR: He made sure
that you had
a certain look and that you
were able to walk a certain way
and dance a certain way.
Now I'm gonna try
MABRY: There are still artists
right now
that view a backup singer
as eye candy.
Personally, that's not backup singing.
That's just playing a role.
Let me see you -WOMAN: There's
one artist that I've worked with.
I just get chills when I think about
how I just was so demoralized,
um, at the office.
We were basically naked.
Dress code: "Make guys excite."
Let me see it
Let me see you
You and I
LENNEAR: You know,
I tried to look nice
and I tried to carry
myself in a decent way,
but how it comes across, I mean,
I don't set out to say,
"I'm going to be the
sex symbol tonight."
MAN: But you posed in Playboy.
[sighs, laughs]
There was something in Playboy,
yes, there was.
- [song ends]
- [applause]
LOVE: The English rock scene
was just a... a phenomenon.
They were trying
to sound black.
Most all of them tried
to sound black.
And the only way they
could get that sound,
they had to use us
to get that sound.
Like Led Zeppelin, for example.
Robert Plant or Joe Cocker even.
Once while traveling
Across the sky
This lovely planet
caught my eye
Many years ago,
when I was singing with Ray,
and I saw this guy contorting in
the front row of this concert.
So I'm standing like this, and I'm telling
the rest of the girls through my teeth,
"Who is that guy?
What's wrong with him?"
Until we die
Until we die
We're just learning
to live together
Learning to live together
Learning to live together
till we die
But what I loved about working with
Joe is that he let us be ourselves.
In England, they were like,
"Go for it.
Give us all you have."
That... it was the reason for
the innovation of rock and roll.
Oooh
Ooh-hoo
- Ooh
- Whoo!
LENNEAR: He gave us free rein,
and everybody's face
would light up, you know.
Whoo!
Ooh
And somebody would
start singing something,
or someone would
start playing something
and everybody just...
Until we die
Until we die
Well, we're learning
to live together
And then when I got to A&M,
I was coming
down the stairs from Lou's office.
Joe was coming on the lot from
that front gate and he said,
"There she bloody is."
He said, "I want you to
work on all of my records."
...live together
Learning to live together
At any moment, you would see
James Taylor
coming down the hallway,
or you'd see Carole coming out,
saying, "Come sing with me."
Till we die
Let me in, honey,
to my other home.
Whoo!
[ The Rolling Stones:
"Gimme Shelter"]
What a great studio.
Boy, did we have some times
in this studio.
[music continues]
So it was like very late at
night and I was very,
you know, a little pregnant.
Had curlers and the whole thing
in my hair,
getting ready to go to bed.
And we got a call:
"Merry, there's a group of guys
in town called Rolling..."
...The Rolling somebodies
and they're from England,
and they need somebody
that will sing with them."
They picked me up
with silk pajamas on,
a mink coat,
and a Chanel scarf on my head.
MAN: We said, "It'd be wonderful if
a woman sang this part about..."
...that I'd written about rape,
murder and all this.
It was in the middle of the
night and we thought,
"Well, we would love
to have a woman sing this part."
I didn't know her from Adam.
Then she turned up
in her curlers.
She was in bed
and she got outta bed.
And, you know, it was a
kind of raunchy part to sing.
I said, "What?"
Rape, murder?
It's just a shot away?"
I started to sing: It's just a shot
away Just a shot away with Mick.
She sings the lyrics right along
me, and with a lot of personality,
which is what was needed.
Don't you worry
War, children
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
What I liked was that she could sing.
She was able to be Merry.
She didn't have
to bring it down.
He said, "You wanna do another one?"
I said, "Sure, I'll do another one."
I mean, she just did it,
like, couple of times, you know.
So I said to myself,
"Mm-hmm, I'm gonna do another
"and I'm gonna blow them
outta this room." [laughs]
I went in again and I did that
pass on the part that says,
Rape, murder
Just a shot away
So I had to go up
another octave.
[shouting]
Rape, murder
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Rape, murder, yeah
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
- Rape, murder
- [man] Whoo!
It's just a shot away
It's a just shot away
Yeah, yeah
[ "Gimme Shelter"]
JAGGER: You do these things
at sort of two in the morning,
and then you come in the next day and
you go, "Bloody hell, that's good."
Yeah. I don't hear
a hand clap. [laughs]
JONES: Everybody just tells me, "You
have to bring everything down."
So when the rock and roll world
came and said,
"No, we want you the same,"
it saved us.
It saved us. Saved our lives.
[rock music plays]
Lisa, let's practice that.
Lisa, let's do that.
Let's just... just do the coda.
- [humming]
- So Vinnie, from the coda.
- Just the coda.
- [soft rock plays]
Mercury falling
[vocalizing]
I rise from my bed
Collect my
thoughts together
[vocalizing]
But have to hold my head
[vocalizing]
- Seems that she's gone
- Gone
Leaving me too soon
During "The Hounds of Winter,"
I just indicated to Lisa
that she should, you know,
vocalize and do something
to evoke the spirit
of loneliness.
[vocalizing]
And out comes this voice,
you know, amazing,
extraordinary, ghostly voice.
So every time she's
performed that with me,
I've asked her to do that.
STING: Lisa, give...
you can give me more than that.
Really? OK.
STING: Give me
something to play with.
- Let me reel you in.
- [laughs]
- [imitates fishing reel]
- [guitar playing]
And I'm also intensely
proud of my band.
My greatest pleasure is to stand back
and let them do what they can do.
BOTTI: And they kick into this
song called "Hounds of Winter,"
and they go to this out vamp.
And Sting was cool
enough to say, "All right, go."
Put a spotlight on her
and just turn her loose."
- [vocalizing]
- [rock music plays]
[continues vocalizing]
- [crowd cheering]
- Lisa Fischer.
STING: That's a powerhouse
voice, you know, and...
...I think of her as a star.
She's a star.
[humming]
She puts her whole self into it
and then
there's just something totally
transcendent that happens.
[vocalizing]
FISCHER: You're
a little feather,
and somebody just said...
[blows] and you just go.
[vocalizing]
You just go and you never fall.
You never hit your head.
You just kinda land.
That's what it feels like to me.
[continues vocalizing]
MAXWELL: The human voice
is the most pure expression
coming from your own being.
There's nothing between your soul and
your ability and your body and them.
It's not being camouflaged by a
trumpet or a saxophone or guitar.
It's pure, and that's why
they're so sensitive about it,
because they're
putting it out there.
[vocalizing]
FISCHER: Everything's a mess.
Sorry.
Uh... everything's a mess.
It's just a mess.
Uh, these are old gold albums
I haven't put up yet. Um...
That's something from Tina Turner's
tour that was a gift from her.
This is, um, an old poster
of Luther Vandross that I love.
I met him right after that tour.
When I auditioned for him,
I walk into the room
and he's sitting around the
piano and there's this, um,
container with some
fried chicken in it. [laughs]
I had to giggle.
I was just like, "Yeah!"
- And the eagle
- And the eagle
- And the eagle flies
- Oh...
FISCHER: And he goes...
And the eagle flies
..."Sing this for me."
And I would sing
something to him.
He's like, "OK, now can you
give that to me with more air?"
And that was like, "More air?"
I was like, "OK."
'Cause, you know, nobody was talking
about those subtleties, you know.
LASLEY: A lot of his approach
was breath and air.
Sometimes the finesse of a note,
like... No turning back
Like, the way you got
off a note... Back
- One, two...
- And there's a rose
I sounded just like that yesterday
when I was understudying the note.
- [laughing]
- WOMAN: He really did.
VANDROSS: You know what I'm saying?
I was up there.
- WOMAN: He was up there.
- It was me and John Glenn.
FISCHER: After we were done
singing, he says, "Well," he says,
"If you can dance,
you've got this gig."
And I was like, "Yay!"
And then I was like, "Uh-oh."
[laughs] Wait a minute.
Oh, I've got two left feet.
Lisa.
Are you ready now?
- Hoo
- You sound nice
- Say it twice
- Hoo, hoo
Are you ready?
Won't you tell me, doll?
- Yeah
- Tell me and then tell me again
- Hoo, hoo
- Now do it...
FISCHER: He knew how
to pull each gift together
and make this beautiful...
piece of jewelry.
- All the way
- All
VANDROSS: You know, when
I was a kid buying records
by The Shirelles, by Aretha
Franklin, by Dionne Warwick,
one of the first things
that appealed to me
were the background vocals,
and that remained with me.
Luther was a background singer
and a jingle singer in New York.
Back in those days,
Luther was very heavy
and wore three-piece suits, sweating
like a pig, singing like an angel.
SPRINGSTEEN: Luther Vandross,
when I first met Luther Vandross,
I went down to Philadelphia,
David Bowie...
David Bowie invited me down
He was recording
"Young Americans."
And I had one record out
and he cut a couple of my songs,
and so I was
tremendously excited
and I took the bus
to Philadelphia.
And I went in the studio and I
met David and I met the band.
And Luther Vandross
was one of the backup singers
in David... David Bowie's
"Young Americans" band.
My God, I can trot on that.
Time, giving it
- Giving it
- Keeping it back
That's cool. That's cool.
OK, next one.
Gotta do it this way
to get it... One, two...
SPRINGSTEEN: Well, it was...
The young Americans
It was just fabulous, you know.
And it was David Bowie's
soul record, in that sense,
and he called on those voices that were
rooted in the church to bring that in,
because they bring a world
with them, a world with them.
All night
All night
She wants the young American
Young American
Young American
She wants
the young American
All...
I believe that, you know,
the role of the backup singer
evolves as music evolves.
AUSTIN: Music was becoming more
complicated and richer
and more interesting
in the '70s,
and so the backgrounds
became more sophisticated.
It just became more than vocals.
It was the music.
All night
All night
She wants a young American
Young American
LASLEY: And you
find yourself singing
what the
background singers sang,
as much as what
the lead singer sang.
Mama's got cramps
and look at your hands ache
I heard the news today
Oh, boy
I got a suite
and you got defeat
Ain't there a woman
I can sock on the jaw?
Ain't there a man
you can say no more?
Ain't there a child I can
hold without judging?
Ain't there a pen that will
write before they die?
Ain't you proud that
you've still got faces?
Ain't there one damn song
that can make me
Break down and cry?
- All night
- All night
PENDARVIS: You know, when you think
about the history of pop music
and all the memorable hooks
that people sing along with,
they're singing with us
most of the time,
because that's what we do on records.
We come in and sing the hooks.
[rock music playing]
Wah-wah
You give me a wah-wah
LENNEAR: That show was
just something that was cosmic.
...of you
LENNEAR: If you were
there to experience it,
it will be something
you'll take to the grave.
Wah-wah
JONES: Claudia Lennear
had that exposure,
and then the next big moment came for
her with, um, The Rolling Stones.
JAGGER: And Claudia Lennear, she was
like the really hot one of the...
...of the Ikettes, you know.
She was a really
great dancer, very hot, beautiful girl.
AUSTIN: There were a few young
ladies in the background world
who were trying to get to the leading
men as quickly as possible. [laughs]
LENNEAR: You know,
Mick and I had a very
special relationship,
and we used
to have so much fun.
We used to have so much fun,
just doing silly things,
dressing in each other's clothes.
Just crazy, wacky stuff.
You know,
Mick has his bad boy image
and David had his
androgynous look,
but first and foremost, they
were just all really sweet.
Well, anyway, she must
have enjoyed those times,
because she looked like
she was. [laughs]
[rock music continues]
I don't need no wah-wah
- Wah-wah
- And I know how sweet life can be
CLAYTON: At that particular time, there
was so much going on in the world,
with the Civil Rights Movement
and the war.
GREENE: Though there was
so much politically going on,
you know, you're pretty
insulated from it a lot of times
and you only really find it out
when you get out there
on the road,
the places that you stay,
the people that you talk to.
You're able to see the actual
politics and the culture,
you know, what's going on
in the culture.
It was weird. It was happy,
musically, but it was a sad time.
MAN: One, two, three.
[ "Sweet Home Alabama"]
MAN: Turn it up.
CLAYTON: I think Clydie King
called me for that session.
She said, "There's this guy.
His name is Lynyrd Skynyrd."
I said, "Really?" She said, "Yes,
and he wants to do this song
called 'Sweet Home A...'"
I said, "Alabama?
Honey, nobody wants to sing
anything about Alabama."
I certainly didn't wanna sing
anything about Alabama.
Well, I heard Mr. Young
sing about her
Well, I heard
ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will
remember
A southern man
don't need him around...
BOYD: It was a moment
when this idea of black power
had a lot to do with people
defining themselves
based on their own ideas, as
opposed to white overseer's view
of how one should behave.
We don't give a fuck
about whether or not
white people are offended.
We're gonna do our thing.
Sweet home Alabama
Where the sky...
CLAYTON: My husband
was 19 years older than I was.
He said, "Oh, you need to sing
'Sweet Home Alabama.'"
I said, "Well, why?" He says,
"You'll understand later in life."
He said, "Right now, you don't
understand, Merry. You're young."
You don't...
you don't really understand."
In Birmingham they love
the governor, boo-hoo-hoo
Now we all did
what could do
That's what we were doing,
we were living.
We were living the moment,
living that emotion, creating.
It was basically like a slap in the face.
A-ha, sweet home Alabama.
We got your sweet home Alabama.
[song continues]
But we gonna sing you anyway, and
we're gonna sing the crap out of you.
[song continues]
BOYD: If given the opportunity,
we will demonstrate our value
beyond any reasonable doubt,
so much so that going forward,
when you start to define singing,
it's going to be based
on this transformative sound
coming out of these
backup singers' mouths.
[song continues]
My way of being an activist
in our struggle
as a black people
was to do the music.
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
It's the last line.
Lord lift us up
Lord lift us up...
Where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Lord lift us up
Where we belong
Up where the thrill below
Up where the
free winds blow
Any song that you can name
with background on it,
either I was doing it
with a bunch of girls,
or either the Waters
were doing it.
WATERS: We always went
in the studio with,
"God, we're on this song."
And we would always do our very
best, like it was ours.
- Patti Labelle.
- Patti LaBelle.
- "You Are My Friend."
- "You Are My Friend."
- The Bad Girls album.
- [ "Bad Girls"]
Doot-doot, haa, beep-beep
That's when
we really cleaned up.
Whitney Houston. -Whitney
Houston, "The Greatest Love of All."
- All those LPs.
- The Disney characters.
Yes. -That's us on there,
the "Small World," you know.
- You hear all that singing.
- Lion King.
[singing in foreign language]
[singing in foreign language]
- Uh-huh.
- Growing Pains.
As long as we got
each other
The biggest selling record in the history
of records, Michael Jackson's Thriller.
[ "Thriller"]
'Cause this is Thriller
And the biggest
selling movie, Avatar.
It's some bird sounds
and things like that.
[screeches] Stuff like that,
you know, different things... But
doing this kinda just took us away
from doing our own records,
you know, and stuff like that,
which we used to do.
Singing, you know,
oohs and aahs and...
It's kinda fun for a minute.
Uh...
I'm not sure if I'd like
to do it for a living.
[rock music plays]
I love you baby like
a flower loves the spring
And I love you baby
like a robin loves to sing
And I love you baby, like
the schoolboy loves to play
Oh, and I love you baby
River deep
and mountain high
LOVE: Phil Spector's
name started getting big,
my name started getting big,
because the rock and roll people
like Bruce and Elton John
and Stevie wanted to know
who that girl singer was.
I want you baby
Yeah, so tell me if you...
I mean, she without question,
is a lead singer.
You started to pick up that voice and you
began to have an allegiance to that voice.
River deep, mountain high
If I lost you, would I cry?
LOVE: That made me wanna be out there
by myself even more as a solo artist.
Baby, baby
I saw then I'd have to leave that
group to become a solo singer.
Singing background, to me,
it was like a rehearsal
for what I was gonna do for my project.
I wanted to sing
as Merry Clayton,
to the masses. I wanted to get
my stuff out to the masses,
and God sent me Lou Adler.
[soul music plays]
Merry consciously wanted to be
a solo artist and a star.
Whenever Merry appeared,
standing ovations.
I mean, it's as if they never had
seen or heard someone like that.
Southern man
You'd better keep your head
Don't forget
what your good book said
When it came to my project, I was
gonna kick ass and take names.
Southern man
When will you pay them back?
Our hearts screaming
Bullwhip cracking
How long? How long?
How long? Baby, how long?
ADLER: She made three
really good albums.
They all sound like somebody
that's as big as Aretha Franklin.
Why don't you get
yourself together?
Get your heart, your mind
And your soul together, oh
CLAYTON: I think
Lou did a great job
and A&M did a great job
promoting my records here.
LOVE: I think you do,
number one, have to
have that kill spirit, to really want it.
Now, Merry Clayton
got the kill spirit.
I don't know why
she wasn't a superstar.
One day I'm gonna
cut him down
XXX
Bullwhips they
were cracking
How long? Oh, how long?
XXX
Oh, southern man
We did everything possible,
and it just didn't take.
JONES: The industry,
it was controlled.
There were rules.
She was a gospel singer.
There's only one Aretha.
You know, and that's the way
they felt in those days.
It could only be Aretha.
Only could be Diana Ross.
Good book said
Well, you can't
forget what your
- Good book said
- Oh
Yes, I became
frustrated at one time, said,
"Damn, the record didn't
go any further than this?
What're we doing wrong?"
I felt like if I just gave
my heart to what I was doing,
I would automatically be a star.
Southern man
[song ends]
I think what happens with the
whole issue of background
versus lead singing is,
you know,
the material that you're given
and how you work
with producers.
[vocalizing]
In the mid '70s, Darlene
Love is finally freed
from her contract
with Phil Spector.
I had signed
with Gamble and Huff.
Who were, at that time,
the hottest thing out there.
And I say, "OK, here's my career.
It's gonna really go now."
And, uh, there was
another door I ran into.
ZANES: Within weeks, they sell her
contract back to Phil Spector
and the nightmare continues.
LOVE: This was
the new Phil Spector.
He did the Beatles thing and,
you know, he was a big star,
so now he's gonna act like a big
star in front of this little star,
Darlene Love,
and I wasn't having it.
It got to be so bad I just
said, "You know what?"
I've had it."
That's what I said to myself.
Took the earphones off my ears,
put 'em in the chair,
picked up my coat, put it on
and walked out the studio.
I didn't see Phil Spector
no more for over 20 years.
SPRINGSTEEN:
Many of these singers
came outta
the music business at a time
when the singer
depended on a songwriter,
somebody who knew
how to feature their voice,
somebody who knew how
to create a hit arrangement.
Those are a lot of things
to be dependent upon, you know.
And I know so many people
with incredible voices,
but if you don't find someone
who understands who you are,
you can be a great singer
and just not... and that...
...just not make that next step,
you know. There's...
I mean, the country's filled
with them, you know.
[ Otis Redding:
"I've Got Dreams To Remember"]
I've got dreams
Dreams to remember
There's no guarantees
in entertainment.
There's no... no guarantees.
Dreams to remember
LENNEAR: I had been offered the
chance to go solo several times,
and then ultimately, I ended up
with Warner Brothers.
The studio was smoking.
It was just...
and it was just amazing.
It was just amazing and...
MAN: And how was
the record received?
Mm... not that well.
I've got dreams
Dreams to remember
OREN WATERS: If you are out there and
your name is on that doggone marquee,
the pressure is on 'em, and sometimes
that can... that can cause, uh,
problems in a person's life.
- Listen to me
- I've got dreams
- Dreams
- Dreams to remember
I had a contract as a solo artist and
then I was kept on, but shelved.
So I was on Motown, but not.
And it hasn't been easy.
You know, there's stuff
that goes on with people.
I've got dreams
LENNEAR: I had a daughter to
raise. I had a band to support.
I mean, it just got crazy.
- I've got dreams
- Dreams
Dreams to remember
- Listen, honey
- I've got dreams
MIZELLE: The kind of feeling that you get
from people screaming in the audience,
if you're always looking for that
in life, you're gonna crash.
I still want you to stay
LENNEAR: The focus
wasn't on music anymore.
I still love you anyway
I had to send my daughter
to live with my brother
and his kids,
while I was trying to scrape
things together
to pay the gas bill.
Girl, you just satisfy me
Ooh-wee
I remember her putting out a record,
but then I looked up and then...
I didn't see Claudia anymore.
She said thank you and
goodnight, that's what she said.
Yeah
VEGA: I thought people would be
banging down my door for deals,
and it didn't happen like that.
"You're too fat.
You're too old."
"You know, you should seriously
think about another career."
...to remember
Listen to me
VEGA: And after that,
it's hell.
Dreams to remember
I think if I had "made" it,
like what the world...
millions of dollars, all that,
I probably wouldn't be sitting in
this chair talking to you right know,
'cause I would
have OD'd somewhere.
- I've got dreams
- Dreams
Dreams to remember
- Don't make me suffer
- I've got dreams
- Dreams
- Dreams to...
STING: It's not a level playing field.
It never is a level playing field,
and you come into life understanding
that. It's not about fairness.
It's not really about talent,
you know.
It's... circumstance,
it's luck. It's destiny.
I don't know what it is, but
the best people deal with that.
HILL: Working with Michael
really did inspire me,
and saying like, "Wow,
it's OK to dream this big."
It's OK to realize
your dreams."
I still believe
Someday
You'll come around
AUSTIN: She's representational
of what's happening
with background singers
at this point. I know she aspires
to be a solo artist, though.
I pray
MAN: This last tour, I heard from
other friends that were with Michael
that he just loved her and,
of course, she got the job.
You know, we were so excited
for him and for us to be
able to do this show,
and it was coming together.
I can't do that.
But you're fine to do it.
I gotta save my voice.
I ain't going nowhere
'Cause I...
HILL: And then all of a sudden,
we're on our way to rehearsal
and we get
the news and it's like,
"You gotta be kidding me.
Like, how's that even possible?"
We'll always be waiting
So somewhere in me
HILL: It's such an overwhelming
shock just to go from
almost on our way
to this huge show,
to all of a sudden, he's gone.
You
HILL: I was crying
throughout the service
and I wasn't really emotionally
in a place to sing,
but, actually, it
wasn't too unfamiliar to me,
because that kind of feeling
and that reverence
reminded me a lot
of church service,
so that's how I felt
when I was there.
But, you know, I didn't
really realize at the time
billions of people
were watching it.
ANNOUNCER: And a star is born.
We are the world
WOMAN: Judith, thank
you so much for joining us.
Just 24 hours ago,
I think you were brought
to the world's attention
by doing
one of Michael's
most famous songs ever.
Well, what you saw...
HILL: When you're
a background singer,
it is a springboard in
the beginning,
but it can easily
become quicksand
if that's not
what you wanna do.
Ever since the Michael Jackson
experience,
I've turned down almost
every background singing gig,
because I knew that
if I kept doing it,
then becoming an artist
would become more difficult.
MAN: I think the world
needs to hear her
and I didn't want her to go
the way of background singing.
I put together the girls for Elton to
go on tour and they wanted Judith.
Elton loves Judith, but I think
she had to make a decision,
"Do I really wanna
be a solo artist?"
And she's trying to do it,
because she writes songs.
JOHN: We in the music industry,
especially African American
people, need to know our worth.
We need to know,
as women, we're important.
And I think the breakdown is
when a woman doesn't know who
she is and she settle for less.
Check out your worth,
because you're worth
more than that.
LOVE: I couldn't sleep.
I was getting in such
a depressed state,
I called my mother and father,
asked them
if they would
take care of my kids.
And the most enjoyment I got back in
those days was singing in church.
That's the only place that I was
actually singing during those times.
Only thing I thought I could do and
make a little money to survive,
you know, I started
cleaning houses.
[woman vocalizing]
LOVE: Not the great Darlene Love.
She's not doing... cleaning houses.
I said, "Yes, the great Darlene Love is.
She is cleaning houses."
One particular Christmas, I was
cleaning this lady's bathroom.
[ "Christmas
(Baby Please Come Home)"]
LOVE: And "Christmas
(Baby Please Come Home)",
my Christmas record,
came on the radio while
I was cleaning this bathroom.
They're singing
deck the halls
And I just looked up and just
said, "OK, all right, Darlene",
this is not where you're supposed to be.
You're supposed to be singing.
There's a whole world out there
who wants to hear you sing."
- Christmas
- Pretty lights on the tree
LOVE: And then the move from California
to New York, my career just took off.
- You should be here with me
- Christmas
Baby please come home
Pretty sad to hear.
Everything OK with you?
- Everything is wonderful.
- Thanks for being here.
- Come back and sing it again next week.
- Of course.
I hope you have a good holiday.
LOVE: I have to plan
what I'm going to do.
I have to take a little job.
The bastard's got my daughter.
LOVE: Just so you can keep your
name out there.
But if I didn't do those jobs,
then nobody would really know
who Darlene Love was.
JONES: As a young person,
I thought everybody could sing.
When you start getting older,
then you realize,
everyone is not the same,
that these are gifts,
and you have to share
and go out into the world.
Baby please come home
Baby, please come home
Baby please come home
FISCHER: Whoo!
Oh, my girlfriend
and I took these.
It was supposed to be closed.
You see the zipper is broken.
[laughs] I swear it was closed.
It started out closed.
Here, yes. It's my Grammy.
I just kinda keep 'em here.
I don't know what to do with it.
[laughs] I don't know
what to do with it.
- You're looking fantastic.
- Thank you.
- I've gotta tell this little story.
- OK.
The first time
I met you, I met Lis,
was you were singing
background on my record.
Yes... -"I Know How To Make You,"
that's right.
I know how to make you
love me, baby
That's right, that's right.
And I have to tell you,
I mean, everyone in the
industry knows Lisa Fische.
FISCHER: I wasn't deep
in search of a record deal.
It was just one of those things
that just blossomed,
you know,
and I was really fortunate.
How can I
Ooh
I just... I think she
is a freak of nature
that I've never seen before.
[vocalizing]
- How can I ease
- [vocalizing]
And the Grammy goes to... Lisa
Fischer, "How Can I Ease the Pain?"
- How can I ease
- How can I ease the
Oh, pain
I have to thank Luther Vandross.
That's the first thing I have to do.
Without him, none of this would
have been possible for me.
She has her own Grammy.
She has her own recording
contract with Elektra Records.
[vocalizing]
It's different when you're
singing background for someone,
you know, because you're so
into making them happy,
making sure that they
have what they need.
But then, once you're
doing your own thing,
it's like you have to try to
understand what it is you need
and what's gonna
make you happy.
[song ends]
[applause]
MAN: Give it up. Lisa Fischer.
FISCHER: I was working
on a second record and...
...I don't know,
it just took too long.
It took too long, and
there was this window,
and it just took too long.
I just don't think anyone
knew what to do with me.
I don't think
I knew what to do with me.
That's something
I never really understood,
just the business part of it.
AUSTIN: It takes a tremendous
amount of energy
to be a solo artist and a tremendous
amount of ego to want to do that.
And she's never
had that kind of ego.
ALEXANDER: I think there
is a psychology behind it.
I think most background singers
will agree
that we're not really
good self-promoters.
You know, the industry
is for those who put themselves
on display and are willing
to play the game,
and some people aren't.
ZANES: In a strange way, the
gulf between the lead singer
and that group of backup
singers couldn't be wider.
You're going
into a group format
where you sacrifice
individuality
in order to arrive
at that blend.
And the blend is something that's not
just infectious for the listener.
It's... it's the transformative
experience for the singer.
And some people
just wanna stay there.
STING: Real musicians,
there's a spiritual component
to what they do.
It's got nothing to do
with worldly success.
Their music is much
more of an inner journey.
Any other success
is just cream on the cake.
[vocalizing]
There's this idea that you can
go on American Idol
and suddenly become a star,
but you may bypass
the spiritual work
that you have
to do to get there,
and if you bypass that, then
your success will be wafer thin.
[harmonizing vocals]
MAXINE WATERS: People lose
the heart of a lot of it
because they haven't
grown up with, you know,
having to go through that,
what I call wood shedding,
having to really say,
"OK, let me focus in on...
...this is what we need to do."
[harmonizing ends]
There's a budget right now,
in every...
...every recording budget
that says "for tuning."
And that's, you know, how many
hours are allowed for tuning.
And I said, "What's that?" "Oh,
we have to tune all the vocals."
"Well, why don't
they sing in tune?"
"Well, it just takes too
much time and it's too hard."
And so they just sing
and then they tune 'em all.
And that's ridiculous to me.
Please welcome Kylie Minogue.
[cheering]
Well, good evening, everyone.
How you feeling?
HILL: Actually, I've gotten
a lot of criticism.
I've done a couple of gigs
I thought I would get,
just get away with, you know.
And I even put a wig on.
I put, like, a straight-hair wig.
Like, on this Jay Leno gig,
no one's gonna know it's me. And then
I get these tweets from fans, like,
"How could you do this? You're
singing in front of... behind her,
and, you know,
you go from Michael to..."
And like just criticism, and I'm like,
"How did you even know that was me?"
[laughs] But I'm, like, right
in the transitional stage here.
I am not at a position where
I can turn down everything,
because all of these things
as an artist are really expensive
and my dreams are huge.
So I have been doing some
background singing on the side.
I want to stop
and thank you with this now
How sweet it is
to be loved by you
Oh, yes, it is, yeah
How sweet it is
WONDER: With Judith, I knew that
she had an incredible voice.
I know that she sang in church, and
it was a really wonderful thing
when I heard her songs.
I said,
"You gonna do something."
How sweet it is
to be loved by you
HILL: Stevie is very excited
about me as an artist as well.
He's really shown that.
But it's just an honor to just be able to...
I don't really care.
I mean, I just love singing
with him regardless, you know.
WONDER: As much
as you're enjoying this,
don't let your dream disappear,
because you wanna be with me
or be around me.
You gotta step out there
and do your thing.
Sing, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah
WONDER: People singing
together
has always meant to me
people coming together.
MAN: What moves people is the
humanness of it, not the machine.
That's not the same as
someone singing and playing to you
and putting their heart into it.
And great background singers,
you know, it's moving.
AUSTIN: For a long time,
I'd say a good five years,
you couldn't hear
a background on a record.
You wouldn't hear anybody
doing a hum or an "ooh"
or a "la" or... or an
answer line or anything.
Nothin'.
[vocalizing]
WOMAN: There's not as much work
for background singers,
because different ones have
called me over the years
and just asked me,
"Are you working?
'Cause my phone
hasn't been ringing."
[vocalizing]
A lot of home studios, people
have their families singing,
doing all the vocal parts
themselves.
It's just put a lot
of singers out of work.
[harmonizing vocals]
MAN: When you get to the '90s, you're
starting to see major structural changes.
The big recording sessions associated
with the '70s and the '80s,
they're not happening anymore.
JONES: People didn't want
to pay the background singer,
'cause they don't
think they need it.
They were saying, "Hey,
we don't have to..."
We don't have to write
that check,"
not realizing
that was the sound.
And that's why Joe Cocker
and The Stones and Rod Stewart,
David and all of these wonderful
people, they have their singers there.
They need those
background singers.
[harmonizing vocals]
LASLEY: You do tend to wonder,
is there a cutoff point
or is there a way to leave
this occupation or this life
without dying of heartbreak
or, you know,
or just, is it the biggest jones of all?
You get hooked on music,
you are fucked, you know.
When you get into a relationship,
you know, there's an energy.
It's like when you see a married
couple walking into a room.
You see them part, but you still
feel that string that binds them.
I never really had that.
So I always felt like I
belonged to everyone, you know,
a part of my heart,
a part of who I am
belongs to everybody.
So, I mean, sometimes
when I, you know,
talk to my friends who have
children or who are married,
I think to myself,
"Hmm, maybe I should've gotten
married and had some kids
and done all that kinda thing."
But... I'm good.
[laughs] I am so good.
BOTTI: Lisa is so
incredibly versatile,
then you almost, you're so talented,
you almost get like option anxiety.
Well, what do I do? Should
I stay with the R&B thing?
Well, R&B was
so big at the time.
Then you're up against Whitney and
Mariah and blah and blah and blah.
Then, maybe I should do a little
bit more of the rock thing.
And her phone rings and it's Mick
Jagger and he says, "Join The Stones,"
and that's a hard thing to, you
know, to turn away from, you know.
That's a... [laughs]
[ "Gimme Shelter"]
Rape, murder
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Rape...
JAGGER: It's great to have
the female voice, you know,
otherwise it's me, me, me, me and me
and then it's a bit of Keith and...
But still, you know, it's still
the same kind of masculinity.
And then when you can get
someone like Lisa to step out
and you've got a whole
new voice out there.
[vocalizing]
FISCHER: It's like, I could
hear how Mick was singing it
and I, you know,
react to him a certain way.
My very life today
Like nobody else was in the room.
It was freeing in a weird way.
Gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away
AUSTIN: Why isn't
she promoting herself
and why is she out with The
Rolling Stones all the time?
It's because she's
comfortable doing that.
She loves doing it
and she's got it all to herself.
[laughs] She's not stupid.
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Shot away, shot away
I wanna be able to walk the streets and
not have to worry about, you know,
putting on sunglasses and hiding
out and, you know,
the tits up in the air and,
you know... I just... I...
I'm just... I'm not feeling that.
I'm just not feeling that.
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away
Kiss away
FISCHER: Some people will do
anything to be famous,
and then there are other people
who just will sing.
It's not about anything except
being in this special space
with people, and that is
really the higher calling to me.
[crowd cheering]
[soft piano music]
CLAYTON: Seemingly,
every time I get ready
to do something really, really big,
or something really, really wonderful,
something would just happen
that would just knock me
to my knees, you know.
You don't want everybody to know
you got this at Pick 'n Save.
Ha!
I said, "God, what is this?
Am I not supposed
to be doing this?
If I'm not supposed
to be doing this,
then show me I'm not
supposed to be doing this,
"and I won't do it, you know."
- But I never was shown.
- ALL: Amen.
Praise the Lord.
And I just stay cool,
stay humble,
stay beautiful
and just do the work.
HILL: Thank you.
Thank you so much.
MAN: If somebody says,
"You're gonna do this.
You're gonna become
an international superstar,"
of course everyone would spend
the money and do that.
But if you're living in a little
place and you have no money
and you got a little bit saved
and they say,
"You gotta risk all of that
and you still might be working
McDonald's tomorrow,"
I think you gotta be absolutely crazy
to go after it like that, yeah.
[soft piano music]
LENNEAR: It was just...
I came to a fork in the road
and music wasn't on it.
[speaking Spanish]
Meaning, I'm sorry,
I'm very sorry, or...
LENNEAR: I've been teaching
Spanish for ten to 15 years.
Maybe you're
where you're supposed to be
Safely kept
within the crowd
LENNEAR: It's always
been a missing link.
You're looking for a reason
to break free
It's been a regret that I
didn't just hang in there,
especially when I see
my contemporaries progressing
in their musical lives.
Try to let it out
So much worse
LENNEAR: I never said it
wasn't for me, never.
If I did, I was lying to myself.
It's always been for me, always.
Just do it. Maybe that's one way to get
rid of that gnawing once and for all.
Oh, chance
We all need
We all need, we all need
We all need
a little desperation
Can I have -Let's have a warm,
warm welcome for Miss Judith Hill.
[cheering] - Do you want, do you want
Do you want
Do you want a little
inspiration?
'Cause every wound
Every wound, every wound
Really needs
a little desperation
There's machines that make people
stars that don't have talent.
They don't really sing live. Someone
could have done that for Judith,
but I think what
she has is deeper,
and maybe selling 500 million records
is not the best thing for her.
Let it out
So much worse
if you just try now
It's more than just leaning on your
talent. You gotta be disciplined.
Gotta get up in the morning.
You gotta go do it.
Take a chance
Take a chance...
Opportunity's knocking.
Open the door. Get going, kiddo.
We all need, we all need
We all need
A little desperation
Can I have, can I have
Can I have
WONDER: In these times that
we're living in right now,
a lot of it is based on
so many other things
that have nothing
to do with music.
Do you want
a little inspiration?
WONDER: But, you know, at the
end of the day, it's up to you
to perfect that gift
that you've been given.
Put your spirit into that song.
Focus on the words
that you're singing.
Get into the experience
of what you're singing about
and sing your heart out.
A little desperation
LOVE: Every time you get up,
you might fall down,
but you gotta get back up again,
you know,
and believe me when I tell you, it's
not easy, especially at my age.
I didn't start my solo career
till I was 40.
Tonight marks
the 25th anniversary
of a favorite holiday tradition
here at The Late Show.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
please welcome
the remarkable Darlene Love.
- [piano music playing]
- [inaudible singing]
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's
Always tomorrow
- Lean on me
- Lean on me
When you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
And now it is my honor and pleasure
to induct into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
and about time too,
Miss Darlene Love.
- [applause]
- Somebody to lean on
Please follow your pride
Thank you,
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I am truly honored
and overwhelmed.
Tomorrow
WOMAN: So many of us,
Merry Clayton, the Waters,
we stand on her shoulders.
LOVE: My mother
told this one lady,
"Oh, my daughter's in New York now.
She's on Broadway.
And they go, "What daughter?"
Said, "The one
that used to clean your house." [laughs]
- Lean on me
- Lean on me
- When you're not strong
- Lean on me
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
- For
- Lean on me
- It won't be long
- Lean on me
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on
ALEXANDER: I've seen artists
come and go,
and I look around on stage
and it's the same players.
They're in the game,
or they've stayed in the game
and they're legends
and they're amazing.
Lean on me
- When you're not strong
- When you're not strong
- I'll be your friend
- I'll be your friend
- I'll help you carry on
- Yes, I will
VEGA: Singing background,
it helped me find me.
It got back
to the love of music.
Somebody to lean
- Lean on me
- Lean on me
- When you're not strong
- When you're not strong
- I'll be your friend
- And I'll be your friend
- I'll help you carry on
- Yes, I will, yes, I will
- For it won't be long
- It won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
JOHN: We have a gift.
We can hear a song
and find our part
and harmonize with it.
Children on the
corner's doing it.
Little babies do it
when they learn to sing.
- [vocalizing]
- It's the gift coming out.
Now, what you do with the gift
is you.
- [cheering, applause]
- Like the old days.
OK, next session. [laughs]
My boy!
[music plays]
I've got so much love
in my heart for him,
and I just don't feel like me
when he's not around.
Yeah, there are boys
and there are boys,
- but he's a...
- Fine, fine boy
I wanna tell the world
about the boy I love
Just the kind of guy
I've been dreaming of
He's so sincere
When he holds me tight
When I'm blue
He makes me feel all right
He even takes me places
and buys me things
But love is more important
than a diamond ring
All I wanna do
is stay by his side
Take care of him
and I'll be satisfied
'Cause he's got
a sweet, sweet kiss
And a true, true heart
Something tells me
that we'll never part
He's got a sweet, sweet kiss
and a true, true heart
And he's fine, fine fine
No, he's fine, fine, fine
Let me tell you
He's a fine, fine boy
[saxophone solo]
- Yeah
- Fine, fine boy
I know he's fine
And he's mine
- He's a fine, fine boy
- Yeah, he's mine
- He's fine
- He's a fine, fine boy
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
He's mine
He's a fine, fine boy
- Whoo!
- [crowd cheering]
SPRINGSTEEN: Darling Love!