Late in 1971, some unlikely news spread among the Southern California Community Choir in Los Angeles. Aretha Franklin was coming to town to record a live gospel album in January, and 25 of its members would be backing her up.
The group was led by one of the most famous gospel figures of the era, the Rev. James Cleveland, but its singers were local churchgoing Angelenos. Mary Hall, an alto, was 22.
“The reverend just said, ‘You be at rehearsal, and you be at rehearsal,’” she said in an interview last month. “I couldn’t believe I was getting ready to sing with the Queen of Soul. It’s still one of the greatest moments in my life.”
That moment — an electrifying two-night session before live audiences at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts — resulted in Franklin’s “Amazing Grace,” the best-selling gospel record in history, featuring now-canonical arrangements of gospel standards like “How I Got Over” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Less known until recently was that the performances were also filmed: a collaboration as ambitious and as bungled as only Hollywood could manage, buried for decades by red tape and a monster technical error. But with last weekend’s wide theatrical release of “Amazing Grace,” fans can finally immerse themselves in the full cinematic experience.
[Read our review, in which Wesley Morris calls “Amazing Grace” “one of the great music films.”]
The project sprouted at the confluence of several cultural currents at the beginning of the 1970s. Edwin Hawkins’s R&B crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” had helped bring gospel into mainstream in 1969. And by 1971, Franklin, who had grown up as a touring gospel singer, was one of the biggest stars in pop music, with a list of hit singles including “Respect,” “Think” and “Chain of Fools.”
If anyone could capitalize on that moment, it was Franklin, then 29. Having signed a few years earlier with Atlantic Records, she teamed with one of the label’s star producers, Jerry Wexler, who had helped catapult the careers of artists like Ray Charles and Wilson Pickett. The plan was to make a double album.
“Jerry was smart enough to understand that it would be a statement as to her imprimatur as an artist,” said the producer Alan Elliott, who worked for years to resurrect the film. “And he empowered her by making her his co-producer.”
Plans for a concert film were also underway: Documentaries like “Monterey Pop,” by D.A. Pennebaker (1968), and “Woodstock,” by Michael Wadleigh (1970), had become cultural phenomena. Executives at Warner Bros., which had purchased Atlantic in 1967, hoped an “Amazing Grace” documentary might help do for gospel what Woodstock had done for pop, Elliott said.
To film it, Warner hired the director Sydney Pollack, a rising star still riding the success of his 1969 movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Pollack was between projects and had campaigned with executives for the job.
Joe Boyd, who had been hired by Warner to pair Atlantic artists with Warner film projects, had already been tasked with putting together a 16 mm film crew. He shared his misgivings with executives about using Pollack.
“Shooting a concert film is a very different kettle of fish from shooting a drama,” Boyd said in an interview, relating what he told Warner. “And it’s a very different skill.”
But Pollack’s star power won out. Boyd took his cue.
“I kind of stood back and let it happen,” he said.
[Read more about why the film lay buried for nearly a half-century.]
Franklin and her team busied themselves with the music. Rehearsals started a month in advance at Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church, in Los Angeles, where James Cleveland, a childhood mentor of Franklin’s, ran the show.
Franklin was to provide a rhythm section, flown in from New York, many of whom had been members of King Curtis’s band, including the drummer Bernard Purdie, the bassist Chuck Rainey and the guitarist Cornell Dupree. Cleveland was to provide his choir and accompany Franklin on piano. He hired a charismatic 27-year-old named Alexander Hamilton to direct the choir.
Hamilton said that Cleveland had hired him in part for his “steel trap” memory.
“I would ask Aretha what she was definitely trying to get in the song — certain licks that she wanted to do,” he said. “She would say where she wanted the licks, and when, and I would make sure that it happened.”
The resulting performance was transporting, Pollack’s footage a visceral, unmediated document of a music freighted with suffering and bursting with joy. Sweat and tears stream down Franklin’s face. Cleveland sobs. Old women bolt from their seats, convulsing in the aisles.
As word of Franklin’s presence spread, the modestly sized audience of Night 1 swelled past capacity inside the sweltering church on Night 2, spilling into the aisles. The Rev. C.L. Franklin, her father, hurried to Los Angeles for a front-row seat — and to deliver a lengthy speech. The renowned gospel singer Clara Ward sat next to him in a sequin dress. Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, who shared a label with Aretha Franklin and were in town working on “Exile on Main Street,” also stopped by, inching their way toward the front as the session progressed.
But just as Boyd feared, Pollack and his crew made a critical error. They failed to use clapperboards, according to multiple people involved in the production, which meant the footage couldn’t be synchronized with the sound.
Pollack hired Hamilton to lip-read the footage in attempts to match it. But not even Hamilton could sync more than a small percentage. The team gave up after about six weeks, Hamilton said.
“They hadn’t prepared for it to be what it turned out to be,” he said. The session had simply become too chaotic. “The place became electric.”
Elliott, who had worked as a music producer under Wexler, first learned about the footage from him in 1990 and had never forgotten about it. In search of a new project, Elliott acquired the assets from Warner Bros. Films in 2008, with Pollack’s blessing. Pollack, who died that same year, never saw the film completed.
With advances in digital technology, Elliott was soon able to synchronize the footage. But there was another roadblock: Franklin herself. Publicly, she said she loved the film. But she sued multiple times to prevent its being seen.
Rainey, the bassist, who said that he talked to Franklin twice a year by phone until she died last year, said she told him that she didn’t like the film at all. He thought her resistance derived from a feeling that the film wound up being more about style and celebrity than about the music or the worship — or even about Franklin.
“The film, to me, is all about James Cleveland, her father, Clara Ward,” he added. “It was like she was wallpaper.”
As the legal complications persisted, Elliott appealed to Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens, the executor of Franklin’s estate, in search of support inside Franklin’s family. Owens was enthusiastic. After Franklin’s death, a path was cleared, and the film received a limited release in late 2018.
“The moment I saw the film for the first time three years ago, I knew others needed to see it,” Owens said.
Hall, the choir singer, had always thought so.
“This shows how we sang in our churches,” she said. “And for young people that never got to hear Aretha and see Aretha — to know the quality of how masterful she was in her gift, and to know how she loved God — it’s very important for people to see that.”B:
高清跑狗图历史记录图【秦】【沁】【恬】【有】【一】【个】【秘】【密】，【她】【没】【和】【任】【何】【人】【说】【过】，【事】【实】【上】，【知】【心】【朋】【友】【太】【少】【的】【她】【也】【不】【知】【道】【和】【谁】【说】，【又】【从】【何】【说】【起】。 【那】【是】【关】【于】【那】【个】【明】【媚】【的】【女】【孩】【子】【和】【俊】【雅】【少】【年】【的】【事】。 【那】【天】【周】【三】，【阳】【光】【很】【好】，【前】【一】【晚】【忘】【记】【拉】【窗】【帘】【导】【致】【阳】【光】【透】【过】【窗】【户】【直】【射】【到】【她】【的】【床】【上】。 【她】【醒】【了】。 【睁】【眼】【看】【着】【明】【媚】【的】【阳】【光】，【心】【想】【这】【么】【好】【的】【天】【气】【和】【早】【起】【更】【配】，【遂】【轻】【手】
【第】722 “【你】【才】【是】【弱】【者】……”【李】【凌】【霄】【虽】【然】【嘴】【上】【不】【服】，【但】【他】【却】【有】【些】【退】【却】【了】。 “【李】【哥】【倒】【是】【不】【错】【的】【人】【选】，【他】【的】【武】【器】【很】【适】【合】【隐】【藏】【任】【务】，【适】【合】【进】【行】【大】【规】【模】【的】【清】【场】，【里】【面】【的】【怪】【物】【不】【会】【比】【一】【波】【兽】【潮】【少】【多】【少】【的】。”【秦】【一】【道】。 “【哈】【哈】，【看】【到】【没】【有】，【只】【有】【你】【这】【种】【得】【不】【到】【认】【可】【的】，【才】【是】【弱】【者】。”【李】【凌】【霄】【笑】【道】。 “【所】【以】，【我】【也】【想】【去】
【这】【个】【世】【界】【上】【永】【远】【都】【没】【有】【永】【恒】【的】【敌】【人】，【在】【利】【益】【面】【前】，【敌】【人】【会】【转】【变】【成】【朋】【友】，【同】【样】【也】【在】【利】【益】【面】【前】，【朋】【友】【也】【会】【转】【换】【为】【敌】【人】。 【既】【然】【骷】【髅】【协】【会】【在】【之】【前】【很】【长】【一】【段】【时】【间】【没】【有】【对】【墨】【晨】【与】【展】【涛】【下】【手】，【那】【这】【一】【次】【也】【绝】【不】【会】【是】【鸿】【门】【宴】，【因】【为】【要】【杀】【两】【人】【早】【就】【可】【以】【动】【手】【了】，【大】【把】【的】【机】【会】。 【而】【社】【长】【大】【人】【会】【选】【择】【面】【见】【两】【人】，【那】【就】【说】【明】【这】【两】【人】【目】【前】【还】【有】高清跑狗图历史记录图【本】【书】【写】【完】【了】，【心】【情】【很】【简】【单】，【就】【是】【写】【完】【了】。 【先】【前】【说】【过】，【格】【局】【就】【是】【两】【万】【年】【前】【后】【两】【万】【年】【后】【关】【于】【主】【角】【的】【事】【情】，【所】【以】【不】【存】【在】【什】【么】【再】【度】【飞】【升】【之】【类】【的】【话】【题】【内】【容】，【那】【样】【扯】【下】【去】【也】【没】【意】【思】。 【唯】【一】【有】【点】【遗】【憾】【的】【是】，【关】【于】【两】【万】【年】【前】【的】【事】【情】【被】【我】【简】【化】【了】。【原】【本】【是】【打】【算】【当】【做】【一】【个】【长】【卷】【来】【写】【得】，【后】【来】【一】【想】【算】【了】【吧】，【好】【像】【没】【啥】【必】【要】，【所】【以】【就】【用】【简】【述】
【应】【苍】【生】【对】【于】【人】【族】【的】【认】【知】【一】【直】【都】【是】【比】【较】【极】【端】【的】，【不】【是】【与】【妖】【王】【一】【般】【的】【大】【能】【便】【是】【弱】【小】【凡】【俗】，【尤】【其】【是】【女】【子】，【尤】【其】【是】【被】【妖】【族】【带】【回】【来】【的】【女】【子】，【当】【然】【柔】【弱】【书】【生】【也】【是】【那】【种】【弱】【弱】【小】【小】【的】。 【不】【过】，【一】【般】【带】【回】【来】【柔】【弱】【书】【生】【的】【都】【是】【狐】【族】，【其】【他】【妖】【族】【比】【较】【少】。 【看】【着】【樊】【芜】【普】【通】【的】【不】【能】【再】【普】【通】【的】【形】【象】，【比】【之】【溪】【娘】【差】【远】【了】。 【应】【苍】【生】【暗】【自】【咕】【哝】。
【就】【在】【叶】【清】【幽】【一】【行】【人】【准】【备】【去】【找】【莫】【无】【涯】【的】【时】【候】，【夙】【夜】【却】【忽】【然】【出】【现】【在】【了】【叶】【清】【幽】【的】【跟】【前】。 “【你】【怎】【么】【来】【了】？”【叶】【清】【幽】【看】【着】【眼】【前】【之】【人】【问】【道】。 【夙】【夜】【二】【话】【不】【说】，【直】【接】【就】【将】【叶】【清】【幽】【搂】【入】【怀】【中】。 “【我】【想】【你】【了】。” 【虽】【说】【叶】【清】【幽】【进】【入】【秘】【境】【之】【中】，【不】【过】【月】【余】【的】【时】【间】，【然】【而】【夙】【夜】【却】【觉】【得】【时】【间】【格】【外】【的】【漫】【长】。 【被】【夙】【夜】【如】【此】【直】【白】【的】【表】【白】，