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10 Netflix music documentaries you should watch

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It goes without saying that our craving for good music and good movie is never-ending. This list of documentaries is a must watch for all the music buffs. From pop, hip-hop, rock to R&B, rap, and jazz these documentaries cover all forms of music along with their subculture. Most importantly, these documentaries contain concert footage and insights into the extraordinary lives of the musicians. Check our picks for a binge-watching session.

 

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this documentary film is based on the musical and spiritual voyage of former Beatle member George Harrison. Released in 2011, it was first aired in HBO when released. Having scored six nominations at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, this film has received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming. For any Beatles or Harrison fan, this is fascinating and we loved the music. Don’t miss the part where Ringo Starr described his last meeting with Harrison. The breakthrough ‘Anthology’ project went missing though.

Take out: Don’t miss the part where Ringo Starr described his last meeting with Harrison.

Watch the trailer:

 

Amy

Released in 2015, this British documentary film is based on British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse’s life, her struggle with substance abuse which eventually caused her death and more.

Directed by Asif Kapadia, the film covers various footages from her life including her several performances, her audition at Island Records (February 2003), singing ‘I Heard Love Is Blind’, some footages with her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, her recording sessions for the second album, her last recording with Tony Bennett (a duet single Body and Soul) in March 2011 before her death and more.

Though the film was severely criticised by Winehouse’s father, Mitch Winehouse, saying it was ‘misleading’, it was one of the highest grossing British documentary films of all time. Amy, the film has received Academy Awards, ACE Eddie Awards, MTV Movie Awards and many more in the Best Documentary Feature category in 2016.

Take out: This is an interesting docu film rather than many of the biographical documenteries. Discover Amy through the archives for a joyous yet emotional journey.

Watch the trailer:

 

Rapture

Netflix original Rapture (released on 30 March 2018) shows the inner lives of famous rappers. Made by six different directors, this peek at what happens off-stage for performers like Logic, T.I., Nas, and 2 Chainz starts out strong but loses its characteristic spark. A very inspiring show bringing the true existence of Hip Hop to life. A great one to binge watch in a day!

Take out: The music, stories, the culture, the camera movements, angles, transitions, and flow of the stories are the best way to show us the high-lows of their worlds and experiences.

Watch the trailer:

 

History of the Eagles

History of the Eagles is a 2013 two-part official documentary about the career of the American rock group The Eagles. Directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Alex Gibney, the initial idea came up in The Eagles’ manager Irving Azoff’s mind. It was during 2011 when Eagles would be celebrating their 40th anniversary (according to Billboard). The film was released at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 January and it was aired on Showtime in February 2012.

A lot of critics declared that a lot was excluded from the documentary and a lot of things could be addressed. Even with the criticisms, the film received the award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Take out: Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder remarked that he didn’t think it was ‘an accurate documentary’, the film covered vintage footages from the beginning of the band to the breakup in 1980, their successful tours, and the musical essence of the Eagles.

Watch the trailer:

 

Gaga: Five Foot Two

Based on American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga, the film Gaga: Five Foot Two is directed by visual artist and documentarian Chris Moukarbel. It was released in September 2017 and made a debut at Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.

As Gaga said, “I just don’t care. Maybe cause I’m 30 and I feel better than ever, you know? All my insecurities are gone, I don’t feel insecure about who am I as a woman. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of what I have.”

Take out: The film covers the events around the recording, production and release of Gaga’s fifth studio album, Joanne, many events including her home life, encounters with fans, her version on music industry sexism, her admiration for Madonna, her critically praised Super Bowl performance, how she dealt with fibromyalgia and a variety of other issues.

Watch the trailer:

 

Michael Jackson’s This Is It

Directed by Kenny Ortega, Michael Jackson’s This Is It is a 2009 American documentary–concert film. The film covers King of Pop Jackson’s practises, his approach of guiding his team, preparation for his concert series of the same name that was initially scheduled to start in July (2009), however, it was cancelled due to his abrupt death eighteen days prior to the concert series. It also features other behind-the-scene footages including dancer auditions.

Despite some fans and his family boycotted the film, the film’s made it both the highest-grossing concert film and documentary of all-time worldwide, on its theatrical run.

Take out: The film is all about Michael Jackson. Period.

Watch the trailer:

 

Hip-Hop Evolution

Hip-Hop Evolution is a four-part Canadian music documentary series. It was aired first on HBO Canada in 2016. Hosted by Canadian rapper Shad Kabango, directed by Darby Wheeler, the four-part film covers the origins of hip-hop in 1970s New York City. The only drawback we felt was, the series didn’t focus on any female rapper, not even critical pioneers like Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown among others.

The series was screened at the 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and in December 2016 it was added to Netflix for international distribution.

Time out: How hip-hop progressed over time, interviews with legendary MCs and rappers, and visits to iconic landmarks and neighbourhoods.

Watch the trailer:

 

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

Directed by James Moll, Foo Fighters: Back and Forth is a ‘rockumentary’ about the American rock band Foo Fighters, released in March 2011.

It is a “behind the music” style documentary about the Foo Fighters. Even if you are a big fan of the band and already know a lot of their stories, there are quite a few things you will find fascinating.

Take out: The film documents the band’s history through rare footages and interviews with the current and former members of Foo Fighters. Highly recommended.

Watch the trailer:

 

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child

Directed by Bob Smeaton, Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, the biographical documentary is all about rock pioneer Jimi Hendrix’s story in his own words. The director effortlessly amalgamated the Hendrix’s private notes, documented interviews, his family archive, rare performance footage, even the musician’s childhood in Seattle and more.

Takeout: Do watch this film to look out for his artistic evolution, his stellar festival presences at Monterey and Woodstock, his last British concert at the end of August 1970. This is a real treasure!

Watch the trailer:

 

What Happened, Miss Simone?

 What Happened, Miss Simone? is one of those documentaries where it is as good as the filmmaker. Directed by Liz Garbus, this film includes the story of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone, her rise to fame, some never-before-heard recordings, rare concert footage, her best-known songs and the ups and downs of the singer’s career.

Told through narrations by her daughter, the emotional assumption of this film is very effective for any onlooker, even if they are not a fan of possibly what she stood for or her music.

Take out: This raw well-made movie is highly recommended to anyone who is fascinated by what it really requires to be an artist who is honest, courageous, and unapologetic.

Watch the trailer:

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