Music conveys emotion. This becomes especially noticeable when mixed with visual imagery. If you’ve ever seen a “One Shining Moment” montage or one of those Sarah McLachlan pet commercials then you know what I am talking about. A well placed song can make you happy, sad, angry, anxious, and everything in between. For this reason, music and film will always go hand in hand. A good soundtrack can draw the viewer in and enhance the emotional experience of what is being acted out on the screen. The music itself becomes a part of the story. One of the few things I like better than a movie that contains good music is a movie ABOUT good music. After all, musicians are some of the most colorful characters you will find anywhere.
So here, in no particular order, are my Top Ten Music Documentaries:
1. The Devil And Daniel Johnston
– An amazing look at brilliant songwriter Daniel Johnston and his ongoing battle with bi-polar disorder.
2. Last Days Here
– The story of how Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling overcomes drug addiction to perform with the band once again after 20 years.
3. The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
– A somewhat disturbing look into 80’s Rock & Roll excess at its finest. Ozzy, Lemmy, and Dave Mustaine are all here…but Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. steals the show.
4. New York Doll
– The sad tale of Arthur “Killer” Kane and his time with the New York Dolls.
5. 1991: The Year Punk Broke
– Filmed in the heyday of alternative rock, this is an on and off the stage look at Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Mudhoney, and others as they tour Europe in 1991.
6. U2: Rattle and Hum
– Concert and behind-the-scenes footage of one of the biggest bands in the world at, arguably, their peak. This is the rockumentary film that set the bar for all others.
– The story of the wild love/hate relationship between two bands – The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols.
8. Urgh: A Music War
– This one is less of a documentary and more of a concert film…featuring performances from such acts as Wall of Voodoo, Dead Kennedys, and Klaus Nomi.
9. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey
– One man’s travels and investigations into the world of metal, covering everything from glam metal to Norwegian black metal.
10. Pavement: Slow Century
– an in-depth look at the crazy ramshackle rise of Pavement. From their first show until their hiatus in 1999.
So there you have it. I know I left out some good ones and probably dated myself a bit, but it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10. So what are some of yours?
– Submitted by David Sheyda, Music Design