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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

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Writers:

(Narration), (Narration) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard 'Pistol' Allen ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Eddie 'Bongo' Brown ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself
Johnny Griffith ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
James Jamerson ...
Himself (archive footage)
Uriel Jones ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Herself
Gerald Levert ...
Himself
...
Himself
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Storyline

In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for his new record company. Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on every hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, this unheralded group of musicians had played on more number ones hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined - which makes them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They called themselves the Funk Brothers. Forty-one years after they played their first note on a Motown record and three decades since they were all together, the Funk Brothers reunited back in Detroit to play their music and tell their unforgettable story, with the help of archival footage, still photos, narration, interviews, re-creation scenes, 20 Motown master tracks, and twelve new live performances of Motown classics with the Brothers backing up contemporary performers. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They played on more #1 records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined... This is their story. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Story of the Funk Brothers  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$114,442 (USA) (15 November 2002)

Gross:

$1,600,547 (USA) (21 February 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Uriel Jones: People would always say everything but the musicians. They would say it was the artists, the producers, the way the building was constructed, the wood in the floor, or maybe even food. But I'd like to see them take some barbecue ribs or hamburgers, anything, and throw down in that studio, shut the door and count off '1,2,3,4' and get a hit out of there. The formula was the musicians!
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Crazy Credits

After all of the credits roll, we see a few of the Funk Brothers leaving the Snake Pit and turning off the lights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave
by Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr.), Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
Performed by Joan Osborne and The Funk Brothers
Joan Osborne appears courtesy of Interscope Records
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

 
In the beginning it was The Funk Brothers
8 March 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" is a documentary that has to be seen by all lovers of popular music. This is a must for all fans of the best sound that came out in the middle of the last century from Detroit. Paul Justman, the director of this extraordinary documentary, takes us into a fantastic voyage to the place where the music was born. Aided by the narration of Ntozake Shange and Walter Dallas, this film will warm up anybody's heart.

The documentary is a tribute to the people that created most of the hits that became popular and went to become classics: The Funk Brothers, as they were known. The survivors of these talented musicians are presented individually, and those no longer living are remembered with anecdotes told by living artists in loving memory of them. These talented musicians gave America, and the world, some of the most memorable songs of its history.

The Funk Brothers' music had such an edge, that everything else written by popular songwriters pale in comparison. Detroit nurtured these magnificent musicians and gave them the base where they were able to excel by creating something that wasn't easily duplicated by their contemporaries, or their followers.

In a poignant performance Chaka Khan, perhaps the best and most original exponent of the genre gives an amazing rendition of the old Marvin Gaye's mega hit, "What's going on". Then, to end the film, this incredible and generous singer is seen and heard with Montell Jordan singing "Ain't no Mountain High", which keep us singing, smiling, and shedding a tear for that innocent bygone era that the sensational Funk Brothers created for our delight and pleasure.

Long live the Funk Brothers and the sound they left behind. Amen!


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