|Featured on the cover is "newcomer" Judith Hill.|
And the colored girls go
Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo
That lyric from Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" is the perfect introduction to Twenty Feet From Stardom — a documentary film that profiles and (at long last) gives credit to the predominantly African-American women who were (and still are) the amazing and outstanding back-up singers whose voices enriched popular music over the past six decades of rock-and-roll.
Darlene Love, Claudia — to name just a few.
The day after I saw this documentary, as I flipped channels on my car radio, I heard Mick Jagger's "Gimme Shelter" and broke into a smile. I now know Merry Clayton arrived in curlers at the recording studio for that gig and it is her voice belting out the lyric that made her cringe:
In the film, we hear both Jagger and Clayton recount how in 1969 she received a call in the middle of the night to come record back-up for this new British group in town called the Rolling Stones.
And did she ever.
Merry Clayton's exhilarating voice made that vocal, imprinted that powerful and shrill refrain on your brain and helped make that Stones song a powerhouse of pleasure.
Too bad "Merry" was credited as "Mary" on the album cover.
If you wanna give credit where credit is due, go see 20 Feet From Stardom at a theatre near you. You'll be dancin' in your seat.