Ever feel just like being a couch potato and delving into the stories of your favourite musicians? Well, it’s your lucky day buddy. We’ve compiled a list of 10 brilliant music documentaries that are currently on Netflix… and we’ve done it all for you.
Got some time to fill in lockdown? We’ve got you sorted with this list of 10 great music documentaries currently on Netflix.
Keith Richards: Under The Influence
For fans of The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards himself, or you know, just legends in general, Under The Influence takes an intimate look at one of the most influential musicians of all time from one of the most influential bands of all time. These days his face may be drawn with many lines, but he hasn’t lost any of his rock star ways or charisma, either he’s done a deal with the devil or he IS the devil himself. With a guest appearance from another old legend, Tom Waits, the only complaint to be made is that it only lasts an hour and twenty-one minutes – but when you’ve lived the life of Keith Richards, it might take a trilogy of The Lord of the Rings size to truly document it.
The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir
One for the Deadhead’s and newcomers alike, The Other One chronicles the life of Bob Weir, one of the founding members of the prolific The Grateful Dead. Tracing his life through childhood, global success and his relationship with Jerry Garcia, this doco offers a real ‘behind the scenes’ level of examination that most documentaries fail to truly reach.
We Are Twisted F***ing Sister
Whether you consider Twisted Sister the overlords of metal, a glam-metal joke, or simply a great band, you can’t deny the allure of their story as a bar band that clawed their way to the top. We Are Twisted F***ing Sister goes against the cliché of a rock band in a world of drugs/sex/divorce and instead tells the tale of how Twisted Sister struggled their way to ruling the rock world all while ‘keeping it real’.
Doors: When You’re Strange
Whether you’re familiar with the story of The Doors or not, this chronological look at their career is incredibly fascinating and will most likely leave a profound impact upon the viewer. Made up mostly of archival footage (damn good looking archival footage at that) that makes you feel as if you were there, it manages to remain incredibly engaging, helped by the magnetic narration of Johnny Depp. Showing concerts and rehearsals, as well as more private moments with a particular focus on the enigmatic Jim Morrison, this is a must-watch.
Thirty Seconds To Mars: Artifact
Before Jared Leto was appearing in Suicide Squad for about 30 seconds, he was in Thirty Seconds To Mars, a band that many of us were – and still are – particularly fond of. Of course, the band is bigger than just Jared Leto, and this documentary is bigger than just the band. Following the band as they fight the now-infamous lawsuit with record label Virgin/EMI the documentary asks important questions about the music industry, music itself, art in general, and the troublesome relationship between music and money. Unafraid of telling the harsh truths about the music industry, it all results in a very well made, magnificent documentary.
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down A Dream
One of the greatest examples of the classic story of American rock n’ roll success sees the light in this documentary about one of the greatest rock n’ rollers of all time. And they don’t pull any punches, the doco features appearances from, well basically everyone, but for example; Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Rick Rubin, Ringo Starr and archival footage of Johnny Cash, George Harrison and Roy Orbison. Made by the legendary Peter Bogdanovich, Runnin Down A Dream is as much about Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers as it is about rock n’ roll in general, and you guessed it, ‘dreams’. And Bogdanovich doesn’t waste a second of this almost four-hour monolith, captivating right to the end, it’s even a little bit of a tear-jerker, but that comes with the territory when you’re telling a tale of such epic proportions.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
A look into the oft-overlooked musical genius Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone? is a powerful look into the passionate life of someone that truly stood for something. You don’t need to have heard of Nina Simone going into this documentary, it takes a look at both her personal and musical life, as well as chronicling her hugely important role as a civil rights activist that simultaneously fueled and transcended her music. The first part of the film gives us an insight into the incredible life of Simone as a young African-American woman in the south that overcomes countless obstacles to rise to fame as a musician. The second part of the film kicks it up a notch and details her inspiring time as a civil rights activist, of which her importance can’t be overstated.
History of The Eagles
Whether you have fond memories of your parents playing The Eagles relentlessly on car trips, or if you came across them yourself, the monumental career of The Eagles is one of incomparable proportions. Parts one and two are combined here meaning that we have a running time of around three hours, but every minute is needed to tell their story, and not a minute is wasted. Made especially poignant by the tragic passing of Glenn Frey, the doco tracks the formative years of the band members, through to their early days of the band and the eventual break-up after hitting the big time. Ah, ‘creative differences’ how many bands have you taken from us?
Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All
The legend, those big ole blue eyes and THAT voice. There’s a reason why Frank Sinatra has gone down in history as one of the greatest entertainers of all time and All or Nothing explores exactly what makes him so legendary. Made up of archive footage carved from hours of interviews, as well as commentary from his closest friends, the film weaves all the footage together to make a tapestry of his life and music. HBO take a unique approach in structuring the doco by shaping the narrative based on Sinatra’s song choice for his famous 1971 “retirement concert”, of which we are treated to rarely seen footage. Director Alex Gibney interprets Sinatra’s choices for the set-list as a personal guide through his own life, if correct, this makes for a very personal look indeed.
Glass: A Portrait of Philip In Twelve Parts
Ending the list on a bit of a different tone, If you’re not familiar with his name, you’re definitely familiar with his music. The American composer/genius is legendary for his classical compositions and film scores and here we get to see him interacting with some of his close friends and collaborators, like Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, which is no casual name drop. Directed by the Academy Award-nominated Australian Scott Hicks, the film is predictably filled with cinematography as beautiful as Glass’ music, setting the background as we are allowed to sit in on the casual chatting between a genius and his genius friends. Educate yo’self and in the process, fall in love with his music.