The 15 Best Music Documentaries Streaming on Netflix Now

From 'A Band Called Death' to 'Biggie & Tupac,' obsessive fans to destructive bands

Music Documentaries Netflix Best Streaming Movies
Pentagram's Bobby Liebling on the cover of 'Last Days Here'
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

Whether it's a snow day where you are, or simply the waning holidaze keeping you indoors, we've got enough Netflix-streaming music documentaries below to program a 24-hour festival (and change). With the Oscars approaching, and Sundance set to unleash a new slate of films later this month, it's a fine time to look back anyhow. Dig into our hand-picked list below, which comes complete with Rotten Tomatoes ratings and the movies' Netflix summaries.

1) Last Days Here (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 84 — "In this poignant documentary portrait, an aged and gaunt Bobby Liebling, the former lead singer of the heavy metal act Pentagram, rallies to restart his life after decades of disappointment and drug addiction."

2) Just Like Being There (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 75 (audience) — "Nearly 50 years after the first iconic concert posters, meet contemporary artists who've brought gig posters into the mainstream. This documentary profiles Jay Ryan, Daniel Danger, Kevin Tong and others who share a passion for this singular art form."

3) Good Ol' Freda (2013); Rotten Tomatoes score: 83 — "Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big: the Beatles. In Good Ol' Freda, the band's former secretary tells her personal stories for the first time in 50 years."

4) Charles Bradley: Soul of America (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 93 (audience) — "This biographical documentary charts the incredible late-in-life rise of 62-year-old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album in 2011 rocketed him from a hard life in the projects to Rolling Stone magazine's top 50 albums."

5) Hit So Hard (2011); Rotten Tomatoes score: 64 — "This compelling documentary chronicles the life of former Hole drummer Patty Schemel, from childhood through her rise to fame and beyond, revealing her near-destruction by the personal demons that so often accompany celebrity."

6) A Band Called Death (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 — "Blending a larger-than-life family story and a rock documentary, this film follows David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney, three teenage brothers from Detroit who founded the band Death, commonly regarded as the first black punk group, in the early 1970s."

7) Who Is Hary Nilsson? (2006); Rotten Tomatoes score: 91 — "Brilliant, mysterious singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson cut an indefinable path across the 1960s pop-cultural landscape, garnering such fans as John Lennon and Randy Newman. This discerning documentary lays bare the vast extent of Nilsson's influence."

8) The Other F Word (2011); Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 — "This insightful documentary examines the mid-life evolution of a generation of punk rockers, including Jim Lindberg, Art Alexakis and Flea, who must reconcile fatherhood and responsible family life with their status as legendary anti-authoritarians."

9) Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 — "In his directorial debut, Ice-T interviews dozens of other rap and hip-hop artists, including Mos Def, Eminem and Dr. Dre, about their creative processes. Focusing on the craft rather than the bling, Ice-T also documents the music's history."

10) Upside Down: The Creation Records Story (2010); Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 — "Creation Records, which produced some of the 20th century's most iconic music, is the subject of this rockumentary that chronicles the indie label's ups and downs, from the deals, the drug-fueled rampages and parties to the day the money ran dry."

11) I Think We're Alone Now (2008); Rotten Tomatoes score: 71 — "This documentary focuses on two individuals obsessed with 1980s pop star Tiffany: Jeff, a 50-year-old man with Asperger's syndrome, and Kelly, an 'intersexual' who claims to have had an inspirational friendship with the singer when they were teens."

12) Fela Kuti: Music Is the Weapon (1982); Rotten Tomatoes score: 82 (audience) — "Fela Anikulapo Kuti recorded more than 60 albums to promote the magic of Afrobeat but never lost his political voice as an outspoken critic against widespread government corruption in Nigeria. This documentary examines the role that Fela, dubbed 'Black President,' played in shedding light on atrocities in his homeland and in promoting the ascent of African music worldwide."

13) You're Gonna Miss Me (2005); Rotten Tomatoes score: 79 — "It's not easy being a pioneer. For proof, just watch this film about Roky Erickson, whose band, the 13th Floor Elevators, coined the term "psychedelic rock" in the 1960s. Targeted for his advocacy of pharmaceuticals, Erickson was busted for possession of a single joint in 1969 and spent three years in an institute for the criminally insane."

14) Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012); Rotten Tomatoes score: 88 — "Six years after the release of their first album, the members of LCD Soundsystem decide to call it quits at the top of their game and celebrate their successful career with a powerful concert at Madison Square Garden."

15) Biggie & Tupac (2002); Rotten Tomatoes score: 81 — "British documentarian Nick Broomfield, famous for appearing in his own investigations, heads to Los Angeles to investigate the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalries and Death Row Records boss Suge Knight."

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