From rock ‘n’ roll to pop, house to classical, the music world is full of intriguing characters and fascinating stories crying out for the attention of filmmakers. No mean feat, we’ve whittled things down to five documentaries everyone should watch, so take a look at our list and see which ones you still need to get hold of.
20,000 Days On Earth ; Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard; 2014
Starring: Nick Cave, Susie Bick, Warren Ellis
At times abstract, in other moments more akin to an inside look at Australia’s most enigmatic rock star when he’s in the studio, Nick Cave celebrated his 20,000th day on the planet by releasing a film about his thoughts, work and career to date.
Searching For Sugar Man ; Malik Bendjelloul; 2012
Starring: Rodriguez, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, Dennis Coffey
Arguably the most remarkable tale on our list, two music lovers attempt to track down the elusive Rodriguez, an American folk singer whose album flopped Stateside in the 1970s, but became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Buena Vista Social Club ; Wim Wenders; 1999
Starring: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez
A landmark work in so many ways, we follow the fortunes of a group of aging Cuban musicians who had been forgotten under Castro’s regime, only to be reunited by Ry Cooder, who travels to Havana in order to bring these aficionados back into the spotlight.
Muscle Shoals ; Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier; 2013
Starring: Rick Hall, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards
Focused on one of the most famous studios in the history of American music, we travel to FAME in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to discover how racial, social and political barriers were brought down by the intrepid entrepreneur, Rick Hall. Eye-opening to say the least.
Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten- Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll ; John Pirozzi; 2014
Examining the tragedy of Cambodia under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, wherein some 2,000,000 were murdered and a society collapsed in on itself, the country’s musical stars of the 1950s, 60s and 70s offer an insight into their nation’s perpetual plight.
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