12 Music Documentaries Every Guy Should See

12-music-docs-every-guy-should-see

Musicians, whether successful or not, seem to live wildly crazy lives. Whether it’s the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll or the insane struggle to make it in the industry, we could probably watch a documentary about 90% of the bands out there. If you’re looking for some of the best, however, consider these 12 Music Documentaries Every Guy Should See.



1. Oil City Confidential

That whole sex, drugs and rock n’ roll thing, yeah, this is what we’re talking about. “Oil City Confidential” is a hazy, boozy and insanity-filled look at the pub rock legacy of Dr. Feelgood. The boys from across the pond may never have become an international household name, but it wasn’t for lack of intensity. Their performances were over the top and so were their lives off the stage. This documentary from Julien Temple takes you back to the early days of the band in a beautiful yet harrowing way. Amazon iTunes



2. Sound City

We have to hand it to Dave Grohl, he nailed it with “Sound City.” The movie tells the story of the little studio in the San Fernando Valley that has seen the likes of Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Metallica, and other big names pass through. The Foo Fighters singer also documents his efforts to assemble a bunch of big-time acts to record on the famous analog console housed at Sound City. Definitely worth a watch for any music buff. Amazon iTunes



3. Lightning Bolt: The Power of Salad

The unique name of this film matches the uniqueness of the band it chronicles. Lightning Bolt is a little noise band from Rhode Island who you’ll never hear on pop or rock radio. The duo play some seriously intense live shows where they ditch a stage to be right in with the crowd. It’s raw like rock was meant to be. Amazon iTunes



4. Searching for Sugar Man

What makes “Searching for Sugar Man” such a great film is the fact that it combines the appeal of an informative documentary with the excitement of a riveting mystery. It follows a few fans of Sixto Rodriguez as they try to figure out what happened to the cult folksinger who was rumored to have committed suicide on stage. Amazon iTunes



5. Beware of Mr. Baker

“Beware of Mr. Baker” is a little like a Steve Jobs bio-pic: The protagonist is talented, innovative, and a complete dick. This no-holds-barred look at the legendary Cream drummer doesn’t sugarcoat much and in return delivers a raw and satisfying documentary of Ginger Baker. It’s a great look into the mad brilliance of one of the greatest drummers of all time (emphasis on “mad”). Amazon iTunes



6. Hype!

For many of us, there was portion of our lives where grunge was king. We rocked flannel, grew out our hair, and would often describe our state as “moderately stoned.” If that was you, you need to watch “Hype!” The film chronicles the rise of the Seattle grunge scene. Bonus, the film features a recording of the first ever live performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Amazon



7. Just Like Being There

“Just Like Being There” is interesting because it’s not a documentary about a band or one type of music, in fact, it’s not really about music at all. “Just Like Being There” is a behind-the-scenes look at the artists and designs behind gig posters. It’s kinda fascinating to understand the direction a lot of the art takes and the community behind the movement. Amazon iTunes Netflix



8. The Night James Brown Saved Boston

If you’re looking for more depth in your musical documentary experience, you can’t do much better than “The Night James Brown Saved Boston.” In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. with the country like a simmering pot ready to bubble over, James Brown came to the rescue . . . at least kind of. This is the story of the legendary televised concert he played in Boston the day after MLK’s death and why it was more important than just a guy playing a few songs. Amazon iTunes



9. Shut Up and Play the Hits

LCD Soundsystem was like a dominant athlete who decides to retire despite the fact that he has lots of good years left in the tank. “Shut Up and Play the Hits” not only tells the LCD Soundsystem story, but it shares the epicness that was their final show at MSG. Amazon iTunes Netflix



10. Woodstock – 3 Days of Peace and Music

There will never be another festival like Woodstock. Unfortunately, you probably weren’t there to experience it. Until someone invents a time-traveling DeLorean, watching this incredible documentary is the closest you’ll get to being at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm back in August of ’69. Besides learning about the festival of course, you’ll get treated to some of the amazing performances from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and more. Amazon iTunes



11. Marley

Thanks to home video clips and rare concert footage, this documentary of Bob Marley is the most substantial we’ve ever watched. At well over two hours, the sprawling doc includes plenty of insight into the life of the legendary reggae musician along with lots of great performances as well. Amazon iTunes Netflix



12. A Band Called Death

“A Band Called Death” is a testament to staying true to yourself regardless of outside pressure. When the band formed back in the 70’s, the music they played was fairly radical and simply couldn’t crack the expectations of what labels thought people wanted to hear. The Hackney brothers were punk pioneers seriously ahead of their time and this documentary is finally a way for many people to hear their story. Amazon iTunes



Shop+Sponsors

  • Jim Weller

    What?! No “It Might Get Loud?”

  • questionable

    American Hardcore?

  • Alex Goody

    We Jam Econo?

  • Jens Nero

    Where is “Crossfire Hurricane”?

  • fts5000

    The Kids Are Alright?

    Don’t Look Back?
    Beatles Anthology?
    The Filth and the Fury?
    Gimme Shelter?
    Hail Hail Rock n’ Roll?

    This list sucks!

  • Jeff Holubeshen

    Joy Division. Awesome story about Ian Curtis’ suicide and how the band morphed into New Order.

  • David Vileta

    No ‘A Cross the Universe’?
    What. the. hell.

  • Josh Zullo

    The Last Waltz

  • Brendan Bell

    Beats, Rhymes & Life? Pearl Jam Twenty?

  • Dylan Roberts

    I agree, with the exception of ‘Shut up and play the Hits’ and ‘Searching for SugarMan’.

  • Rockeye

    The Clash : Westway to the World

  • Steeeve

    Wait until you discover lightning bolt ! :-)

  • Gerry

    Take It or Leave It – Madness

  • Florian

    Where is Buena Vista Social Club ?

  • Tero

    This is Anvil! Easily the best music documentary I have seen. You will laugh and cry with this one…

  • Trilam

    Dig! Incredible documentary about making it as a touring band. Should have made the list.

  • Marv

    How do you not have The Door’s documentary – “When You’re Strange”….?

  • Dan B

    RIP A Remix Manifesto?

  • tomservo

    The Last Waltz, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Dig!, This is Anvil. Really missed quite a few here.

  • Martha

    I don’t get why it’s strictly a “guy” thing to do, but ok!