If you give a professional singer an amateur choir....
April 1, 2018 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for videos of choirs backing well-known singers, along the lines of Choir! Choir! Choir! and David Byrne, or this gospel choir singing with U2. Acoustic a plus, as is a smaller venue.

Choir! Choir! Choir! has been a revelation to me--regular people, singing together. I'd like to hear that sound paired with professional pop/indie/rock/[genre] voices leading the sing-along. Not massive arena-style crowd-provides-vocals, but something smaller, more by design, with intention. (Although this impromptu rendition of "You Shook Me All Night Long," where the fans simply take over from Matt Nathanson, makes me laugh.) Give me videos in which the joy of singing together with a star shines through. Give me something to sing along with.
posted by MonkeyToes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want videos where this is a thing, like Pharrel Williams' Happy also? Whitney Houston did a lot of this with a gospel chorus backing.
posted by jessamyn at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2018

There is also this one of Beyoncé singing to a bunch of kids in a hospital backed by (I think) the parents of those kids. Brief but moving. And this one from Lenny Kravitz (messy recording).
posted by jessamyn at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think I'm looking for more informal community back-up singing. (The Southern California Community Choir backing Aretha or James Brown is amazing, no question, and leans closer to professional recording group than I'm searching for. My ideal is closer to "here is a group of regular old people who like to sing, and today they sing with a special guest" than formal studio recordings like Williams's; the Houston is more of a toss-up, and I see where you're going, and I do love Springsteen singing "The Rising" with a teen choir. More like this, I guess: Lenny Kravitz crashes the VOP Choir in New Orleans for "Fly Away." Need not be impromptu, but also not studio.

ETA: Yes, to the Bey and Lenny, yes, that!
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:16 AM on April 1, 2018

Have you seen the clip where a gospel choir surprises Hozier during a live show?
posted by Lexica at 10:34 AM on April 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Spiritualized has been staging full orchestral performances of Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space that includes a choir. I can't find any info on whether the choirs are professional performers, but Jay Spaceman was a bit of a dark horse to pull of such a feat of magnificence.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2018

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performed O, Children with a children's choir (from the Silverlake Conservatory, a community music school run by Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) about five years ago.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:03 PM on April 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

obligatory ani, and imogen heap regularly recruits the crowd to sing along with her for her song just for now.
posted by speakeasy at 1:05 PM on April 1, 2018

I am now obsessed with this topic because I like these also and it's fiendishly difficult to Google. Also a lot of the videos are amateurish and tough to actually know what it going on. So, to that end...

Foreigner did a tour where they'd close with "I wanna Know What Love Is" and had some local backup kids choruses singing. All the videos are long and terrible but there are good parts. Here is one, here is another.

Terry Jones surprised everyone at DragonCon to lead the musicians and an assembled crowd in Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Maybe my fave so far.
posted by jessamyn at 2:21 PM on April 1, 2018

Lexica, YES. I'd never seen that Hozier video, and I've played it over and over. I love the way he has such trust in this random group of strangers/singers. And they are a delight. This is exactly the kind of thing I want.

Jessamyn, Elbow's marvelous "One Day Like This"-- from 5:34 on--is an audience singalong delight. It's akin to what I'm looking for, but not the thing. But then there was this time that John Legend showed up at church...
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:52 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ed Vedder singing Betterman with the Walmer High School choir from South Africa.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:09 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

How about Bobby McFerrin's Spontaneous Choruses?

the Houston is more of a toss-up, and I see where you're going
In that vein, I can offer Heart's choir-backed cover of Stairway to Heaven. They start joining around 2:30 but things really heat up after the 4-minute mark. There's also Sia performing Chandelier backed by the NYC Gay Men's chorus.

And Aerosmith performed Dream On with the Southern California Children's Chorus. (Content Warning: This performance and video are a tribute to the Boston Marathon Bombing.)
posted by juliplease at 6:50 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

This performance of I’m Yours by Jason Mraz is my favourite. Around 3:48 the audience starts actually harmonizing with him, and it is a joy to watch!
posted by yawper at 7:49 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

This video sprang to mind as soon as I read your question - after your update, I'm less sure it's what you're after, but may be worth a try? Damien Rice & Cantus Domus - It Takes A Lot to Know A Man
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 6:47 AM on April 2, 2018

Peter, Paul & Mary were backed up many times by the New York Choral Society. They (we) shared a music director. Here's a Google search page.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:07 AM on April 2, 2018

At many of their US shows, The Rolling Stones bring in local choirs to join them on You Can't Always Get What You Want. A quick search shows, unfortunately, that actual videos are rare or poorly shot.
posted by John Borrowman at 10:09 AM on April 2, 2018

Back to Choir! Choir! Choir!, Rick Astley accepted an invitation from them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:11 PM on April 24, 2018

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