First Run Features presents HOW THEY GOT OVER on Virtual Cinema. This new feature documentary celebrates the spirit of gospel performers and shows how they helped usher in a musical revolution that changed the world forever.
Beginning in the 1920s, Black singers across the country took to the highways as the new technology of radio and records made it possible to reach a wider audience. Intense competition brought new ways to entertain, first with guitars, later with full bands, then with a performance style that would inspire Mick Jagger and a host of other rock and rollers.
Their music was infectious, wrecking many a house on the chittlin’ circuit, then graduating to the Apollo and other major auditoriums across the country. The success of gospel quartets inspired record labels to form “doo-wop” groups that enticed gospel singers like Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls and Wilson Pickett to cross over to greater fame.
How They Got Over features classic performance footage of the Soul Stirrers, Dixie Hummingbirds, Blind Boys of Alabama and Mississippi, Sensational Nightingales, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Highway QCs, Davis Sisters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and many more. Some of the greatest names in quartet music are interviewed in the film, giving vivid accounts of how they “got over” in their performances: shouting, bending over backwards, dancing, jumping off the stage – what came to be known as “gospel drama.”
“The essential story of the cross-fertilization between quartet gospel music and rock ‘n roll." -Billy Price, R&B/Soul singer
"How They Got Over is a revealing and inspiring look at the massive contribution of gospel music to the spirit and vitality of rock 'n' roll: an invaluable documentary which combines historical scholarship with thrilling glimpses of gospel singers, both superstars of the genre and some you'll probably be experiencing for the first time.” -Robert Hilburn, former pop critic of the Los Angeles Times
“If you love music and want to know about the origins of rock and roll, you must see this film!” -Terre Roche, The Roche Sisters
“As a lifetime fan of gospel music, I believe this excellent film tells the story and shows the artists in a most compelling way.” -Jon Landau, critic, producer, & manager of Bruce Springsteen
HOW THEY GOT OVER
A film by Robert Clem
87 minutes | color | in English
Optional English captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing