We all love a great music documentary! Some can give you insight into your favorite acts, and some are designed to educate music buffs on the industry, songwriting process or music history. Here are our favorite music documentaries that aren’t to be missed. Whether you’re a musician, a mega-fan or just interested in the process, here are our top music documentaries to watch!
Top Music Documentaries You Need To Watch
Song Exploder (2020)
This one is perfect for songwriters, or just those interested in the behind-the-scenes of the music industry. Song Exploder explores songs with those who wrote and performed them – including everything from inspiration to creative decisions and recording. Featuring Ty Dolla Sign, R.E.M, Alicia Keys and more, it’s not to be missed for music fans.
If there’s anything that captures the 1960s counterculture, it’s Woodstock. Exploring political idealism, the community spirit and the groundbreaking music, this documentary has everything. This documentary interweaves iconic performances from the Woodstock music festival with a look into 60s culture, making it more of a complete, cinematic story than usual documentaries.
Hip Hop Evolution (2016-2020)
This one is for the die-hard Hip Hop fans. Spanning 4 seasons, Hip Hop Evolution takes a focused look at various elements of this music genre. This includes subgenres, key moments in rap’s history, the mix tape revolution and so on. If you’re a modern rap fan, this fresh, in-depth documentary will hit the spot.
If you want to mourn an incredible talent and see the rise and fall of a superstar, this one’s for you. This documentary examines Jazz singer Amy Winehouse’s drug abuse, relationship with the press, personal life and effect of the media on stars. Featuring tons of behind the scenes footage, this documentary highlight’s Winehouse’s talent for writing expressive music and bringing jazz to modern audiences, as well as her moving personal struggles.
The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna (2013)
If you haven’t heard of Kathleen Hanna, you’re missing it! She was a Riot grrrl leader and activist as well as a musician. This documentary provides an in-depth dig into her little-known health struggles, her music and her approach to feminism. Also, it shows some truly incredible footage of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and more in action.
It Might Get Loud (2008)
Born from a simple idea, It Might Get Loud takes three guitarists from different generations and backgrounds and discusses their influences and techniques. Featuring Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), the Edge (U2) and Jack White (The White Stripes), the artists even pause for demonstration of techniques, and spell out the way in which they work. If you’re a guitarist, this will not only be fascinating, but really helpful.
20 Feet From Stardom (2013)
The premise of this documentary is interesting enough, and the outcome is mesmerizing. Finally shining the spotlight on backup singers, 20 Feet From Stardom gives a history lesson and showcases talents whose voices you’ve heard 1000 times and not realized. Asking important questions about marginalizing the talents of black women, this documentary is insightful and features tons of classic songs. It’s no wonder that it won an Oscar!
Miss Americana (2020)
Whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan or not, this is worth a watch. Filmed over a couple of years, this documentary explores her sound, her public persona, political opinions and more. If you enjoy raw takes on fame, behind the scenes clips of the songwriting process and an artist trying to find her voice in the public eye, this is for you.
Some Kind Of Monster (2004)
Calling all Metallica fans (or even just music fans)! Some Kind Of Monster documents the torturous process of Metallica creating their 2003 album St. Anger. Featuring group therapy sessions, the band’s daily agenda and what exactly happens when a heavy metal band have millions of dollars at their disposal, this is not to be missed. If you love to see the process and the challenges of producing work under pressure, you will love this one.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
Nina Simone is a fascinating character and undeniable talent, which makes for a great documentary. The documentary explores the R&B/Jazz singer’s complicated relationship with the press and even those around her. If you’re a fan of electric performances and shots of great shows from the 1960s, you will love this.
Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck (2015)
This documentary is hailed as one of the greats for a reason. Alongside the usual archives drawn upon in documentaries, this features personal journals, recordings, demos, drawings and home movies from punk superstar Cobain. Even if you’re not a Nirvana fan, taking a peek into Cobain’s passion for creation is truly inspiring, and seeing his struggles equally moving.
Top Music Documentaries: Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for more educational music resources, Audiosocket want to help. Check out our articles on 2021 music industry trends, best music podcasts, top movie soundtracks and more! Plus, don’t forget that we have 80,000+ tracks in our catalog for you to use in your own audiovisual projects.