Standing in the Shadows of Motown
November 15, 2002
This documentary recounts the history of the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists in the heyday of the genre. As Berry Gordy, Jr. began to cut songs for his new record company in 1959, he assembled the most talented musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene. During their unprecedented 14-year run, these men were the backbone of every hit of the era, playing together on more number-one hits than Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys combined.
Three decades after the last time they played together as a group, the Funk Brothers reunited in Detroit to tell their story. Director Paul Justman used a combination of archival footage, still photos, narration from Andre Braugher, re-creation scenes, and 20 Motown master tracks to bring the tale to life. As a special added treat, the Brothers joined together for 12 new live performances of some of their greatest hits, backing up such contemporary performers as Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan, Joan Osborne and Me'Shell NdegéOcello. The narration for the film is based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same title, which won the 1989 Rolling Stone/BMI Ralph J. Gleason Music Book award.
Artisan Entertainment, which did an outstanding job of marketing the Academy Award®-nominated Buena Vista Social Club, acquired the distribution rights to Standing in the Shadows of Motown in April of 2002. The film had its premiere at the first-ever Tribeca Film Festival in New York City and will likely hit a number of other festivals on the circuit before its limited release in theaters. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Vital statistics for Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Funk Brothers: Earl Van Dyke, Joe Hunter, Johnny Griffith, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Robert White, William “Benny” Benjamin, Richard “Pistol” Allen, Uriel Jones, James Jamerson, Bob Babbitt, Jack Ashford, Eddie “Bongo” Brown
Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Montell Jordan, Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Joan Osborne, Brian Marable, Andre Braugher
Walter Dallas, Ntozake Shange
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