It was like an old-time Motown revue at New York’s Apollo Theatre last night (Nov. 7) as Mary Wilson, Ashford & Simpson, Mario, and others sang in tribute to the Funk Brothers, the musicians behind the hits at the legendary music label. “They’re responsible for my life,” said Wilson, who worked with the Funk Brothers in the 1960s as part of the Supremes and performed with them last night. “Thank you guys!”
The Funk Brothers were the house band for Motown and were responsible for making the Motown sound an international brand. Yet most people don’t know their names or their importance in music history.
A new documentary, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” seeks to rectify that. The film had its premiere at the Apollo last night, with the surviving members of the Funk Brothers present: Bob Babbitt, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Joe Messina, Uriel Jones, Eddie “Chank” Willis, and Jack “Black Jack” Ashford.
The film was followed by performances by the Funk Brothers with Wilson, Ashford & Simpson, Mario, Musiq, Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams, Angie Stone, Marshall Crenshaw, and Ben Harper.
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” which also features Joan Osborne and Meshell Ndegeocello, opens Nov. 15 in New York and Los Angeles.
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