A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.
A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as "I'll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", and "When a Man Loves a Woman".
Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.
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
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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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 »
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
by Norman Whitfield (as Norman J. Whitfield) and Barrett Strong
Performed by Ben Harper and The Funk Brothers
Ben Harper appears courtesy of Virgin Records
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
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Finally the "Funk Brothers" get their overdue recognition.
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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