Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fine Fine Boy by Darlene Love

The greatest musicians in popular music aren’t always the ones that are the most popular and some of the most popular musicians owe their success to people who are not credited for their work.

20 Feet From Stardom is the Oscar winning documentary that explores the role of back-up singers and reveals the struggles of a generation of singers who contributed to some of the greatest songs in popular music history.

While their names may not ring a bell, their voices and the songs that they contributed to are unforgettable.

It’s a story like the film “Standing In The Shadows of Motown,” (which I discussed in this previous post), which seem tragic and victorious all at the same time.

The sad part is that these singers never “made it.” There are stories of singers who sang on songs while other artist got credit for them. Some of them rationalize this as a good thing but you can tell that there’s sadness, a feeling of regret as they reflection of their careers.

The amazing part is the music. These singers sound amazing from back when they were teenagers to now that they are past middle age. The passion and the shear joy that they express in their singing is simply breathtaking.

Phil Spector gets so much credit for his production work with songs like “Unchained Melody.” However his songs would not have had nearly the impact they did if these songs didn’t feature some of the best voices in pop music history. This becomes clear when you hear Darlene Love perform “Fine Fine Boy.”

20 Feet From Stardom ends with Darlene Love performing this song with Bruce Springsteen at the 25th Anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Concert.

Springsteen states in the documentary that one thing that made Spector productions so great is the youthfulness of these voice and yes Darlene Love sounds different than she did in her twenties:

Her voice is deeper now with more soul. After watching 20 Feet From Stardom, you know her struggle and how she went from singing to cleaning houses and finally came back and owned her true destiny as a singer. This knowledge gives her voice much more depth. Yes, “Fine Fine Boy,” is a teenage-centric song, but it’s about joy. It’s about hope and Darlene Love, expressing this so beautifully after all that she has gone through is truly inspiring.

One of these days Ollie will ask me about "Fine Fine Boy," after years of me singing this song to him.  Then I'll explain to him who Darlene Love is and we'll watch some of 20 Feet From Stardom.  He may not understand what it's all about, but he'll understand the joy that comes from these amazing singers.  I can't think of a better tribute to their work then to pass their music and their stories on to one more generation. 

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