Are You Singing Lead or Backup?

I recently saw Twenty Feet from Stardom--about back-up singers. Since I love Soul music and the rock and roll that derives from it about as much as I love life itself, this was a fantastic experience. I cried from the first notes through the credits.
There are lots of themes in the film, but one outstanding one is–what does it mean to sing back-up? Does everyone want or need to be the star?
As the eldest of four children, I know I’m happy bossing a small group around. I’d make a good first violinist, personality-wise, or lead guitar. (Or hey, classroom teacher.)
But am I Mick Jagger? No. If I could sing like any of the women in the film would I be beyond happy? Yes.
As one speaker points out–when you sing along, you are singing back-up. That is, harmony. So I think after all I am singing back-up. Isn’t that the poet’s job–to sing back-up to truth and beauty?

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

1 thought on “Are You Singing Lead or Backup?

  1. I fell in love with this film, too. If you aren’t already familiar, Zenobia from ABQ plays here often, and she knows most of the people in the film and sang with them and many others. She is the hardest working musician I know. Hope to dance with you while she plays sometime.

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