6 Free Music Documentaries For Fans Of The Guitar [Stuff to Watch]

Tim Brookes 05-03-2012

This week’s Stuff to Watch doubles up as a Stuff to Listen To in the form of six carefully chosen documentaries exploring the music, lives and talent behind some of the world’s most famous live acts 7 Websites Where You Can Listen to a Live Music Band Read More .


Each documentary has one thing in common – the guitar. We’re not just talking rock and roll here either, as blues, country and punk music are also on the menu. So sit back, turn the volume up to 11 and rock out from the comfort of your desk 6 Must-See Exercise Videos for Those of Us Who Spend Most of the Day Sitting [Stuff to Watch] Poor posture, not enough breaks and sedentary office behaviour can all have serious implications in the long-term. This week’s Stuff to Watch focuses on a variety of techniques that can reduced the chances of an... Read More , sofa or even workplace.

It Might Get Loud

What would happen if you took Jimmy Paige (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs) and put them in a room together to talk about the guitar? Luckily we no longer have to wonder as this lovingly shot and beautifully edited rockumentary brings together three of the finest guitarists alive today for a deep musical discussion.

Regardless of how you feel about each individual act there is no arguing that these three have each defined a unique sound and style over the years. The opening shot sets the scene for the rest of the production, as we see Jack White constructing a makeshift “guitar” from a pickup, some wire and an old glass bottle.

Johnny Cash – The Last Great American

This BBC documentary takes a look at one musician who influenced so many, and delivered his signature sound into the record collections of millions the world over. Not only was Johnny Cash a hit amongst the country music fans but his lyrics and riffs also proved a hit with rockers and punks alike.

Cash died in 2003 and so it’s up to a panel of individuals who knew, loved and were shaped by his music to tell the tale of this extraordinary singer-songwriter whose music meant so much to so many people from different walks of life.


End of the Century – The Story of The Ramones

Exploding out of New York City in 1974, The Ramones are by far one of the most influential punk bands of the era. This documentary takes a look at the band’s story, complete with interviews, archive footage and live recordings as well as interviews with those who were touched by the raw sound emanating from Queens, New York City.

This version (hosted on Google Video) has hardcoded Spanish subtitles over the top, which at first are a little distracting but soon easy to ignore thanks to the fascinating tale of a group of misfits who made it huge (but never touched the US Billboard chart’s top spot).

Cream’s Farewell Concert

After only playing together for roughly two years, UK rock group Cream played their final gig in London’s Royal Albert Hall on 26 November, 1968. The group which introduced Eric Clapton to the world are seen here on top-form, and the whole performance is interspersed with interviews and vox-pops from the time.

One thing to note in this 60s production is the cinematography and editing which is pretty-damn-sharp for the time, especially considering the manual nature of editing back then (something that’s easy to take for granted in this era of digital video).


Watch on YouTube (Embedding Disabled)

Woodstock – 3 Days of Peace & Music

Woodstock really needs no introduction and has gone down in history as one of the greatest events ever to take place on farmland. This lengthy documentary provides more than three hours of footage and features footage of the set-up, acts and of course the crowd who made the event such a hit.

It’s raw (the film has a R-17 rating), full of great music and provides real insight into the spirit, atmosphere and general debauchery that has characterised this world famous event. A must-watch for all music festival fans!

The Clash: Westway to the World

A personal favourite of mine, The Clash are another punk band who set the world alight to the tune of “London’s Calling” and “Rock the Casbah” to name but a few of their more popular hits. This documentary takes recently shot interviews and intersperses archive footage to build up a detailed picture of the band’s rise, peak and eventual demise.


With each member leaning towards slightly different musical preferences the film demonstrates how this led to creative differences, often causing rifts within the rebellious four-piece. It also produced some of the finest punk music ever to emerge in the era, and what better way to celebrate than with a damn-fine documentary?


Hopefully there’s enough rock 5+ Free MP3 Downloads From Indie Rock Bands [Sound Sunday] Read More , punk and distorted goodness here to keep music fans happy for a few nights in front of the TV. If you’ve got any other favourite music documentaries then don’t forget to add them in the comments – if they’re freely available then that’s even better!

Related topics: Documentary, Guitar.

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  1. Musicwood Documentary
    April 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing.
    Please do check out the acoustic guitar documentary trailer Due for release 2012.
    Would love to know what you think?

  2. Poetry
    April 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    It's really a nice and helpful piece of information. I'm satisfied that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Tony Newton
    March 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Hi-Check out Groovemonster a new just released Documentary of the life, times, and music of legendary Motown Bassist and Funk-Rock-Fusion pioneer and composer Tony Newton-If you liked Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Groovemonster takes it a step further. Groovemonster is also about the influence and importance of the Bass Guitar in music history. Check it out at:

  4. Kkphoto
    March 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Rock Prophesies is well worth watching. Streaming on Netflix... footage of an impossible note from Steve Vai!

    • Tim Brookes
      March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Ah Steve Vai. I listened to a lot of Vai while growing up, though these days I can only really handle small doses. Alien Love Secrets is one hell of an album though... 

      Thanks for letting us know!

  5. Roger
    March 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    The Strat Pack - Fender 50th anniversary of the Stratocaster.

    Seems to be available as single performances on YouTube here ( but also available retail as a DVD.

    • Tim Brookes
      March 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Sweet, thanks for letting us know!

  6. Parousia1959
    March 6, 2012 at 2:20 am

    The Future is Unwritten is good. 

  7. MisterSparkle
    March 6, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I recently watched It Might Get Loud.  It's definitely worth watching, but I was surprised how much of the time was spent on each of the three people separately, rather than when they are all together in the same room.  I'm betting there's a bunch of good footage that didn't make it into the final cut for one reason or another.

    • Tim Brookes
      March 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      It strikes me as probably the strongest documentary here. It's half music documentary half social experiment, and I absolutely love the opening scene of Jack White saying "see, you don't even need to buy a guitar!" while playing a makeshift bottle, string and pickup invention.