Sometimes a comprehensive look at the life and legend of some of your favorite musicians brings their music new perspective. There’s so much more to the artists than what we hear on the record, and archival footage and interviews with friends and family bring the music so much closer to home.
Luckily, Netlflix has a solid selection of rockumentaries worth investigating. Need to switch it up after binging the latest big thing? Check out these ten music documentaries available to stream on Netflix:
1.) Muscle Shoals – This film circles around small town Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the way the southern spot changed the face of rock and roll forever. Viewers get a look inside historic FAME recording studios where performers like Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger recorded some of their music. Muscle Shoals explores the history of the studio within the context of American history and the life of founder Rick Hall. Featuring old footage and new interviews with musicians like Bono, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Johnson and Clarence Carter, this one is a must-see for any music fan.
2.) Keith Richards: Under the Influence – Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Keith Richards for an hour and a half? Director Morgan Neville sits the audience down with Richards as he divulges everything about his life in music: his influences, his sound and his best stories.
3.) What Happened, Miss Simone? – After opening at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, What Happened, Miss Simone? began streaming on Netflix and has received critical acclaim and Primetime Emmy nominations and an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. It combines archival footage with interviews with Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly.
4.) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down A Dream – An incredibly comprehensive music documentary, this film follows the group from its creation to its 30-anniversary show in Gainesville, Florida, in 2006. Runnin’ Down A Dream includes interviews with George Harrison, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Depp, Dave Grohl and more. The four-hour long documentary earned a Grammy for Best Music Film in 2009.
5.) Marley – Director Kevin Macdonald interviews former Wailers, family and friends in this documentary about Bob Marley’s legendary songwriting from beginning to end. The film spends some time looking at his personal life and conversion to Rastafarianism, as well his infamous womanizing.
6.) Alive Inside – Alive Inside tackles the subject of people with Alzheimer’s disease and the therapeutic effects of music therapy. Definitely heavy topic, but comes together with the heartwarming healing music provides the patients. This film started with Kickstarter crowdfunding and premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
7.) Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Country star Glen Campbell’s music rocked the 1960s and 70s, then he made his way to the silver screen with The Glen Campbell Goodtime House on CBS. The man is known for 70 albums, 12 RIAA Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double Platinum, a handful of Grammys and a Golden Globe. After battling alcoholism and cocaine addiction during his career, Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. I’ll Be Me looks back on a creative life and takes the viewer on his final Goodbye Tour.
8.) Lemmy – This 2010 documentary by directors Greg Oliver and Wes Orshoski follows three years in the life of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister and includes interviews with friends of the Motorhead founder like Slash, Duff McKagan, Ozzy Osbourne and Lars Ulrich. Lemmy discusses life on tour, his days at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in West Hollywood and his close relationship with his son, Paul.
9.) The Zen of Bennett – Just before the legendary singer and painter turned 85, he sat down with filmmaker Unjoo Moon to talk music. The film features recording sessions with Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and Willie Nelson and premiered in select theaters in 2012 before landing a streaming deal with Netflix.
10.) Janis: Little Girl Blue – Cat Power narrates this documentary about the life of Janis Joplin. The film follows Joplin’s powerful voice and rise to superstardom as well as her path of destruction. Although dark at times, Little Girl Blue received positive reviews after its premier at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
Still want more? Not a Netflix subscriber? Check out this list of more rockumentaries to stream.