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The Best Music Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

Joe Keeley 02-08-2020

The best music documentaries are wonderful to watch. Not only do they offer a glimpse into the ups and downs of celebrity, but they also let you see the creativity and expression that goes into making music at the highest level.

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We’ve rounded up a list of the best music documentaries available to watch on Netflix. Whether it’s Taylor Swift, Oasis, or Bob Dylan, these Netflix music documentaries are all interesting and enjoyable character studies.

1. Miss Americana

Miss Americana explores the life of one of the biggest musicians on the planet: Taylor Swift. Usually cautious when discussing her private life, this documentary delves into Swift’s battles with the media, her body dysmorphia, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and her political views.

It’s an interesting watch even if you aren’t a fan, though Swifties will especially love the moments of music-making magic in the studio.

If this documentary inspires you, here’s how to make music at home using Audacity A Beginner's Guide to Making Music With Audacity at Home Audacity is a fantastic piece of software for all musicians. Here's how to use Audacity to make music at home! Read More .

2. What Happened, Miss Simone?

“Miss Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?” This quote opens this fantastic documentary about music legend Nina Simone.

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The documentary tells her powerful life story; a woman not only known for her songs, but her contributions to civil rights. Combining rare archival footage and interviews, this is a must-see.

3. Gaga: Five Foot Two

At the start of Lady Gaga’s career she adopted an almost mythical status, often making headlines for her eye-catching outfits. This documentary strips that back, covering a year of her life while working on her fifth album, producing a Super Bowl halftime show, and acting on TV.

Gaga is clearly a determined and driven artist and it’s great to get this raw and unfiltered glimpse into her world.

4. Oasis: Supersonic

We all know that brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher are bitter rivals. Oasis: Supersonic touches upon that, but it also looks at the Britpop band’s formation, their wild success, and the electric power of their music. Using a wealth of archival photos and videos set against current interviews, this documentary offers a surprisingly soulful look at Oasis.

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5. Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé

If you want a balanced or candid look at Queen Bey, then Homecoming isn’t the watch for you—the subtitle “a film by Beyoncé” should tell you all you need to know. What it is, however, is a wonderful insight into the production and performance of her stunning 2018 performance at Coachella festival.

Part documentary, part concert film, Homecoming highlights a performer at the very top of her game.

6. Quincy

No-one can accuse Quincy Jones of slacking. Over the course of his life, he’s shaped over 300 albums, won 28 Grammys, and worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra. As you might expect, this documentary is packed full of tales from his illustrious career, and is co-directed by his daughter, Rashida Jones.

7. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

Rolling Thunder Revue, named after Bob Dylan’s 1975 tour of the same name, isn’t Martin Scorsese’s first film about the American singer, but it is his weirdest.

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Primarily made up of outtakes from Dylan’s own 1978 film, this documentary blends fact and fiction without ever distinguishing the two; some interviews are with real musicians involved in the tour, others are with actors. It’s an interesting and amusingly meta film.

8. 20 Feet from Stardom

20 Feet from Stardom moves the light away from the lead singer and highlights those supporting singers who often receive no public acknowledgment or recognition, despite being an important part of the overall performance. Some backup singers want more; others are happy with their role. This is an enjoyable, feelgood, and heartfelt documentary.

9. Amy

Amy Winehouse was a huge talent. With her distinctive voice and appearance, the sky was her limit. Until she sadly died at the age of 27 after succumbing to her addictions.

This documentary uses home footage to show Winehouse’s whirlwind life and career. It delves into her family and fame troubles, but most importantly shows what an outstanding musician she was.

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10. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Fyre Festival was meant to be the greatest festival of all time. Located in the Bahamas and promoted online by influencers like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, tickets cost up to $1500 each. Except the entire thing turned out to be a fraud, leaving hundreds of people stranded.

This documentary captures the entire bizarre story, which is so nuts that it has to be seen to be believed.

11. Rapture

Whether you listen to hip-hop or not, the genre has had a massive influence on every corner of popular culture. This documentary series studies a different artist each episode, like 2 Chainz, Nas, and G-Eazy, as they share their life stories and talk about their upbringing, inspirations, and art.

To broaden your musical horizons, check out these websites to discover new music genres 8 Websites to Help You Discover New Music Genres Broadening your musical horizons by discovering new or niche genres can be beneficial. With that in mind, here are several essential websites for discovering music you've never heard before. Read More .

12. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Miles Davis is known as one of the most important jazz trumpeters of all time. He played by his own rules, constantly innovating and switching his style. Davis is smooth, cool, but most of all human—which means he could be complicated and difficult. This documentary explores all sides of him through uncovered archival footage and modern interviews.

13. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

Rush was a multi-award winning Canadian rock band and this 2010 documentary details its origins and changing sound. Lots of celebrities pop up to profess their love for the band, but it’s really the interviews with the members of Rush themselves that make this interesting, as they reflect on their time making music together.

14. Keith Richards: Under the Influence

After Keith Richards released his album Main Offender in 1992, it took him until 2015 to follow up with Crosseyed Heart. In this documentary we get a glorious look at Richards as he creates this album, while at the same time reflecting on his life and everything that led him to where he is now. Fans of the Rolling Stones will especially enjoy this for obvious reasons.

How to Watch More Documentaries for Free

No matter what genre of music you enjoy listening to, each of these Netflix music documentaries offers something different. And who knows, you may end up discovering a new favorite singer or band after watching a few.

If you’re in the mood for some more documentaries, here’s a list of the best places to watch free documentaries online The Best Places to Watch Free Documentaries Online Everyone loves a good documentary! Here are the best places to watch free documentaries online. Read More .

Related topics: Documentaries, Media Streaming, Movie Recommendations, Netflix.

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  1. Gordie
    August 3, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    "Echo in the Canyon" is absolutely wonderful. Don't know how you missed it.