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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,638 users   Metascore: 76/100
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Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard 'Pistol' Allen ...
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Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin ...
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Eddie 'Bongo' Brown ...
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Johnny Griffith ...
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James Jamerson ...
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Uriel Jones ...
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Gerald Levert ...
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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:

The soul behind the sound. 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:

30 January 2003 (Australia)  »

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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Montell JordanChaka Khan: [singing] Baby, there ain't no mountain high enough / Ain't no valley low enough / Ain't no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you.
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Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Mess With Bill
by Smokey Robinson (as William Robinson Jr.)
Performed by The Marvelettes
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Finally the "Funk Brothers" get their overdue recognition.
4 February 2004 | by (Louisiana) – See all my reviews

Having purchased, listened to and loved Motown's records in the 60's and 70's, I often wondered who were the masterful (and usually uncredited) musicians responsible for so many top 10 hits. With "Standing In The Shadows of Motown", I was able to finally put some faces with the riffs that I admired.

Although many of the "Funk Brothers" are no longer with us, their legacies live on with those disks by the Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves and so many other great artists. The Funk Brothers defined soul and R & B music in its golden era. These guys played on records that sold in the millions and were being paid "scale" - sometimes as little as $25.00 per song at the time! Amazingly, most recordings were done in one or two takes; a testament to the talent portrayed in this movie.

If you love soul music, especially Motown's releases, this film is a must see. The recreations of the original songs by the remaining Funk Brothers and their guest performers are awesome!


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