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As a music lover you might be excited every time a new music documentary is released. So are we! Add these must-see music documentaries to your movie list right now, and enjoy watching the best films of all time. If music is something you're really passionate about you know that there have been some truly outstanding documentaries that were released in the past few years. Besides movies about well-known artists, new films about less prominent stars such as "Searching for Sugar Man" and "20 Feet From Stardom", were shown to the world and also gained popularity.
It is a marvelous time for music lovers like you. Not only can we appreciate the music of our favorite artists with more freedom online, we can also easily experiment with music in our free time. If you have an ear for these things, you can even download royalty-free music to add it to your videos and find all sorts of sound effects because it's so accessible now.
Music libraries continue to expand and grow due to demand. Take the time to explore all the new projects online, and if you have some spare time and want to find inspiration or learn more about your favorite artists, here is a list of ten great music documentaries.
It was supposed to be just a documentary about one of the biggest music festivals that has ever happened on Earth. It turned out to be a picture of the entire counterculture of the 1960s with its political situation, communal spirit, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. And it masterfully sums up the whole decade. As a result, the film attracts new generations to the screen. Featuring some epochal performances of Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, and more, Woodstock shows the story of a whole country of courageous young free spirits who realized they could do, create, and change anything in the world.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, 2015
Along with Kurt's old public appearances, Brett Morgen had the star's personal journals, audio recordings, drawings, and home movies. He also found other archival sources to put this unique piece together. The film surprised even the most loyal Nirvana's fans with unique insights they never knew about before. Those who were not going crazy about Nirvana got a better sense of Cobain's progression from young punk to a superstar.
Together with Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and other celebrities, Amy Winehouse died when she was 27 and became a part of the so-called 27 Club. She died young and famous after releasing into the world one of the best albums of the 2000's - "Back to Black." Despite all the drama and tragedy in Amy's life, the director Asif Kapadia showed how incredibly talented she was and how one petite lady with a powerful and deep voice turned the world of R&B and soul upside down. The documentary shows a complex young woman and heartbroken drug addict, leaving the viewers with thoughts whether it's chemicals or love (or the combination of the two) that killed her.
Searching for Sugar Man, 2012
Fans of The Who and The Rolling Stones know everything about them, from the loudest stories to the tiniest jokes. Malik Bendjelloul created a film about a mysterious man, Sixto Rodriguez - a musician who somehow got lost in America's music arena and became wildly popular in South Africa. And finally, because of the documentary, he got to know this, because he never toured there. Malik collected the rumors about who Sixto was and what happened to him and then went to look for the truth. This is a story about a simple, down-to-earth man, but very talented singer and song-writer, who never chased fame and never knew he was a star. It is a surprising and heartfelt movie that also reveals the true face of the record label industry.
Good Ol'Freda, 2013
The Beatles have inspired many documentaries, but Ryan White had a different approach using another character. Freda Kelly was a secretary and witness of four top-rated young men's personal and career changes. When the world couldn't take its eyes off of the musical geniuses and style icons, Freda was taking care of their business and humming their songs at her little desk. Well, until the party was over.
Elvis: That's the Way It Is, 1970
Throughout most of the 1960s, Elvis Presley took part in some bad movies. At the end of the decade, he suddenly had a commercial comeback and immediately became one of the top performers in Las Vegas. That's the Way It Is helped it all to take off on the fly and revealed a winning portrait of the King of Rock'n'Roll as he emerged on everyone's radar in the 1970s. Denis Sanders showed him as funnier and more relaxed, but still capable of making his fans dance while performing the best rock'n'roll with some other fiercest musicians.
20 Feet From Stardom, 2013
This one is a salute to backup singers. The director Morgan Neville shows how it was to make a living on the other side of the stage. It is a story about the extent to which sexism and racism slashed women's dreams, and how the music industry marginalized talented women preventing them from moving up career ladders. The movie is insightful and gritty. It is one of the rare cases when a music documentary won an Oscar.
Madonna: Truth or Dare, 1991
Madonna has always been able to put on a show even if she wasn't on stage. No wonder that this documentary by Alek Keshishian touches the topic of the thin line between performance and self-branding. She knew that everything she'd do in this movie would be a stir for critics and her fans. So she did everything for it to be a provocative hullabaloo. She allowed herself to drop snide remarks about Oprah Winfrey and Kevin Costner, had awkward encounters with her family and friends, and fellated an Evian bottle during the conversations with her gay backup dancers. After watching this documentary, don't be surprised if you still don't know who the real "Madonna" is.
Bohemian Rapsody, 2018
Queen members once said, "We don't follow formulas," circa 1975, and they didn't. Bohemian Rhapsody is of the same name as a famous band's composition that still leaves fans in awe. Rami Malek's two-hour biopic is about Freddie. Like a separate mechanism, he could bring any creative idea to life and destroy everything on his way to achieve that. This included damaging his marriage when he came out about his sexuality. Everything in this film unfolds around him as a key persona in Queen's existence. But at some point, Malek shows that Mercury would have been nobody without other Queen members too. It's a movie about Mercury's talent, personality, life, self-doubts, loneliness, and a love story with a sad end.
Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce, 2019
Beyonce is considered one of the most hardworking and self-aware pop idols nowadays. At Coachella in 2018 when she delivered a massive performance she rehearsed over a month with a marching band and an army of dancers. Homecoming isn't just a documented concert. It's a look behind the scenes at the massive work that goes behind each one of Beyonce's shows. Besides jaw-dropping performances, she inspires her fans with empowering anthems and music that celebrates feminism and heritage.
We hope these movies will inspire you and give you some ideas to reflect about the life and art of these famous music artists and their contribution to the music industry and our contemporary culture.