Best Music Documentaries to Watch Right Now During Isolation
Here’s some of our top suggestions for music-inspired documentaries and movies to watch right now, during the isolation of the worldwide quarantine of COVID-19. From artist and band biographies to behind-the-scenes to fan-favorite music industry history, we’ve got you covered with a healthy “Netflix and Stay Home” – top rated Rotten Tomatoes’ scored film list to watch.
Artists and Bands
Don’t Look Back (1967)
A film chronicling Bob Dylan, one of music history’s greatest songwriters of all time, Don’t Look Back is also named one of the top ten documentaries of all time – from 2014 poll in Sight and Sound.
Back and Forth (2015) Foo Fighters Rise to Stardom
Fresh off the heels of playing drums in the band “Nirvana”, Dave Grohl takes his pain and grief from the death of his band-mate Kurt Cobain to record a demo tape that would ultimately become the first album of the Foo Fighters. One of the most inspiring documentaries of a band that we’ve seen, from recording in a garage to selling out 85,000 person arenas, Back and Forth is the story of what dreams are made of.
GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO (2017 Netflix)
A sincerely vulnerable and human portrayal of the iconic singer, Lady Gaga, as she pushes through physical and mental pain during the making of an album. (As if we didn’t love her enough, now we love her even more).
Unraveling the Madness of Kanye West (2019 YouTube)
Amy (2015) – the Amy Winehouse Documentary
Triumphant and tragic, with only two albums to her name, Amy Winehouse was just 27 years old when she lost the battle to her addictions. The talented “Back to Black” singer was more than amazing in life, and this film tenderly focuses on the whole picture of who she was as an individual and a recording artist, without sensationalizing her pain and her struggle with addition.
Behind the Scenes
The Black Godfather (2019 Netflix)
“Who is the Black Godfather? Witness the exceptional and unlikely rise of Clarence Avant, a music executive who influenced legends such as Bill Withers, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and so many more.”
Hired Gun (2019)
Who gets the gig? The most talented session and touring musicians available to the artist and to the audience. Get a front row seat to the glamorous lifestyle of the hired guns who work with the name brand recording artists. Hired Gun is a film about the musical talent responsible for the most famous instrumental solos in the world, who have toured with the musical legends who hired them.
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)
“Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.”
Music Industry History
Sound City (2013)
From analog to digital, the recording studio landscape was forever changed. Famous recording studios where the “hits” had been produced were suddenly filled with tumbleweeds, except for one hidden deep in the San Fernando Valley. Directed by Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and featuring interviews and performances from the iconic musicians who recorded some of rock’s greatest albums at the studio, Sound City doesn’t just tell the story of this real-life rock ‘n’ roll shrine, it celebrates the human element of music as Grohl gathers some of rock’s biggest artists to collaborate on a new album. Using Sound City’s legendary analog console, together these artists continue to create musical miracles in a digital world.
Echo in the Canyon (2019)
The songs and artists that recorded in Laurel Canyon, California USA – shaped the second half of the 20th century sound. Considered “Essential Viewing for Rock Documentary Fans”, Echo in the Canyon is an entertaining look at the California sound scene and an essential moment in rock history.
Sample This (2013)
An inspiring historical account of how hip-hop & R&B was created from a music production perspective, from one sample.