Astrology: Film: ‘20 Feet From Stardom’ (2013)

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Musician Lou Reed, in his “Walk on the Wild Side,” paid tribute to the gals who trilled rock-and-roll’s historic doo-do-doo’s. Now, thanks to director Morgan Neville, there’s a cinematic tribute to those legendary and predominantly African-American female background singers in his documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

The part of the body associated with the Venus-ruled astrological sign Taurus is the throat. And, as presented in 20 Feet, these ladies – Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, Janice Pendarvis, Claudia Lennear, Charlotte Crossley, Tata Vega and Judith Hill, among them – created a collective Venusian explosion.

Whether working as members of a group to delicately harmonize, or as a featured back-up vocalist – think Merry Clayton’s thunderous proclamations of “Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away” in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” – these idiosyncratic backup contributions often sealed a song’s fate and transformed it into an instant classic. As Pendarvis says, “We sing the hooks.” Bruce Springsteen, one of the movie’s talking heads, describes those vocals as impossible to be replicate.

Many of the women’s comments – “You find where your voice fits” from Love, and “Singing is about a sharing, not a competition” from Fischer – radiate Venus-ruled Libra’s delight in balance and sharing. 20 Feet makes it clear that, in the songs that formed our own personal histories, the music in the background was the sound.

Astrology Film Rating: ♀ (Venus)

 

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