This year, the National Anthem before the Rose Bowl game on January 1 won't feature a team band. "The Star-Spangled Banner" will be sung by Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love — four of the legendary backup singers featured in Morgan Neville's charming and local history-infused documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom. Why, you might ask? Because the film is on the short list of 15 documentaries being considered for an Oscar nomination, up against "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer" and "Blackfish," among others. It's a little bit of Oscar electioneering tie-in with the bowl game, but the singers are not necessarily an inappropriate selection. They have sung on dozens (at least) of hit records between them. They are iconic American musical voices. Love is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 2011. And they have local ties: Love is from Hawthorne, Clayton lives here now, and she performed her signature part on "Gimme Shelter" for the Rolling Stones at a Hollywood recording studio. But let's face it, yeah it's an Oscar thing.
The film's trailer:
One of the singers featured in the film, Claudia Lennear, lives in Claremont and now teaches Spanish, French, English and remedial math at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. She was a former Ikette with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, among other resume entries.
Add Love: As they have every year since 1986, Love, Paul Shaffer and an orchestra and chorus of friends welcomed Christmas on the David Letterman show on CBS.